Artist-duo Petrovsky&Ramone – Petra van Bennekum (1975) and Morena Westerik (1981) – just finished shooting a campaign for Nike Running, in the desert and beaches of Paracas, the salt mines of Maras and the 3600m high mountains of Cusco. With their ‘dynamic and raw’ style of photography, the Amsterdam-based duo is very high in demand in the world of fashion, for years already. With the shoot for Nike, Petrovsky&Ramone now connect their world of fashion with the world of sports. One Saturday Afternoon sat down with Morena, a.k.a. Ramone.
First of all: what do we see on the images?
“You see amazing locations. These epic places, that are so photogenic. The light was incredible. It is about how free you feel if you feel like you can go anywhere you want. When you are running you have this feeling. When your body is active, your mind is at rest. Along the way we reacted on all things we came across, it was a constant search for the balance of the whole story. The Nike team was all about these spontaneous actions, we made a rough shortlist, but anything could happen in between.”
Most of your commercial work is fashion orientated… now Nike. How come?
“It’s the second time we shot for Nike. A long time ago we also shot Nike running images, in a studio in Amsterdam. This shoot in Peru was extra special; we were working with a great American team and there was a lot more freedom to capture the right images. Our work is moving and expressive most of the time. We’re most comfortable on extreme locations, and we are always looking to blend local cultures and surroundings in our images. We try to make our images tell a complete story in stead of being just aesthetically pleasing. For this shoot Nike wanted to show Peru: it’s culture, nature and architecture. The combination with the running athletes was a perfect match we thought. It was great to work with real athletes. They know their body and what it’s capable of. And they can do movements over and over again even on a altitude of 3600 m.”
Is there one picture you like most, and if so, why?
“We love the image shot in Paracas, where you see a runner from above. Beneath him is the sea, the white foam is reciting. You see the beautiful colors, the water soaked in the red sand. It looks incredible. You don’t know what is up or down. There is no sky, only sand and rocks. Everything came together in that image.”
How would you label this kind of work: sports photography or fashion photography?
“A mix of both. Nike is a brand where fashion and sports blend. But we dont’t think labeling is very important; it’s about the power of the images, not so much about what you call it.”
Even though, how did this shoot – in practice – differ from your more fashion orientated work?
“The difference was that each model only had two sets of clothing for the whole trip. Normally every location needs another set of clothes, here the realness factor was that when you’re running your wardrobe isn’t that extreme with dresses, bags and shoes; this time it’s only two shirts and a short.”
What was your challenge, making this shoot ‘work’?
“One day we were at sea level , the other day we were flying to 3600m into the Cusco mountains. We all got a bit ‘strange’. At first you don t notice, and as there was also a big festival going on, with a lot of village people dressed up and dancing on the streets, we felt like in a colourful acid trip. But after a few hours we got a headache and felt like a big hangover. Every step we take you feel like an old granny.”
You have said in an interview before: “Fashion is about people, emotion and expression.” To us at One Saturday Afternoon, sports is too. Can we expect a cross over to sports related clients more often in the future?
“We definitely hope so. Currently we’re shooting for the National Opera & Ballet, those dancers are incredibly athletic as well. And we are also creating images for Bateleon snowboards on the side.”
Check out more of Petrovsky & Ramone, right here.