Art

The Past Perfect Duo.

Our intention is to invoke a moment that would make you step back and question when, where or even why it occurred.

Art by Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine - Interview by Icarus Blake
©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

‘This is tricky’ – Is what I thought when I saw one of these images for the first time. I was attracted by their vintage mood and it took me a second to realize that, somehow, there was a lot of future into them. Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine are a romantically engaged artists duo that expresses itself through a mix of analog and digital photography. An explosive cocktail to say the least.

Looking at your images, the first reference that comes to mind is Rubens’s “Fall of the Damned” (you both have an arts background). Who are the artists that most inspire you?
We love things that are hidden in plain sight, and the beauty that is found in the mundane and goes unnoticed like a shadow or a tattered textural wall. We are both drawn to unconventional aspects of humanity, and inspired by other artists who see the world in these ways.
Sleep No More, a theatrical experience that takes place in the 1930’s, and is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, has had a big influence on us. The performance evokes a dreamlike experience. If you’re curious you’ll start to notice things aren’t always as they seem—a place for one to get lost over and over again. When we had the good fortune to become involved with the founders of this, we were asked to photograph the space with some of the cast and to create their program for the performance.
We are both inspired by music: old weird 78’s with that crackling noise and cinematic, ambient soundtracks. We hold a special place in our hearts for Joel Peter Witkin and Francis Bacon. Some of Scott’s favorites are Sarah Moon, Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. A few of Kim’s are Pina Bausch, Anne Hamilton and Thom Yorke.

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

The women in your photography bask in a vintage look that, at first site, transmits serenity, but under further consideration, a tense, dramatic, almost troubled feeling seems present in the pictures. Is this struggle a generic message about our times or a more specific, personal one?
It’s not a particular message about our times. In fact, it’s an attempt to simply be timeless with a poetic point of view that evokes a dreamlike experience different from our present reality. Our intention is to invoke a moment that would make you step back and question when, where or even why it occurred.

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

Why mostly women?
In the history of Art, women have traditionally been the muse; also women generally are more open and experimental. Fashion is also equally important in creating the initial concepts. Many of the women we have photographed have a unique sense of style or a vintage look. If someone does shows up in a T-shirt and jeans, Kim has a ton of amazing options from her own closet with which to style them.

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

In your travel photography you decided to keep the same vintage look as in your art photography please explain why.
Our approach to life is parallel to how we present our photography style. The experience of any photo we create would be the same as if you were invited to our home. You walk in the door and its all sepia, black and white. You are surrounded by texture, rusted objects with edges that are not straight and perfect. We hope that the end result of our photography is an aesthetic experience, whether we are shooting fashion or temples in Cambodia.

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

You are a very powerful husband and wife creative team. Please tell us how it all began and how you manage personal privacy within the creative collaboration.
Scott has been a photographer for thirty years, Kim has been a visual artist her entire life. She admired Scott’s photography five years before she was introduced to him. Later she invited him to her loft for a party, where they immediately hit it off. Three months after they met, they travelled together to Thailand, a journey that would foreshadow their foray into collaborative photography.
“Sometimes, we don’t even know who shot what and we don’t have issues about it. We give each other enough space when we shoot together so Scott can capture analog and Kim experiments with styling and poses. We definitely have an unusual way of working together!”

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

Between the two, who performs which duties on set?
It’s a very organic collaborative process. Scott handles more technical aspects, checking lighting details and preparing his array of cameras. Kim is style/wardrobe detailed and often pulls from her own collection and works with props from around the studio.

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

Where do you take most of your portraits? Do you use any artificial lighting?
We live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so there are seasons to contend with. Our Winter Series happens in our loft studio using hand painted backdrops from Oliphant Studios and ideally natural light as our space has windows on 3 sides! Night sessions (our vampiresk subjects) can only show up after the sun goes down requires artificial lighting! When we have exterior shoots we crave locations that have texture or unusual industrial settings. It’s become challenging to find anywhere to photograph in the city, everything is off limits and surrounded by fencing and tagged heavily with graffiti.

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

Are these professional models or mostly friends that pose in your pictures?
Both! We work with professional models, friends and strangers. Living in NYC we see a lot of interesting people. Kim is the extrovert so it’s more comfortable for her to approach people we don’t know, and nine out of ten end up working with us!
Our friends often work with us and are super amazing. We have also had the opportunity to collaborate with Melanie Gaydos, a professional model with extraordinary circumstances. We are not interested in actually photographing “models”—we are more tuned into non-conventional beauty and people who have a unique sense of themselves. That’s how we connected with Melanie!

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

You obviously live together, have you ever woken each other up at three am with an idea and gone to shoot it?
We are big list makers! Maybe this helps us sleep through the nights!

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

You have reached an incredible level of sophistication for iPhone photography, are all your images post-processed inside the iPhone through different apps or are there added treatments?
Scott still believes film has as magic to it. A self-described latecomer to digital and mobile photography, he still uses and maintains a traditional darkroom for professional photographers in Williamsburg, NY. Initially frustrated that techniques that took him years to learn in a darkroom setting were now available as apps for everyone, he has since embraced these digital ideas and incorporated them into his work bouncing back and forth between digital and analog mediums. He has even created negatives from some of his iPhone images bringing them into the darkroom to print using analog techniques then back to a digital format like Instagram.
Kim’s images are all digital and she works mainly with the 5D camera and iPhone. Together we have tapped into the iPhone app possibilities and experimented a ton, but the reality is, we only use a handful of apps… less is more, Snapseed, Hipstamatic and Mextures are amazing and from these, we use just a smattering of options.

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

You seem to trust publishing most of your work on Instagram, tell us a bit about the advantages and disadvantages of this media platform.
It’s an advantage to get our work out in the world to a wider audience and connect and be inspired by what other people are doing. We have a highly curated gallery and in turn only follow a small selected group of artists. We haven’t experienced any disadvantages although we are aware of what those could entail. There are limits for some content (like nudity) but we support and understand this boundary.

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

It is very difficult to retain the ownership of images online. What are your thoughts about intellectual property? Do you think copyright laws for images distributed digitally should be stricter?
We are certainly putting ourselves out there and don’t really know the answer to this. We just wish people would do the right thing and keep their karma squeaky clean!

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

Technology has dramatically sped up the process of taking and manipulating pictures. The web burns these images very quickly. Most platforms only need mediocre pictures in large quantities to feed their daily need for content… Are we dangerously leveling our standards of quality?
This is an interesting question, and basically, yes – we agree that standards of quality are always being compromised – quantity over quality. There is definitely a lot of mediocrity and complacency out there. It’s funny how much time and money can be invested into mediocre content – especially when there are too many “cooks in the kitchen”, the ideas tend to get watered down. It’s important for us to not always be safe with our work. Our approach and philosophy is to have a strong point of view – to be ourselves, and not to be afraid to play, take risks, and have fun!

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

Please name the movie and the book that you both love the most.
Scott’s favorite movie by far is “Blade Runner” and his favorite book, The City of Last Things by Paul Auster. Kim adores Guillermo del Toro’s “Pans Labyrinth” and favorite book for a long time, Jose Saramago’s Blindness (not the movie!)

Kim Meinelt Instagram    Their Website    Scott Irvine Instagram

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

©Kim Meinelt and Scott Irvine

5 Responses to “The Past Perfect Duo.”

  1. Mary Meinelt says:

    Evokes mystery, allowing one to get lost in what is not answered. The combination of the talents of Kim and Scott is an amalgamation of perfection of inspiration.

  2. Carl Meinelt says:

    Being Kim Meinelt’s Father, I’ve seen a great deal of Kim & Scott’s Work in Progress and, of course, in a Finished Displayed Presence. Constantly, I’ve
    been utterly impressed w/their work and collaboration; however, of late I
    have been amazed at what I see and now reading this interview has further
    deepened my inner appreciation of “Their Insight, Process & Perfected Product”!!!!! Rarely do two Artists come together in heart and mind, as have
    Kim & Scott-They have led me to an entirely New & Wonderful World of Art!

  3. Go Nodar says:

    Haunting images that stir the imagination, and sometimes frighten a little. It is good to have emotional reactions to the manipulated photos, it brings involvement.

  4. Karlene Pickard says:

    Kim and Scott are like salt and pepper; they flavor each other. As Kim’s mom I have seen the progression and am so proud of her growth. To see their work is an experience. Some pieces, to me, have several meanings. I can’t help but think of a modern day Escher (especially with the double exposure). I still say, I take a photo and it’s a picture.. you take a photo and it’s a work of art. I’m mesmerized. Definitely love their work.

  5. gaya says:

    Stunning. Stunning and… stunning. So much talent. So perfect.

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