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Mert & Marcus

The photo duo behind some of fashion’s glossiest shots

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Mert & Marcus

There’s nothing accidental about the immaculately composed fashion photography of Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott but the artistic duo might not exist if it wasn’t for a chance meeting at a party. Mert Alas, born in Turkey, and Marcus Piggott, born in Wales, create glamorous fashion photographs, charged with sexual energy and dripping in luxurious patinae. While their work ranges widely in style, Mert & Marcus are renowned for their sophisticated manipulation of images and have innovated in the field of digital photography. Their lens is focused keenly on women and they present powerful female subjects, confident in their own skin. After opening a studio in 1997 in London, Mert & Marcus found immediate success with their first collaborative photographic work published in Dazed & Confused magazine.

Fast forward and the duo are now responsible for masterful campaigns by such luxury brands as Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi, Miu Miu, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, and Lancôme. As well as creating editorials for publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, and W, Mert & Marcus also shoot portraits of celebrities including Lady Gaga, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Linda Evangelista, Gisele Bündchen, Kate Moss, Björk, Angelina Jolie, and Rihanna. The photographers take inspiration from the work of fashion photography auteurs Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, acclaimed for their dramatic and decadent mise-en-scènes. Mert & Marcus’s work often takes on a surreal tone, in which elaborate makeup and styling produces images akin to highly saturated dreams where digitally enhanced elegance is de rigueur.

Unafraid of provocation, Mert & Marcus’s portfolio features countless nudes and nudity, which, perhaps ironically, is central to their rendering of haute couture. They describe the nude as an alluring combination of “desire and human form,” illuminating its importance to both their oeuvre and the form of the fashion photograph. Alongside other books on essential fashion photographers like Peter Lindbergh and Mario Testino, TASCHEN’s publication on Mert & Marcus is a sumptuous photography anthology, available in a Collector’s Edition and extra-special Art Editions. Carefully selected in collaboration with the artists themselves, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott’s self-titled monograph reveals the glossy and glamorous vision of one of fashion’s most magnificent partnerships.