Cybele Malinowski has galvanised her place in the photo industry with her bright, bold and unmistakable imagery in the fashion and music industry. Her work has graced the cover of countless mags both nationally and internationally, and over her 8 years in the industry she has shot the who’s who of Australian pop and fashion royalty. Cybele’s clean lines, strong graphic and geometric structure and attention to detail constantly reference back to her formal training in architecture. Always up for challenging herself, and progressing as a photographer, Cybele has made time in her hectic schedule to take on a master’s in photography at SCA to focus on her personal work, and further develop her philosophical and theoretical framework in photography and video art. She has no doubt this will lead her to new unfound spaces within her medium, and expand her work from the commercial world into the art world.
Model-Maison is a project of love and dedication that has seen Cybele shooting models in their bedrooms all over the suburbs of Sydney, LA, London, Ukraine and Shanghai.
The blog is an insight into the model’s worlds, while still retaining some of the fantasy of fashion. In a collaborative sense, Cybele works closely with each model to create a series of images in and around their homes. Cybele gives the model the freedom to style themselves and they work together on creating a world somewhere between fashion and realism. Despite the proliferation of social media, models remain an endless source of fascination and Model-Maison gives the consumer a rare look into their lives. Model-Maison has been almost 2 years in the making, but is set to be a sought-after and unique offering in a crowded digital space.
Hereunder, Model-Maison: SIMONE HOLTZNAGEL (West Hollywood, LA), more in the website.
How do you think your training in Architecture is affecting your photography?
Architecture gave me a great wholistic understanding of how elements of design come together to create a great work. It gave me a scientific understanding of light, space, color and time, all of which come together to create a photograph. We learnt about the history of art, the physics of space, the psychology behind human pleasure. It was such an all-encompasing degree, which would have affected me no matter what profession I went into. I know quite a few photographers who studied architecture. It seems to attract similar minds. People who love art, but want to work in the real world, whether that is through creating spaces for people, or as photographers, creating space within a 2D world.
You like challenges, which is the most challenging thing you’ve done in your career and how did you manage to succeed?
Having a baby. Working right up until I gave birth, and shooting again 3 weeks after she was born. It was epic. But honestly, I never felt so alive. I did that, I now know I can do anything, with a smile on my face.
As you say in your bio, are you expanding your work from commercial to artistic? How?
I am constantly trying to find ways to feel artistic integrity into my commercial work. I always have a few projects on the boil. I just finished my masters in photography and film last year, that has had a huge impact on my work. It seems to have crystallized my recent work. I seem to have more clarity when I shoot.
At the moment I am working on a project called undone where I shoot models without any hair and makeup and no retouching. This is a raw authentic portrait of the natural beauty of models who are so often homogenized in the world of beauty.
Where did you find the inspiration for Model-Maison and how did the project start?
I wanted to find a cross between fashion and portraiture. I wanted to strip it back a bit, focus on the model and her character, life, rather than cover her up with a false character. I wanted to have a project that I could keep on doing indefinitely, that would grow and travel with me.
How do you make models feel comfortable showing their most intimate spaces?
It’s all about letting them feel comfortable with me in their personal space. No matter how big, small, permanent or transient, every model has to take her life with her as she moves around the world over the year.
Which was the thing that shocked you the most in a model’s house? And the funniest story behind one of your shoots?
The most shocking thing is that we are all pretty much the same. Nothing sordid to tell you about! Funniest story would have to be when I shot Elouise Morris. She lives in a beachside community north of Sydney, up on a beautiful hill with her mum, and two horses, and rooster. She had made a platform for the rooster, so he could walk through her window at any time and come and rest on her bed. It was the cutest thing ever. And then there was the nude bareback riding. That was pretty awesome!
What have you discovered doing Model-Maison?
That everyone is sensitive, compassionate, welcoming and takes pride in their homes, no matter how big, small, or transient they are. That our sense of self is created within the confines of our own private space. And no matter where you are in the world, you need familiar comforts, whether it be a teddy bear, family photos or a tub of your favorite chocolate spread. I have been humbled by how welcoming and open the models I shot have been, its been a truly incredible experience.