Mert & Marcus

Fashion and celebrity photographers

Kiss the Sky
V Magazine - 2008

Industrial Strength
W Magazine - 2007

Pop Magazine

Le Chic
W - 2009


Boy Meets Girl
W - 2007


Peek - a - Boo
Pop - 2007

Iceberg campaign - SS09

Lindsay Lohan
Interview Magazine - Feb.09

Paris Vogue

Paris Vogue - Sept.08

Color Pop

[pics: (flickr.com) (thefashionspot.com) (designscene.net) (nymag.com/fashion)]

Mert and Marcus are Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, fashion photographers. Their work and style is heavily influenced and shaped by the photography of Guy Bourdin and also the use of digital manipulation (something that was never used, or even possible at the time Guy Bourdin's work was created).

Mert and Marcus, both born in 1971 in Turkey and Wales, respectively, met for the first time in England in 1994 after having worked for a brief period in completely different areas, the first in classical music and the second in graphic design. Marcus was an assistant photographer and Mert was a fashion photo modeler. After working together in the photography business, they decided to create a team. When they showed their first photos to "Dazed and Confused", the London fashion magazine, they immediately made the cover.

Known for their portraits of sophisticated, powerful women, Alas and Piggott's photos lend an air of grace and unmistakable perfection to advertising. "The difference between us and other photographers is that we care a lot about appearance," says Alas. "We spend most of the time in the make-up and hairstyling rooms, focusing more on the look than on more technical aspects. The technical part influences the final result by about 50%."We rely totally on retouching, and we wouldn't be where we are now without a good group of operators behind us".The team works today for magazines such as Vogue USA, Vogue Italia, W Magazine, Pop Magazine, Numero and Arena Homme Plus. Some of their major clients are top fashion labels such as Louis Vuitton, Missoni, Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi, Kenzo and Miu Miu. They created the images for perfume houses such as Gucci, Yves St Laurent, Givenchy and Lancôme. Alas and Piggott have also worked with celebrities of the caliber of Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Bjork, Lindsay Lohan, Scarlett Johansson, Charlotte Rampling, Kylie Minogue, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and most recently Victoria Beckham for a Giorgio Armani shoot. (Wikipedia)

Flickr Photo Set

Polished to Perfection
by Ruth La Ferla
(The New York Times - Aug. 04)
Diane Kruger, an actress perhaps better known as Helen of Troy, was served up on a half shell, lounging on a scalloped settee with a satin finish that perfectly set off her own. That hyperpolished image, from Louis Vuitton's advertising campaign, is the brainchild of Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, the British photography team that has been credited in recent months with upending the conventions of contemporary fashion photography.

"What they are doing is flawless," said Ivan Bart, the director of IMG Models, who has frequently worked with the pair. "They are the new fabulous."

Hyperbolic it may be, but that statement aptly sums up a body of work that has restored to fashion photography a refinement and a discipline all but absent for more than a decade. In contrast to the calculated artlessness of photography of the 1990's, with images as bruised as raw steak, the work of Mert and Marcus, as they are known among fashion insiders, is set apart by a candid love of artifice. Their digitally altered images make the naturalistically lighted, undergroomed portraits of the previous decade seem dated indeed.

Consider "La Belle et La Bête" in the August W, an homage to the 1930's femme fatale worthy of Jean Cocteau. It showcases a gallery of vixens, all languor, with platinum hair, hooded eyes and carmine-tinted lips. Such pictures convey a surreal glamour and a heightened luxury that has made Mert and Marcus the darlings of the advertising world, with fall campaigns for Missoni, Roberto Cavalli and Hugo Boss.

Just the same, their work cannot be dismissed as commercial. What elevates it, said Katie Grand, a British fashion editor and the photographers' frequent collaborator, is their command of retouching. "They change colors, play with backgrounds and put an image together in layers, much as a painter would do," Ms. Grand said. "The image printed in the magazine is controlled every step of the way."

The end product, in which the models often look like eerily beautiful aliens, celebrates and simultaneously subverts current notions of glamour. It introduces an idea that Dennis Freedman, the creative director of W, finds "ethereal, disorienting and sometimes unsettling."

"You ask yourself, `Is this woman made of flesh and blood, or is she made of silicone?' " Mr. Freedman said. "Those are dark questions."

Letter from Ibiza: The Shoot
Mert, 33, is Turkish; Marcus, 34, is Welsh. Mert is short and chubby; Marcus is tall and slim. Mert is jovial, with a husky laugh; Marcus is measured, with a mischievous grin. When they work, they take turns with the camera—sometimes snatching it from each other—and although Mert’s taste may incline a bit more toward campy glamour and Marcus’s more toward ironic cool, the results rarely, if ever, betray the dominance of one man’s aesthetic over the other’s. “When you’re looking at the film, you can’t tell which of them had the camera,” Katie Grand (editor of Pop) said.

Interview photoshoot w / Lindsay Lohan

"The secret of a strong campaign is a great image and a great character," says Alas. "You have to communicate an essence without words, without touch, without sound or smell. Obviously, we are here to sell a product--you can't disguise that fact--but the trick is to say that message in an unconventional way, where it doesn't become just about that sale. You need to maintain the identity of the message and feelings and emotions of the designers. At the end of the day, the greater the image, the greater the character you associate with it. You see J. Lo's bag in Times Square or on the Avenue Montaigne, and if you have the same one, you feel special, part of the gang. That's when the image works." (Time.com)

More Behind the Scenes
W Magazine w / Kate Moss
Vanity Fair w / Amy Adams
Longchamp F08 w / Kate Moss & Gaspard Ulliel
Longchamp SS09 w / Kate Moss & Sasha Pivovarova
Louis Vuitton SS08 w / Stephanie Seymour, Naomi Campbell et. al.