Duration: We started working together full-time in the summer of 2014.
Location: London, United Kingdom.
Education: Ilka has degrees in modern languages and marketing, and Franz is a university dropout. We are both self-taught photographers.
Career paths: Both Franz and Ilka had a “life before photography.” Ilka had a career in digital media working for a women’s charity, and Franz used to work as a gardener. Franz came to London to do some assisting, and that’s when the two met and started working on projects together. It has been quite a journey, as we taught ourselves how to shoot and retouch the work we wanted to create and also how the business of photography works.
Artistic influences: Our influences come from many directions, from art movements—surrealism and pop art—to pop culture to ’80s fashion and interiors, to illustration and set design.
Favorite projects: We recently travelled to New York City to shoot for the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. The campaign is all over the United States and also ran in Times Square! That was definitely a highlight. We also shot some cool covers this year for the Guardian’s Weekend magazine and The Observer Magazine.
Work environment: London is a hub for advertising and photographic art, so there are lots of talented people to collaborate with. We work out of a small office. This is where we retouch, come up with ideas, plan our shoots and store old props and sets. It’s pretty messy. For our shoots, we normally rent studios depending on how much space we need.
Approach: We do our own retouching and get very involved in set design and styling, which makes our style very recognizable. We like to push the boundaries of photography—, exploring where photography ends and where illustration and digital art begin.
Aspirations: There are still many clients that we would love to work for, and there are still many pictures we want to create. We’re also working towards shooting bigger campaigns, and we’d like to get more into film and making commercials.
Philosophy: Do your best—always.