I spy with my little eye... a coffee with Fashion Photographer Michael Kruger.

I met talented Fashion Photographer Mike Kruger by chance (and I mean it, by chance). We worked on a corporate photoshoot together. It was a first for me and getting portraits of 8 people in different locations in Dubai, in one single day, make-up, posing and driving included was not a piece of cake, but Mike was so chilled about it (and I was such a military general with the troops) that not only did we wrap the whole thing but we also managed to have fun (and lunch!). He is very sharp and efficient, if he doesn't get what he wants from the model, he'll try something else. I like down-to-earth people. Remember? Common is the new black. 
Mike has a fun, warm, yet sharp and very professional personality but he also has a style. His photos have a dark, edgy vibe. That's one of the reasons why I was interested in interviewing him: understanding his references and where he gets his inspiration from. He is curious, always full of ideas and solutions, likes to discover and expose new talents (designers, make-up artists, videographers, models, hair stylists, totoo artists, musicians...) : that's how he came to create an online magazine called X-Pose Magazine, check it out, there are photoshoots, interviews, and behind the scenes videos. Have a look at his work, visit his website: http://www.michaelkrugerphotography.com/
A big Merci to him for taking the time to answer.




     HOB: If you could live in a painting, which one would it be?
M.K.: I studied art at school so I am familiar with all the greats... but as for living in a painting it would be toss up between the two: Edvard Munch's the Scream or Dali's Persistence of Memory. I think living in Munch's paintingmay be too painful, so let's stock to Dali's!For methe painting evokes a sense of spaceand freethinking. It kind of says a lot about me too in a way. I'm someone who is independent in my work and I love being this way. I like the space to be creative and freethinking. Dali was a surrealist, which again exudes thinking out of the box and with a dreamy quality. Nothing is impossible if you think out of the box and dreams do come true if you guve yourself the chance... I'm a perfect example. So yeah... Persistence of Memory is the one for me!

HOB: If you could live in a different era, which one would you pick and why?
M.K.: Again this is a tough choice... As a fashion photographer, my choice would be based on fashion and nothing else. I would love to have lived as a wealthy person in Elizabethan England. The ornateness and detail in the Queen's clothing back then was just incredible. If I could go back in time with my camera I'd be Queen Elisabeth the 1st personal photographer. I would most definitively marvel on a daily basis at what she'd be wearing and photograph it all!

HOB: What piece of clothing reminds you of your mother/father?
M.K.: Well my parents hit their twenties in the 1960's. so in particular, my father kept a pair of bell-bottom jeans and this really cool green leather jascket with wide lapels and pleats down the front. I actually wore this jacket in my twenties too. It felt amazing wearing a personal piece of history every time I went out in it.

HOB: What scent takes you right back to your childhood?
M.K.: There's only one scent for me... and that is freshly cut grass. Growing up in South Africa and in a sunny climate, the smell of freshly cut grass reminds me as young 6-7 years old, lying on a freshly cut lawn, next to our pool, staring up at the fluffy white clouds. I photograph them a lot!!

HOB: When do you feel like you're on holidays?
M.K.: I'm not one who relaxes easily so it normally takes me a good week to wind down. It doesn't really matter where I am or what I'm doing. I normally take one holiday a year and it's usually around 4 to 5 weeks. So I do have time to wind down before I start enjoying myself.

HOB: What designer would you take on a camel ride?
M.K.: I'm too partial to camels to be honest, but if I had to choose to bring a designer with me on a camel ride, it would be Alexander McQueen... assuming he was still alive of course!! I'd pick his brains on his designs and work, and of course convince him to let me do a shoot for one of his up coming collections! I'd obviously give him the faster camel so he could beat me in a race... make him feel good and then of course I'd get the job!

HOB: Your favourite recipe to make?
M.K.: Believe it or not I spent 2 years in culinary school! I had a good all round education, learning to prepare a large array of food. I guess looking back one of my favourite things to make, or rather bake a rich vanilla, caramel and walnut cake. I used to make it a lot back in the days, but not so much anymore! Food has quite a big role in my life as I do a lot of food photography for some major hotels and restaurants in Dubai.

HOB: Best piece of advice you were ever given?
M.K.: To be honest, I've never been given any really good advice by someone else, so I tend to listen to my own advice. The best advice I give myself, no matter what I may be doing:
      a) Stay true to yourself;
      b) Believe in yourself;
      c) Don't worry about what others think of you or what you're doing;
      d) Respect everyone and everything around you.
These are kind of the things I live by in my work and play on a daily basis, and if I had to give advice to my son, this is what I would tell him.

HOB: What book changed your life?
M.K.: I'm not much of a reader... I find my time consumed by shooting, editing, researching and coming up with ideas for my online creative magazine (X-Pose Magazine). Finding time to read is a luxury! However if I look back at the books that I’ve read in my past, from youth to adulthood, one book that stands out to me is a book written by a Gothic writer called Poppy Z Bright called Lost Souls. I wouldn’t say it changed my life, but it was indicative of where I was in my life creatively, musically  within the Gothic lifestyle.

      HOB: The movie you've watched already 30 times but might watch again tonight?
M.K.: I love films and everything about it. It’s an extension of photography and it’s only now later in my career as a photographer that I’m truly beginning to understand and appreciate film. When most people are looking at the story line, I’m looking at camera angles, locations and scenery, wardrobe, hair and make up. The entertainment level of course is also important to me. When it comes to film as a genre, it’s impossible to separate tv and movies except by their length. I’m a huge mini series fan so if you don’t mind I’ll give you my favorite film of all time as well as tv series. Film: The Cell - TV series: Game of Thrones.
  
      HOB: Three favorite spots in Dubai?
M.K.: I’m no longer much of a night owl, so some of my favorite spots are not what you would expect.
     1. One of my favs is Kinokuniya Book Store. I can spend hours there looking through various books of interest, from fashion to music, photography, Manga (Japanese art and stories), Graphic novels and more! 
     2. Another favorite place is any of the More CafĂ©’s in Dubai. Perfect for good food, great coffee and free internet for working quietly on my own or with a client for a meeting! 
     3. Lastly if I like to hang outdoors, I do love going to the beach for a bit of sun and stand up paddle boarding. Kite Beach here in Dubai rents them out and it’s great fun!

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