Interview With Photographer Erik Madigan Heck: A Surreal Take On Mary Katrantzou

Tell me how wild did your imagination run as a kid & I’ll tell you how creative you’ll be as an adult. Or better, show you. Show you two of the brightest examples: Mary Katrantzou, the Greek-born/London-based designer that raised the bar of prints in a whole other level & Erik Madigan Heck, the creative director of Nomenus Quarterly magazine.
In case you’re not yet familiar with Nomenus Quarterly, the magazine’s notion sums up to the fact of visually interweaving every creative field with fashion: sound, film & literature; so Erik Madigan Heck and Mary Katrantzou started a collaboration on surreal photography series based on Mary’s collections. First came the “Surreal Planes”; then the “Florals” and a few days ago the newest addition: “Mary Katrantzou and The Surrealist Ideal”. 
And dedicated to surrealism as I am, couldn’t help but ask Erik Madigan Heck a few questions on this collaboration:
The designs Mary Katrantzou creates, reflect the aesthetics of a vivid imagination and linking them to surrealism comes naturally. For your first teaming-up there was the “Surreal Planes” and now “The Surrealist Ideal”. Tell me a little bit about its concept.
Well the idea for me originally was to set out to make photographs that reflected Mary’s surrealist prints- in that the photographs had to also exist in a weird “in between” realm. In between photography and other mediums, painting, illustration, new technologies… so the idea in the first collaboration was to match her garments with interiors- creating patterns and inside worlds that reflected her own patterns. With the latest shoot, I wanted to expand into an other-worldly realm that wasn’t confined to reality- or to a physical reality.
What does this “Ideal” represent for you?
The ideal I was referring to in the title stems from the Surrealist Manifesto written by Andre Breton in 1924. Its not necessarily a personal ideal, but rather a reference to the Surrealist ideals that were set forth by a group of Parisian painters- Dali, Breton, etc.
For the first series with Katrantzou’s designs, “Surreal Planes”, you stated that it signified a different direction in your own work. What is different now, two collaborations later?
Each collaboration pushes a little further in concept, and form. Whether the color and post work is pushed further- or the flattening effects are developed further- the latest shoot is an example of just taking what we have done before and exponentially removing it further from traditional fashion imagery.
I was particularly drawn to the last image of the series, the darkest and most elongated one. In this surreal world you created, what would this dark, enchanting place be and, what was this woman in Mary Katrantzou dress and a spectacular headpiece doing there?
This image was in reference to the early Catholic myth of ‘The High Priestess’, who was actually supposedly alive and the only female Pope to exist in the Catholic church- but was later discredited after she was murdered by the Church upon being discovered that she was in fact not a man. This image has been something I have wanted to create for a long time, as Im very interested in this historical character and what she represents today- the idea that there was a female Pope is quite intriguing….
Are there any plans for more surreal series with Katrantzou in the future?
Yes, definitely. We will be continuing our collaborations for a while :) Much more to look forward to.
All images property of Nomenus Quarterly
Full interview:

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