At an early age, Chicago-based photographer Kirsten Miccoli was staging complex self-portraits, playing with distinct ideas, wardrobes, and props to bring her artistry to life. Her interest in fine art has inspired concepts like Kirsten’s “Almost Paintings,” where she uses her models as an artist’s canvas.
Kirsten’s most recent collection, Digital Renaissance, is inspired by a combination of various mediums. Through motion, fashion, and fine art, Kirsten reimagines the work of the Renaissance masters for the modern age.
Creating and executing my vision helps keep my passion for photography and videography alive over the years.
Kirsten has been photographing professionally for the last 15 years, and she’s continually inspired to explore new avenues when visualizing concepts. The inspiration for this series came from a projector, which provided Kirsten with endless possibilities for setting the tone with different backdrops.
I have always loved referencing painting within my personal work so this project became an extension of that.
After experimenting with several ideas, Kirsten settled on blending modern fashion photography with art from the Renaissance to produce an elegant series that feels timeless. Through the use of dramatic lighting and ethereal-looking special effects, the images appear set in a fantasy world.
I loved the idea of pulling imagery from traditional and well-known renaissance art and architecture and pairing it with modern fashion and talent.
Kirsten meticulously planned the tone of the series, creating mood boards to inform the images’ color palettes, make-up, and wardrobe. Along with props and wardrobe, she also carefully chose the art and architecture she would for the backdrops. This tangible guide helped the team collaborate on creating the exact atmosphere that Kirsten envisioned for the project.
I used those mood boards to put together the talented team I felt would bring this vision to life.
The nature of this project needed a controlled environment, so Kirsten shot in her Humboldt Park studio where she has worked out for three years. Though she typically allows for natural light to brighten her studio, this shoot required a completely dark room where the projected backgrounds could be seen in detail.
We shot this in the middle of the day and it needed to be black in my studio for the projection to appear at all.
To ensure she could see the talent in the dark and moody space, Kirsten was careful to light the model just enough without outshining the image projected behind her. She utilized hot spots, a smoke machine, kept the light source in the image, and projected the art onto the face of the subject to play with layering the luminous rays.
This project allowed me to experiment with continuous lighting and I loved the results. Since the project, I have been incorporating this technique into my work with clients as well.
Kirsten has worked with the model, Amelia Pool, many times over the last ten years. This ongoing partnership aids Kirsten on set as Amelia understands her direction and knows how to interpret the vision for the shoot. Amelia is also a photographer so she has an idea of what poses and angles will work well.
She is wonderful at moving her body and has worked behind the camera as well, so that allows me to be more creative.
This project was Kirsten’s first personal series after the pandemic, and she felt the team was enthusiastic to be back in their creative realms. She appreciates working with individuals who share in her excitement overseeing the creations as they come together. The team’s positive energy helps a long shoot day pass with ease.
I like to share the images as we are shooting and see everyone get excited about the results. It helps to make the shoot even more epic.
Kirsten came to this project with a vision and a team that she trusted to help her execute it. She has learned over the years how best to organize and prepare before shooting, always keeping props on hand to fit the creativity of the moment. While she expands her career with fashion and editorial assignments, Kristen’s personal projects allow her to explore her imagination and use her photography skills in new creative ways.
Photographer: Kirsten Miccoli
Model: Amelia Pool
Styling: Angela Kelly
Hair/Makeup: Leanna Ernest