All images and gifs by Jess Bonham. Set: Anna Lomax
TêTE à TêTE WITH KIRCHKNOPF + GRAMBOW
KENZINE: How would you describe your aesthetic?
KIRCHKNOPF + GRAMBOW: fact fucks fiction
K: What or who has influenced you over the years (photographer, music, tv, cinema, cities, etc.)?
K+G: Everything we see, do and experience is adding to our continuous live feed and may leave its impression. But for sure the more fundamental these influences break into your life the more you´ll probably have to deal with them.
K: What's the story of this girl samouraï who inspired you for the shoot?
K+G: To quote the "Hagakure", "The Way of the Samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong. (...) One should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths. It is matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side." And as the book continues "It is good to carry some powdered rouge in one´s sleeve. It may happen that when one is sobering up or waking from sleep, a samurai´s complexion may be poor. At such a time it is good to take out and apply some powdered rouge." It's never a bad thing to wear a good looking armor!
K: Can you talk about your model? There is something very rough, very tough about her.
K+G: We were running across Tamy and were immediatley taken by her contradictory qualities, appearing both heroic and sensitive, weak and strong. We love her yearning attitude and her ability to oscillate between assumed opposites.
K: Are you influenced a lot by Asian culture?
K+G: One night in Tokyo, we had this get together with the producer, the SFX suitmaker and the stuntman of the latest series of Godzilla movies which we adore. They revealed us this one fundamental truth about asian culture and the soul of godzilla, which we deeply soaked up that night together with a lot of warm sake.
K: Which pictorial references did you have in mind for this story?
K+G: In this case particularly, we’ve been thinking a lot about ancient japanese color woodcuts and lacquer painting masterpieces, japanese fetishism concerning patterns and texture and about immaculate surfaces, in a mechanical and digital sense likewise. And as the new era basecaps originally made their way via HipHop to us and we were listening to RZA´s Album Afro Samurai while shooting, there´s probably also a certain Hip Hop ingredient in it.
K: Why do you think the eye is such a recurrent symbol today?
K+G: Maybe because we human beings are based mainly on our visual perception. What we see is what we know, is what we trust. Ever since humankind seems to be tempted to have a all seeing, protecting and all knowing eye or prism.
K: KENZO is all about travelling, what is your favourite city and why?
K+G: We love Berlin for it being our homebase, Asian Istanbul for friends, Lahmacun and Raki, Saigon also for genious food, its moped racetracks, it´s vibrant haze and Sao Paulo for it´s sweat and sweet dirt.
K: Where would you like to travel if you could go anywhere now?
K+G: "2001"'s Star Gate or "Solaris". Besides, earth loses its photographic appeal by the minute. Until you guys at KENZO are designing a globe-sized basecap... But to be earnest: we don´t see that happening any time soon. Except the ghost of Buckminster Fuller swings in your office and drops a blueprint of the thing.
K: What are your projects for the upcoming season?
K+G: Until that happens we´ll take it with the words of Alphaville and get "Big In Japan".
"That belongs in a museum"
"That belongs in a museum"... This famous line, spoken by Professor Jones, was what started this adventure. Just like the character, the two teenagers wear the iconic Indiana Jones fedora as they head into the jungle to discover the ruins of their own civilization. The statues and relics that they bring back to their university are wearing hats too: New Era baseball caps.
It was definitely inspired by the fast-paced world of adventure films, with a few fitting tributes to the Indiana Jones films or “Jurassic Park” by Steven Spielberg, but it also took inspiration from “magical” places that actually exist, like Mount Nemrut in Turkey.
The classic “venture into the jungle” theme is what first inspired the series, but I’ve also tried to bring in some more urban jungle influences or whimsical themes as well. You’ll find a hardy combination of Rousseau’s jungle paintings and the giant pigeon sculptures found in La Grande Borne (a low-income housing district in Grigny, just south of Paris).
The motifs and the prints have a kind of childlike, comic book, or even pop art style, which really works well with my photos".
All caps are available here.
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EYE OF THE TIGER #6
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TÊTE A TÊTE: MACIEK POZOGA ON SHOOTING NEW ERA STILL LIFE CAMPAIGN
What was your inspiration for the New Era x Kenzo editorial? What was the mood you were going for?
As a main influence I looked at a lot of De Chirico's paintings and some classic sculptures in the Louvre from random places and periods. I was looking for a very classical mood, something intemporal in a way, and anachronic.
Were you formally trained as a photographer, or this is something that naturally evolved from a habit of taking pictures?
I was trained as a painter, in Beaux Arts school, and then that evolved into photography, snapshots initially. What I really liked about photography was the editing process, and the ability to tell stories. And most of all being [able to work] outside the studio.
There is a subtle quirky element to your work, something that gives a surreal feel to your photos, almost like a documentary. How much of your style is premeditated and how much comes from spontaneity?
I like to imbricate both things, spontaneity and "mise en scene" staging. I often think of the whole as some kind of little stage, and then I let people or situations be within that stage. Something more naturalist than "documentary" actually. I recently read something about how the 19th century French physical intructor George Hebert initially came up with his "Natural Method" of gymnastics, gestures that were inspired by real life movements, to develop the human body harmoniously in a natural way. I kind of do the same with photography I guess; catch some real things, imitate some others, and then blend it all together and try to build some sort of harmony out of all those elements.
You also edited a book called "Naufrage Volontaire". Can you talk about that a bit?
I did this little book with the people of JSBJ. The title means something like “Shipwrecked on Purpose” and it refers to Dr. Alain Bombard’s experiment. He deliberately drifted alone across the Atlantic for 65 days in a lifeboat with no provisions, and the book is a kind of meditation on that.
What was the last thing you googled?
"Gymnastic natural Method", I couldn't remember if I made up that whole thing about the physical instructor, or if it was really something I read somewhere.
STILL LIFE : NEW ERA x KENZO
To unleash the newest installment of our collaboration with New Era, we teamed with photographer Maciek Pozoga to bring a stately, classical sense of Parisian life to the double-edged street-style sword that is Kenzo and New Era combined. Pozoga put the Kenzo-clad models into still life scenes of classic French sculptures and had them pose in sculpture-like positions. These portraits work simultaneously as still lifes, with the Kenzo x New Era hats the real subjects. The hats themselves combine the classic New Era style with sculpture-inspired patterns like marble Xes and textured flowers, and finally get those Kenzo patterns going from head to toe. Get them here!
NEW ERA BY KENZO
In our world full of interesting headwear, here comes a blockbuster we know will stand out. From our Kenzo design team in Paris and acclaimed US cap manufacturer New Era: color, fun, excitement, style, color-blocking, sun-blocking... The New Era Kenzo caps.
Available online or in a Kenzo Store near you.