Michal Pudelko is not your typical fashion photographer found in the industry today. His style has a perverse darkness which he attributes to the communists influence of his home country Slovakia. So when you see his work you wouldn’t necessarily think Valentino. And yet the combination undoubtedly creates a dark romance that seemed destined for one another. In an interview with us we learned of a few surprising contributors to Michal Pudelko’s aesthetic such as the fact that the photographer collects vintage Barbie dolls. “It is more of an obsession than just a hobby. Sometimes I can spend hours or days on ebay looking for the right one. I have around 250 of them now. I collect them in a never removed from the box way so soon there will be no space left in my apartment!” And we learned that for the multitudinous “Girls” series featured on his tumblr the artist practices an equal obsession with each concept which is developed by himself and his team of 1, “my best friend, producer and muse Katarina Gyu”. Together they would work to find the right girls, the right locations, even creating the clothes themselves in order to ensure everything fits perfectly.
And while the photographers body of work has brought clients in the past it wasn’t until he signed with Katy Barker two years ago that he struck Valentino gold. “I joined Katy Barker’s new agency and I couldn’t be happier, she is a legend! She has built up the careers of many artists, for example Terry Richardson and Craig McDean. I also added a first assistant, Sebastian Abugattas, and he is a great artist himself.
When we asked why Michal Pudelka focused on girls as his primary subject the artists shared “I’ve never really thought about why I focus on girls in my work, it all comes so naturally. I guess I always saw a woman as a more beautiful creature. Since my work is all about my world, my world is a woman dominated place. From an early age I loved this mean look about women – for example in The Little Mermaid I always liked Ursula, the bad octopus, much more. Also there are those communistic, cold roots in me.
On his education the self taught artist shared his thought on formal training stating “I used to go to art university in Paris but I left after a couple months. I don’t believe in educating in art, the point of view is too subjective.”
And although he didn’t find much value at university his awakening into photography began with a school project, “It was in the foundation year at university, when I had to buy a camera to capture all my projects. I didn’t really like the school so instead of going to classes I rather stayed at home, drank and took pictures of my self. In that time I realized my passion for photography.”
The Valentino brand too has gone through an awakening. The recent shows have moved towards a darker beauty. The most notable change being the Valentino Fall 2014 Couture show in Paris which featured a Pre-Rafaelite mood, romantic but with a sense of rawness.
When you compare the aesthetic of the Valentino woman and the Michal Pudelka woman you begin to see the similarities. The artists states that with his work, “I try to capture current movement in today’s society…” And we can see that his point of view is in line with the vision of the Valentino woman.