Inez & Vinoodh
The phenomenal photography duo from New York City
Portrait: Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
Interview: Penny Martin
Fashion photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin met at college in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, nearly three decades ago, and still spend every second together. What began as a photographer-stylist arrangement in the mid-1980s soon turned into a photographic partnership that rocked the documentary-obsessed ’90s with their glamorous imagery. And when they married in 1999, Inez & Vinoodh – as they are known – became the industry’s most sought-after husband-and-wife team of all time. Always positioned shoulder to shoulder when they photograph their subjects, the pair lead a travelling band of collaborators around the world to shoot the most prestigious ad campaigns, celebrity portraits and, increasingly, fashion films. But it’s only at home in their cosy New York apartment that they get a chance to experience true luxury for themselves.
Penny Martin: Spending every waking hour with your husband or wife sounds quite romantic. But in reality, you must have to share it all with a huge gang of people.
Inez van Lamsweerde: We do. We have pretty much the same team of stylists, lighting directors, assistants, hair and make-up people and even models with us wherever we go. But that said, having grown up as an only child, I feel more complete with everyone around us. A big part of loving this life we lead is the feeling of having an extended family.
Vinoodh Matadin: We’re like gypsies on the road. And to keep some sanity in all that, we ensure the people are the same wherever we go.
PM: A lot of people prefer to keep their friends and family apart.
IvL: Oh yeah, I’m the opposite. I’m always very excited to introduce friends from one world to another. I’m always thinking, “Who would be great for that person?” and “This person should have that job.” I love matchmaking. I think it’s a Libra thing, where you want everyone to be in balance.
VM: I’m a Libra too.
PM: Two in one relationship? The ultimate balance. Have you had your astrological chart done?
IvL: No, actually I haven’t. We had our son Charles’ done and all I can tell you is that he has everything in the ninth house, which means nothing to me. But I’d love to know more.
VM: I can’t have my chart done, as my Mom doesn’t know when I was born. She was on her own when it happened and didn’t have a moment to check the clock.
PM: Good Lord! How did she manage alone?
VM: By staying extremely calm.
PM: Where do you two live?View More
IvL: Our apartment and office are in the same building in New York City, but on different floors. I think people are often quite surprised that we don’t live in a white loft that looks like a room in The Mercer hotel. It’s actually very warm and a bit like a group show. Everything we have in there – the art, the objects – has been selected to look as if we’ve been living there since the ’70s. When in fact it’s only looked like that for four or five years.
PM: So it’s an autobiographical interior?
VM: Yes. There’s lots of wood and stone, fur, warm colours. It’s like a mix of Swedish sauna, Japanese teahouse and ’70s Dutch interior. But we don’t get to spend a lot of time there. We’re on set maybe 150 days per year, not counting editing, prep and days in the office. Probably more.
PM: You must be incredibly fit to work that hard at such a level?
IvL: We’re very conscious of our health, yes, since we’re still travelling like crazy. With so much pressure on us to perform as soon as we arrive, and with such a large team, we have to think of ourselves as top athletes. We watch our drinking, take massages, practise yoga.
IvL: And we eat healthily.
VM: Food’s very important. We always say, “If the catering’s good on set, then the pictures will be good.”
IvL: A couple of years ago we started having this amazing chef named Jason Edwards come to our house and cook for us. To me, it’s the most luxurious thing in the universe.
VM: And the great thing is he makes it all with Charles, teaching him how to cook. They make this nutritious meal for us and when we come home, we all eat it together.
IvL: It feels so healthy and relaxed. I have to say that out of all the luxuries we have, I wouldn’t want to lose Jason.
PM: And what’s your ultimate luxury, Vinoodh?
VM: Reading a book. Being alone for an hour. I like going on a really long flight – to Bali, or India – to experience that sense of transition into holiday time. Then when you arrive it really feels like one.
IvL: We do try to take time away from work. But, it’s never really separate because, ultimately, we’re still colleagues. Other people must get to go home and assume a different personality with their husband or wife. But it’s really only when we close the studio in August and we’re just the three of us, with Charles, by the pool, that we get to rediscover that level of intimacy.
PM: I guess you spend the rest of your year creating an intimate context for other people to relax in.
IvL: Completely. Photography is so much about creating a certain atmosphere on the shoot to reach the result you want.
PM: Tell me how you start photographing someone you’ve never met.
VM: We start with Inez positioned facing the subject and me at the side so I can roam around. We shoot everything together.
IvL: And I’m usually very direct. I always say exactly what I think, usually a genuine compliment. I always notice something I love in someone’s face – or body, but mainly face – and immediately zoom in on that. Once I’ve seen it, I almost can’t hear what else is going on around me.
PM: Do you tell them what you’re doing? Would you say, “Oh, I love the shape of your nostrils”?
IvL: Sure, I’ll say, “Wow, your eyes are amazing – the way they’re sitting in their sockets...” Then the shoot opens right up, and we establish this very personal rapport.
PM: So it’s part flattery, part therapy?
VM: It’s funny, a lot of people say that they feel they’re being hypnotised by us.
IvL: A while ago, when we were shooting Josh Brolin for The New York Times Magazine, he even started to speak like me. He did the most perfect impersonation of my voice and how I talk someone into that zone of being photographed.
PM: Those Hollywood portraits are now so familiar. Do you ever get sitters trying to recreate the Clint Eastwood pose or ‘the Scarlett Johansson’?
IvL: Once, we were shooting the harpist Joanna Newsom and right away, she knew where those hands had to go. I could tell she’d looked at our work, seen my obsession with hands and thought, “Oh, okay, that’s what we’re going to do.” She was so full on. Amazing.
PM: What can you do to prepare before they arrive?
VM: If you’re shooting on location, you have to work with what happens in the moment, but in the studio you can control the result to some degree: the lighting, whether the model will be in the foreground. But from there, it’s down to us to help the model perform.
IvL: From my own experiences posing for a photographer, I’ve noticed you can feel completely lost without an intimate connection and are unable to be all fabulous. So in cases where Vinoodh and I are too overloaded to be the person that creates all the fun, there’s Marc, our studio manager. Or Stephen Galloway, our choreographer, who’s basically like this fawn that comes bounding into the studio and is a huge help to us in keeping things upbeat. It doesn’t have to be all party time and drinking. But you need this extra energy. It’s like having people over to your house and...
IvL: Precisely. Like welcoming guests.
VM: Then for us to get really engaged, there has to be something we’ve never done before.
IvL: When we first started shooting advertising campaigns for Chloé, we got the models running in the streets shouting, “No!” That anarchic movement just set us free. All these people gathered around them, shouting “No, no, no!”
VM: Because it creates a better facial expression than “Yes”.
IvL: Yeah, “Yes” doesn’t make your mouth look very good.
PM: How long can each photograph take?
VM: It can be quite quick. The first expressions are often the best, while the subject is still open to it. Either that, or you have to go really over the top and do it, like, 300 times. Then they’re so worn out you get another expression, like in the portrait that was used for Narciso Rodriguez’s first fra-grance. We must have shot a thousand takes of Carmen Kass to get that image.
PM: And do you always agree on what’s gorgeous and what’s just strange?
VM: Not always, thank God! Most of the time, Inez’s vision of beauty is completely different from mine.
IvL: Though we witness exactly the same scenes, Vinoodh sees things from a very different angle. When we take a quick peek in the backs of our cameras, that slight disparity between what’s been captured in each can be so surprising. It’s lucky, I guess. After all these years, we always have something to talk about.Minimize
Inspiring things for this Autumn & Winter season from cities near and far
Things 1/7 Stockholm
“Quietly crazy” is how Stockholm-based art director Julia Stenius describes her marble quotation-mark bookends. “Sweden is known for its minimalist and functional approach to design,” says Julia. “Everything functions incredibly well, but that gets a bit boring. I wanted to shake things up.” Intrigued by the sculptural quality of letters, Julia paired the reliable Helvetica typeface with equally reliable Carrara marble to create these bookends. They will be available to purchase later this year through Julia’s website and a portion of the sale will be donated to PEN International, which supports writers and journalists. “In Swedish, bookend, or bokstöd, literally translates into ‘book support’,” says Julia. Photo: Michael Bodiam
Things 2/7 London
Architecture for Art
Putting up a giant tent in London’s Regent’s Park for a week in October is quite a challenge, and each year, Frieze Art Fair invites an architect (or two) to solve this puzzle. Last year the honour fell to the London-based architect duo Kevin Carmody and Andrew Groarke. The pair focused on decluttering the main tent of all the services that an art fair needs. They then built three delightfully low-tech pavilions beyond the tent to house VIP rooms, restaurants and seminar spaces. This year Carmody Groarke will again design the Frieze London site, and whatever it will be, it’s sure to be subtly clever and highly recyclable. Frieze London runs from 11 through 14 October 2012 and includes Frame, the section supported by COS that features emerging galleries. Photo: Carmody Groarke
Things 3/7 Helsinki
Finland is renowned for its different and often surprising approach to modern design. The Birch Bag by Helsinki-based Company is no exception. Composed of woven birch bark and an elongated, woven goat-leather strap, the bag is made using traditional Finnish methods of sourcing and production. Secrets in manufacturing are near and dear to Company’s Aamu Song and Johan Olin, as the bag belongs to their ‘Top Secrets of Finland’ collection. The Birch Bag and other quirky products are available through their Salakauppa – or Secret Shop – in Helsinki, the city that happens to be this year’s World Design Capital.
Things 4/7 Berlin
The Hemp Chair by German designer Werner Aisslinger is super-advanced technologically yet winsome and tactile. It’s made of hemp and kenaf (an exotic variety of the mallow plant, the roots of which were once used in making marshmallows), along with a water-based binder that glues the entire form together into a lightweight, stackable chair. It may seem simple, but it’s all 21st-century innovation, coupling technology borrowed from the automotive industry with sustainable materials. Conceived in Aisslinger’s studio opposite Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof train station, the Hemp Chair is now globally produced by Moroso.
Things 5/7 Milan
The Simple Suit
The two-piece men’s suit, with its understated simplicity, is an essential component in every COS collection. It’s slim in fit and inviting to wear, and it provides a refined ap-proach to dressing. This season COS offers suits in an array of dense wools, such as the midnight-blue twill wool model with subtle chambray thread shown above. It’s a sturdy autumnal staple, as much at home in the colder climes of northern Europe as in the sartorial streets of Milan – the city where men don suits with such easy elegance and where COS just has opened a new Italian outpost. Photo: Marius W Hansen
Things 6/7 Hong Kong
The recently opened 50 Connaught Road Central, in Hong Kong, is a modest skyscraper by the city’s standards – standing 28-storeys tall. Its Art Deco-inspired façade is a welcome contrast to the behemoth columns of glass and steel that dominate the city’s skyline. The building is home to two of the world’s preeminent contemporary art galleries, White Cube and Galerie Perrotin. The gallery spaces are the first outside their respective native countries, the UK and France. With collectors choosing to remain anchored in Asia and the increasing prominence of Chinese artists, they are remarkable examples of the intertwining of the international art markets. This is made all the more exciting by the debut of Art Basel’s Hong Kong edition in May of 2013.
Photo: Robert A.M Stern Architects, LLP
Things 7/7 Copenhagen
Tower Note Blocks
In their own words, the ten-year-old Danish company Hay have the ambition “to encourage Danish furniture design’s return to the innovative greatness of the 1950s and 1960s but in a contemporary context”. It’s a great idea, and they do it, quite brilliantly in fact, in everything from chairs and pillowcases to these attractive notepads. The 15–20cm high Tower Blocks are wildly handy whenever telephone doodles beg to be made or something important needs to be remembered. The notepads are of course available at Hay’s own stores in Denmark and Norway as well as at various fine multi-brand stores around the world.
The Inspiring Art of Collecting no 1:
Soap Bars, photographed by Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes
This collection of more than 225 soap bars belongs to 24-year-old Manon Grootendorst from Waddinxveen, the Netherlands. Manon began her collection when she was eight years old. She either receives the bars as gifts from friends and family or nicks them herself.
Elmgreen & Dragset
The astonishing Scandinavian art duo
Portraits: Andreas Larsson
Interview: Gert Jonkers
The artists Elmgreen & Dragset have put a bronze boy on a rocking horse in London’s Trafalgar Square, a statue of a drowned art collector in Venice, a stainless-steel male version of Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid on the Danish shore at Elsinore, and a fully stocked but never-open Prada store in the middle of a desert in Texas. Their art is often hilarious, beautiful, unsettling and evocative all at once. Like many Scandinavians, they admit to being heavily influenced by Ingmar Bergman. Michael Elmgreen is Danish and lives in London; Ingar Dragset is Norwegian and lives in Berlin. A couple until they split up in 2005, they continue to enlighten modern art with their fabulous ideas.
Gert Jonkers: Which language do you speak with each other?
Ingar Dragset: Danish, I lived in Copenhagen when we first met in ’95. I guess my Danish was better then. These days I speak Danish with quite an accent.
Michael Elmgreen: You should tell him what happened yesterday at the TV studio!
ID: We did this interview for the Danish national news. At the studio they asked us for our names. Michael gets his access pass, and I get this card that says ‘Taxi Voucher’. I had no idea what to do with it. The lady behind the counter said: “Do you have a problem?” I was completely confused. And then she said: “Oh, you’re not the taxi driver?”
ME: Because of his accent! And his beard!
ID: Michael was of course cracking up. It was hilarious. She connected it so naturally: accent – beard – taxi. She was so embarrassed!
GJ: I don’t read Danish newspapers, but I have understood that there’s already been quite some controversy about your new statue in Elsinore – the male version of the famous Little Mermaid.
ME: Yes. People thought it was too effeminate and too sexy. It’s quite shocking to see the general public’s perception of masculinity.
ID: Elsinore used to be where the Danish kings were seated before they moved to Copenhagen, so the city has this proud history of power. Why not give it a new version of this national icon? He’s sitting very elegantly with his legs to one side, the same way as the Little Mermaid.
ME: And he’s naked. We were, like: “Come on, that’s an old trick in art.” There’ve been quite a few naked men in the history of art that haven’t caused any controversy. And ours is not even that erotic. But what you get is a very stereotypical, old-school idea of what masculinity is supposed to be.
GJ: Well, isn’t that exactly the idea behind the statue? It’s the male version of a female icon.View More
ME: True, but we never ever imagined a discussion about it in Denmark in 2012. It was front-page news!
GJ: That’s fabulous, to make the front page.
ID: That’s the good thing about public art: it engages a wide section of the population. You reach people in a different way from how a museum or a gallery would. Our statue in Trafalgar Square, in London, has had such a huge reception. People seem to really accept it on all different levels. They feel very drawn to it and they love it.
GJ: I’m sure that the process and the challenge of getting your ideas approved and realised are as much fun for you as the actual unveiling?
ME: I think the process surely is about testing yourself. That’s why we wrote a theatre play. If you get too good at something, you start to become lazy and ignorant. You need to give yourself new challenges all the time in order to keep your energy level up. It’s always fun to disappoint your audience. If they expect one thing, it’s time to make something different. I realised that when I was ten years old – I was no longer amazed by our Christmas tree. My parents decorated and lit it in exactly the same way each year.
ID: That’s so boring.
ME: You can’t expect me to be amazed by the same thing, year in, year out. I was, like: “Burn the tree down! Make it all black, whatever. Do something else. Dare to disappoint!”
GJ: What would your dream location be for a public art piece?
ME: It’s fun to do things in deserted places. I mean, it’s fantastic that we got to do Trafalgar Square. But I got quite a kick out of the Prada store that we made in the middle of the Texan desert. There are truckers driving down Highway 90 who haven’t seen a gas station or a diner for hours and then they pass this Prada store and they’re, like: “What the hell?” They don’t think it’s art; they just think somebody’s gone completely nuts. That’s quite fun. I would love to do something somewhere in Africa.
GJ: You’ve created a special park for rejected art works in Neukirchen, Germany, which is also quite remote.
ID: It’s a project we proposed to the local Kunstverein and they’re running it for us. It’s, like, a fenced football pitch where we collect unwanted statues. Art outcasts.
GJ: Do you accept statues of Lenin?
ME: No, no Lenin statues and no garden dwarfs – only things that were made with serious artistic intentions. There’s a signboard that says: Park für unerwünschte Skulpturen.
ID: There are companies that have an abstract, modernist block where they’d rather just have a parking lot, so they’re happy to get rid of it. We just got a Vito Acconci piece that this big German company didn’t want anymore, for example.
ME: The park will look great in 20 years. It’s already starting to get quite pretty. Even though Neukirchen is off the beaten track, people are already going there especially for the park.
GJ: Where did you two meet?
ME: We met in a gay disco...
ID:...called After Dark. The hilarious thing was that when we went home together, we realised that we not only lived in the same area, in the same street, but that we lived in the same building. Michael lived one floor above me. We were meant to be together.
GJ: What did you do for a living back then?
ID: I was working as a red-nosed clown.
ME: And I wrote poetry. But there was no market to publish my work – Denmark is so small – so I was experimenting with new ways to show poetry, on monitors. That’s what I ended up showing in a gallery. Of course nobody from the liter- ary world came to see my project, but I did get asked to participate in another gallery show. When Ingar and I met we started performing together. We never knew it would be a life-long collaboration. We were just boyfriends sharing the costs.
ID: And having fun. Neither of us had had any formal art education. It was just something we invented together.
GJ: That’s amazing! Was it a difficult breakup when you split up as lovers ten years later?
ME: It was. I think we had exhausted each other because we literally did everything together: travelling, working, sharing friends. We were even the same size at the time...
ID:...so we’d share clothes and socks and underwear.
ME: Who can do that for more than ten years? It was like we’d lived through 50 years of normal marriage in ten years.
GJ: Did either of you take a break to go on a trip around the world on your own?
ID: No. We did postpone and cancel some shows, but we were lucky to have this one show at Tate Modern where the curator also happened to be going through a divorce. I think she played a big part in saving our working relationship. We would cry on her shoulder after a long working day.
GJ: Do you take inspiration from other duos?
ID: Laurel & Hardy are quite sweet.
ME: Of course we don’t dress up in identical suits, like Gilbert & George. It would be ridiculous if we’d do that too.
GJ: There’s a part in your play, Happy Days in the Art World, about the fear of what could happen to an art duo if they would split up. “If one of us dies, the other won’t be worth anything,” one of the characters says.
ID: That’s what happens to art duos. Look at what happened with General Idea. It was very hard for A.A. Bronson to continue. It has taken him 15 years to get back into doing shows on his own. We’ll see what happens to the legacy of Fischli and Weiss now that David Weiss has passed away. I do think they’re so established that their work will live on.
ME: When you collaborate for so many years, you create a third persona who is the artist and who is somewhere between the two individuals. Like, Elmgreen & Dragset is not Ingar, and it’s not Michael. It’s a third character.
GJ: A persona that doesn’t exist but that nevertheless dies when one of you passes away.
ME: It’s not even about death: it’s the same with artists who split up after years because they can’t stand each other anymore. Look at Marina Abramovic and Ulay. I think in our time we’re all so afraid of dependency. It’s all about being an individual, being free. And we’ve all become very bad citizens because of it, because we don’t want to contribute to society. When you collaborate you have to accept that you’re absolutely, utterly, totally dependent on each other. You’re in the hands of the other person: publically, privately, financially... That’s dangerous. It’s a commitment that’s not considered to be very cool these days.Minimize
The Inspiring Art of Collecting no 2:
Light Bulbs, photographed by Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes
Hans Mes from Budel-Dorplein, the Netherlands, began fanatically collecting light bulbs 15 years ago. He now has over 3000 bulbs, mainly from between 1930 and 1950, when the variation in shape was at its greatest. They’re sourced from markets around Europe.
Shapes & Tones
Five variations on tonality, modelled by Berlin-based artist Britta Thie and photographed by Benjamin Huseby
Britta is wearing an off-white starched wool top with shoulder detail (€89 or £79)
Here, Britta is seen in an off-white roll-neck top in fine wool jersey (€59 or £55), a pale-blush wool crew-neck top (€45 or £39) and an off-white wool tailored blazer (€150 or £135)
A mint-green fitted stretch-poplin shirt (€49 or £35) is worn with a lavender unlined
brushed-wool tailored coat (€190 or £175)
A silver-metallic high-neck top (€99 or £89) is worn under a burgundy sleeveless
Merino-wool top (€55 or £49)
Britta concludes with a pale-peach wool top with a wide roll-neck (€89 or £79)
Lidija & Sanja
The virtuoso piano-playing sisters in Paris
Portraits: Andreas Larsson
Interview: Caroline Roux
The Serbian sisters Lidija and Sanja Bizjak travel the world, stunning audiences with their virtuosity in playing duets on one or two pianos. Sanja is a confident 24-year-old with more than a glint of ambition in her eyes. Her sister Lidija, twelve years older, has a more quiet and considered way of formulating her answers. Despite their differences they perform in mesmerising unison, thanks also to the amount of time they spend together, rehearsing seven long days a week. We meet over citron pressés in a café in Paris, their new home away from Belgrade and the base from which they’re conquering the world of classical music.
Caroline Roux: Did your parents encourage you both to become musicians?
Lidija Bizjak: Not at all. No one played any instruments at home. Our mother was an anaesthetist and our father was in agriculture – he was a really good basketball player too – though they did like listening to music and had a lot of records. It was just me. I had a melodica at home that someone had given me and I played it so obsessively that they sent me off to music school.
Sanja Bizjak: It was different for me: I grew up with music. I was only five when Lidija left for Paris at 17. A year later I started playing the piano. I think I was trying to fill the gap she had left by learning to play.
CR: Were you close? That’s such a big age difference.
SB: Ha! Yes, I’m what you call a happy accident. Lidija was like a second mother. I went everywhere with her – to her piano classes, even to her music theory classes.
LB: I’d take her to concerts, and she’d always be asleep by the second half. She was nice and quiet.
CR: Is music like sports, where you need natural talent but then you have to invest an enormous amount of time to develop it?
LB: Exactly that.
CR: What do you think is the ratio of talent to endeavour?View More
LB: I’d say it’s 30 per cent talent and 70 per cent the rest. Training is a huge factor. We play live, so you really have to be in top form and know what you’re doing if you want to bring life and meaning to a performance.
SB: We practice for eight, ten hours a day. It’s like a working day. We work on Sundays too. And we’re always sitting down. It can be really bad for your back. Swimming would be good, but we don’t have the energy.
CR: Do you have someone who mentors or teaches you?
SB: I’m at the Royal College of Music in London, doing an MA, so at the moment I have a professor, Dmitri Alexeev, who is one of the world’s greatest pianists. He’s the reason I decided to go there. He’s worth having to take the Eurostar every week.
CR: How did you start playing together?
LB: It was someone else’s idea. In 2002 the director of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra asked us to play a duet. Sanja was only 14 and we played Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in front of a thousand people in Belgrade. Then in 2004 we were invited to give a recital during a festival at Laon, France.
Sanja, left, and Lidija, right, were photographed at the Conservatoire
National Supérieur in Paris
CR: Do you play on one or two pianos?
LB: We do both. You have piano four hands and piano duos.
SB: With piano four hands you play side by side on one piano, sharing the pedals, which can be quite difficult. The piano is probably the only instrument one can share – it’s impossible to share a violin or a cello.
CR: And is one of you the leader and one the follower?
LB: Yes, but it depends on the piece. There should always be one voice that leads as a melody, but it can be anywhere on the piano – high, low – and it can change during the piece. That’s what makes four hands so interesting for us – and for the audience. Four hands is the closest thing to a string quartet, with each hand corresponding to one line. The difference is that we can take much larger chords in one hand than a string player can. Often there are also two or three different lines per hand, which makes the musical discourse more complex, intriguing and exciting.
CR: So it’s not that one of you is always playing the bass and the other is always playing the melody.
LB: No, we constantly change roles. It’s also important to know and be able to play both parts.
SB: In classical repertoire such as Mozart or Schubert, the bass part usually has real importance as it’s the harmonic ground of the piece – every change in colour in the higher melodies depends on it. The person who plays the bass is usually also the one who plays the pedal, so it’s doubly important, but it’s the melody that listeners usually listen to. I’d say that if the bass is good, the melody is easier to play.
CR: Is there a difference in playing with your sister?
LB: Oh yes, there’s a big difference.
SB: All your ideas and thoughts and whatever you don’t agree with – it all comes out. You have to be honest with each other. Even so, you have to be careful. Too much honesty and you might end up being too emotional or having a row. We know how far we can go.
CR: Do you ever have arguments?
SB: Yeah! But I hear about friends in string quartets having terrible fights too. It’s part of working together and being on tour together. We also live together in Paris.
LB: It’s really hard to find somewhere in Paris where you can play all day; we’re a noise problem. One piano is already a lot of noise, but two pianos is really tough on your neighbours. So we live in special accommodations provided by the Conservatoire de Paris. It’s full of students and ex-students, people playing all kinds of instruments, composers, jazz musicians. Fortunately our place is slightly separate from the main building. Thank God! I don’t want to hear a French horn every morning at 9am.
CR: Are you travelling a lot these days?
LB: Yes. We just came back from doing two weeks of concerts in Japan, which was wonderful. The Japanese are reserved but also very warm. The way they applaud at the end is amazing. They clap completely differently from Westerners. It sounds like rain: very fast and with a higher pitch than in Europe. And the Japanese are always asking for autographs and want to have their picture taken with you.
SB: In France, the audience all applaud together in a standing ovation, but it’s more about tradition than appreciation. It doesn’t matter if they liked it or not; everyone gets the same treatment. It doesn’t mean much. It’s like that long sign-off at the end of a formal French letter: Veuillez agréer mes sentiments distingués. It doesn’t mean anything.
LB: Which is very different from the applause in London. I recently went to see The Marriage of Figaro at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and the applause was fantastic – really spontaneous and lively. I loved the piece, but it was really the audience that excited me most.
CR: Do you always play at your best when you’re performing?
SB: You’re sometimes better in rehearsals, actually. The concert can go well, but the rehearsal has the edge. When you have a chance to play the same programme lots of times and you get to live with it for a bit, then you can really progress. That’s what big-name pianists get to do. They become known for a particular repertoire. We’re still in the middle, so sometimes we get the chance to repeat a programme over several nights, but sometimes we’re doing one thing in one concert and another in the next – we may do five different programmes in 15 days. Everyone starts out like this. Once you can do the same piece night after night, you become much freer on stage. You’re no longer worried about the details. You inhabit the piece. You are really interpreting it, and hopefully it’s differently every time.
CR: What happens if you make a mistake? Do you give each other a dirty look?
SB: Oh God, no. Everyone makes mistakes. Even the biggest stars do. That’s just human. The worst is to play a piece the same every time, or to appear not to understand it.
LB: When you’ve done something stupid, you know you’ve done it; you hear it. You don’t need someone else to tell you. She knows that I know.
CR: If you go on holiday, how long can you be away from your piano before you get itchy fingers?
LB: Two weeks.
SB: Ten days. I’m better when I haven’t played for a while. It’s good to have a bit of distance and come back refreshed.
CR: Can you really fatigue your hands?
SB: Oh yeah, Brahms or Rachmaninov can take a lot out of you – and I’m playing them a lot at the moment. Schumann and Bach are other favourites.
LB: My favourites are Mozart and Schubert, even though Mozart is difficult. But then again you have music that you like to listen to, and music that you like to play, and they can be two totally different things. For instance, I love to play Stravinsky – it’s so energetic. But listen to our Stravinsky CD? I just couldn’t.Minimize
The Inspiring Art of Collecting no 3:
Tape Rolls, photographed by Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes
This collection of tape rolls belongs to Amsterdam resident Joep Pingen, who collects them on instinct and impulse. He always buys two rolls so he can use one and save the other for his expanding collection. Inexpensive coloured masking tape is his favourite.
Terry & Tricia
The illustrious couple behind London’s i-D magazine
Portrait: Matt Jones
Interview: Alex Needham
Terry and Tricia Jones have been married for 44 years. In 1980 Terry founded i-D to document London’s booming street style and youth culture. Tricia joined the business a few years later. Other magazines have come and gone, but i-D marches on, still influential, still directed by Terry and still featuring a wink on every cover. The magazine has proved a school of talents, from photographers Nick Knight and Wolfgang Tillmans to super stylist Edward Enninful, and practically everyone else working in London fashion today. Terry and Tricia are delightfully tactile with each other, and they have two grown-up children, Matt and Kayt – both photographers. We meet in their east London headquarters where, now as grandparents, they continue to reign over their 32-year-old youth empire.
Alex Needham: When was the first time that you met?
Tricia Jones: We met at a college dance when I was 18. Terry was at art college and I was at teacher training college in Bristol. I was on the rebound, so I went to this Georgie Fame gig with my friend.
Terry Jones: The two of them were definitely not on the pick-up, but I, as a non-dancer, asked Trish to dance. Years later she asked, “Why did you ask me and not my friend...”
Tricia: ...who was much prettier actually, and shorter as well.
Terry: Her friend was kind of Bardot-ish and didn’t move, and Trish was very animated and did move, and that was the right choice for life. As a recommendation, I’d say don’t go for the static blonde – go for the moving brunette.
Tricia: We talked for four hours back at Terry’s flat. He was my best friend for a year – and then things changed. I was 21 when we got married; Terry was 23.
Terry: I quit college – I opted out before graduating – and worked in London for a year, and then Trish finished college and came up. I was working in a small design studio called Ivan Dodd. I had a very small bedsit...
Tricia: Don’t go into all the details, darling. Too much information! Basically Terry was doing graphics, I was teaching. And before i-D you were at Vogue.
Terry: I was art director at British Vogue from ’72 to ’77.
Tricia: He was the youngest art director they’d ever had. They thought he was the janitor.
Terry: Trish’s mum was very shocked when I left Vogue.
Tricia: She’s a nice Jewish mummy. To say: “My son-in-law, the art director of Vogue” sounded brilliant, and then suddenly he was leaving to go freelance. On the swank front it wasn’t the same. She’d already had to get over stuff at the beginning because I was the first person in my family to marry someone non-Jewish. But she adored Terry.
Terry: After Vogue, my day job was working for a variety of magazines in Europe and as a creative consultant. i-D was the hobby job.
Tricia: It was 1980 when it started. We talked about ideas together but I was not involved in the making of the magazine – I was just making pasta for people who came round after college; no one would get paid.
Alex: Is working together easy when you’re romantically involved?View More
Terry: Tricia regularly resigns.
Tricia: That’s not true. I occasionally say things like: “That’s it – I’m going. I’m not working with you any more,” and it’s because he doesn’t smile enough during the day. If it’s a mad moment I’ll say, “I didn’t marry a businessman” because Terry will worry about the finances or the responsibility.
Terry: Trish thinks about the people working for us. I tend to think about the deadline, so I’ll go through a day without food, whereas Trish will think about food every two hours.
Tricia: I was a teacher and a mum before we started working together, and that’s kind of the secret of who I am. I managed the finances at home so it was obvious that I would help Terry with that at work. Terry said, “We need to sell advertising, can you phone a few people up?” Creatively I started putting my chip in a bit later, and he didn’t like it at all.
Terry: The minute I found Trish was on my territory, I got possessive. But then I found that she has very good judgement on editorial stuff. And she’s much better at words than I am. I’ll struggle for an hour just to put three words down.
Tricia: Not three.
Terry: I always look for someone who has a potential to write, and that’s the way that journalists like Dylan Jones or Kate Flett or Alix Sharkey would start. The i-D academy is finding people who have an ability, and then I think I can try and double their strength. Most people, when they start at i-D, have never had a job, so they don’t have a defined style. Nick Knight was a student when he showed me his portfolio. I asked him to do some pictures of his friends in Bournemouth, and that was his first published work. Stylist Simon Foxton I met when I was working at Fiorucci.
Tricia: But at the end of the day, you are the creative director. It’s a joint thing – they will have their ideas, but Terry will also have his, and it’ll be done together. You can be a very hard taskmaster. I’m always kinder.
Alex: Given that you used to be a teacher, Tricia, aren’t you quite strict with the staff?
Terry: Nobody working for i-D has ever seen Trish get angry.
Tricia: Oh, don’t!
Terry: Because she’s never had to. There’s a respect. The guidelines are clear.
Tricia: My son, Matt, says, “Oh mum, you always say it’s a matter of principle.” For example, if I can help it you won’t see pictures in the magazine of people looking cool smoking cigarettes. I just think it’s really irresponsible and I hate the way the cigarette companies are now going to the developing world and selling them there.
Alex: But then again...
Terry:...we used to carry tobacco advertising. I even worked on ad campaigns.
Tricia: But we did stop. Terry’s allowed me to have much more of a voice. I mean, there’s no way you would ever do that now, would you?
Terry: I discourage it, but when we photograph David Hockney and he doesn’t take the cigarette out of his mouth...
Tricia: And David Lynch is the other one. Difficult! What I feel is that if people believe that we can influence the way people think and so spend thousands of pounds advertising a handbag or a pair of shoes, then we have a responsibility for what we put in the magazine. We wanted to be as broad a vision as possible: multiracial, multiethnic.
Terry: As grandparents, you want to feel that six generations down there’s some value system that you’ve managed to infiltrate. i-D has broadened people’s perspectives. It’s not unusual to see mixed races on the covers of magazines now, whereas when i-D started it was very unusual.
Tricia: I think the important thing is not to preach or be holier than thou. We’re not saving lives here; we’re helping creative people. We’re maybe opening a few eyes, and hopefully our own, too, along the way.
Terry: We’re fortunate in that since 1980 we’ve had a place in Wales. That connection with nature has been something that both Matt and Kayt have grown up with, and I think that gives you a privileged perspective – not everyone gets to see the dawn over a frozen field with the mist rising.
Tricia: It’s not a posh house that we have; it’s a very little cottage with a beautiful view. Terry taught me about nature. He once took me to Dorset, and I stood on the top of a hill and I was, like: “God, there are no villages.” That feeling of driving out of London... (Tricia exhales loudly) ...is just extraordinary.
Alex: Doesn’t it sit a bit oddly that nature lovers like yourselves are working in fashion – an industry predicated on things being obsolete after six months?
Terry: We’re all going to be obsolete in whatever – things have a lifespan. The big issue, I believe, is that people in fashion try and hold on to a vision of youth, whereas I love the rose as a bud and I love it as it’s falling off the bush, so I love the natural order of things.
Tricia: If you look through the pages of i-D, you see fashion is the excuse for what we do. We’ve said that for a long time.
Terry: Well, more than that.
Tricia: In i-D you’ll often see vintage pieces, so we’re not saying: “Buy this and then go and throw it away.” Do something else with it. Send it to Oxfam. Reuse it. Wherever we can promote people who are doing things in a sustainable way, we like to do that. Having said that, nobody’s going to buy something just because it’s worthy, if they don’t look good in it, and we fly too often to be able to make any judgements about things being sustainable. I can buy clever products and turn the water off when I’m cleaning my teeth, but our kids live in America, and our granddaughters are there. Am I prepared not to see my granddaughters?
Terry: My belief is that you present things and people can make up their own minds. We don’t like an ethos that comes down as a critique on someone’s personal taste. We’ve never been about “This is in, this is out.” We don’t see ourselves as rule makers. We are fans.
Tricia: I think the other thing to say is that we can’t possibly see ourselves as a youth magazine – I mean look at the age of us. We’re grandparents.
Terry: Well, it’s an attitude, isn’t it? You can get a 12-year-old with wisdom and an 80-year-old who’s a blinkered bigot.
Alex: Do you think you’ll still be making i-D at 80?
Terry: I don’t imagine as a hands-on thing.
Tricia: Not the responsibility of everybody’s jobs, but I think we’ll still be batting ideas about, for sure. We’ve just got a place in upstate New York because our son lives there. He found us this house, an old horse farm called Clearview Farm – I mean, what an amazing name to inherit. To have an eye and a wink as part of i-D’s motif and then to have Clearview Farm... I’m a great believer in all those sorts of things. I don’t think stuff is coincidental at all.
Terry: It has a bath with a view.
Tricia: Friends of ours had a bath with an amazing view of the mountains, and I said, “Oh God, one day I’d love a bath with a view.” In London, we have two baths in our bathroom. We bought the house in 1970, and we had a really small bathroom, but there was a chair in it. I’d take a bath and say, “Come and talk to me,” so Terry would sit and talk. At some point we decided to make a bigger bathroom, and we were, like: “Ooh, we can have two baths!” So we do. I’m not a great one for sharing my bathwater, much as I love Terry.Minimize
The Inspiring Art of Collecting no 4:
Joker Cards, photographed by Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes
Amsterdam-based Leonard van Munster is the proud owner of an odd collection of playing cards composed entirely of jokers. It’s a suitable collection, as he is considered to be quite the joker himself and is often given joker cards by his close friends.