Inside the Creative DNA of the Renowned Photographic Duo Rene and Radka
Creatives often reach their fullest potential through collaboration. When creative DNA is defined by collaboration itself, the result is something that possesses the power of a combined perspective. This is precisely the case for Rene and Radka, the Paris-based, German-Czech photographic team whose work has appeared on the pages of Vogue, W, Numéro China, Wound, Citizen K, Elle, Vogue Nippon, and New York Magazine to name a few. To add to this impressive list of creative career accomplishments, Rene and Radka have also shot campaigns for Kenzo, Adidas with David Beckham, Absolute Vodka, Miss Sixty, Energie, John Lewis, Aston Martin and Van Cleef & Arpels. This creative duo is so revered in artistic circles that French TV channel ARTE made a documentary about their creative work called “L´art et la manière”.
After completing their studies at the Fachhochschule für Fotografie Dortmund (University of Applied Sciences and Arts and the Film Academy of Performing Arts Prague– Rene and Radka respectively– both photographers moved to Paris where they met and began their collaboration.
Rene and Radka’s photographic achievements extend well beyond their high-gloss resume, having put on international exhibitions including “Moonage daydream” (2006) in Berlin, followed by “Comme play with us” (2007) and “Under water” (2009) in Paris, which showcased their unique and surreal underwater shots that have been celebrated in magazines such as Vogue Italia, New York Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, French Photo, Art Actuel, Connaissance des Arts, Palace, Exporama, Zoom, and Beaux Arts Magazine.
Exhausted but impressed nonetheless? Creative Mapping certainly was, so we caught up with one-half of this ridiculously talented duo, Radka, to delve deeper into the creative mind that worked up the ranks to become one of the most respected and successful photographic teams in the art world.
"Each of us knew something different or had a different quality, so we found if we mixed them together it could be interesting. This process took some time because you become a new person. You have to forget about your ego, you have to forget about what you did until now" Rene and Radka
CM: Why were you attracted to fashion photography?
I guess because I’m a girl (laughs) and like beautiful things, and also because I like movies and you can combine fashion and movies together for fashion stories. It’s where our inspiration comes from.
CM: What makes a good photographer?
A photographer has his (or her) own vision of things he’s taking a picture of and who also knows a little bit about the work; the lights, the technics etc. because today, with digital photography and technology, a photographer takes a camera and they just shoot and if it’s not right they can fix a lot of things in Photoshop. It’s really nice to see somebody manage to work the lighting and stuff like that because (these days) not many people know how to do these things.
CM: How did you come to move from Prague to Paris?
I went (first) to Prague because I thought I could do lots of things I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else. After a year I discovered it was a crazy time for party and for nightlife, and it was creative but I thought I have to learn and I haven’t seen so much. I was working in Germany which isn’t the capital of fashion and I really wanted to work in fashion as a fashion photographer and I understood I had to go to New York or Paris if I wanted to do it in a serious way.
CM: When did you start to work with René?
A year after I came to Paris I met Rene, a German guy, so I could use my German again (laughs) and we started to live together. He was a photographer and I was very interested in movies, I wrote a script, I wanted to do a short movie, and I really liked his photography, he had very cinematic images and I asked him if he wanted to become a cameraman on my movie so we had to meet often to work on the script and that’s how we came together.
CM: How do you manage to merge your different styles on projects?
Each of us knew something different or had a different quality so we found if we mixed them together it could be interesting. This process took some time because you become a new person. You have to forget about your ego, you have to forget about what you did until now. We were very young so we didn’t really have an established style... and we had to create a new photographer with two halves, forget about who is behind the camera and think more about what we are trying to create. Sometimes we didn’t even know who pushed the button – but it was really about forgetting who pushed the button.
CM: What is the biggest challenge of working with your partner?
It was the ego thing in the beginning and you’ve got to really forget about that. And you’re together every day for 24 hours per day so you have to find the right person who is able to be with you for such an intense amount of time; it’s thirteen years we’ve been together, twelve we work together so I guess I found the right person.