Spring Studios Brings Forth Fresh Icons With New Publication, Platform

MILAN — The next Herb Ritts might be out there, shooting in his living room on a budget and with DIY props. That’s why New York City, London and Milan-based multidisciplinary creative firm Spring Studios is launching an emerging talent platform bringing together the work of photographers, designers and even a hairdresser who could be the next glossy go-tos.

In a private viewing with WWD, Spring Studios Milan creative director Anouk Jans was in Milan getting ready to unfurl an exhibit and publication putting forth a word-of-mouth-scouted group of individuals the firm has pinpointed as the next big things.

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“Ode” is a limited, biannual publication that combines contemporary and visual art, photography and texts of forward-thinkers ranging from ages 26 to 45 — emboldening them with “free artistic expression.” An exhibition titled “Ode to Rebirth” opened Thursday simultaneously in Milan, London and New York to a select group of personalities from the creative fields, editors and content creators.

Jans and Spring Studio Milan’s president GianMario Motta raced to finish this project in just over two months after an epiphany sparked in part by the release of Kevin Macdonald’s film “High & Low — John Galliano,” chronicling the rise, fall and rise again of the Gibraltar-born British designer and the desire for similar creatives with the same fierceness.

“Ever since John Galliano presented his magical Artisanal Collection for Maison Margiela, the creative industry agrees: we need more. More unexpected experiences, more daring projects, more freedom to create beauty that disrupts, enchants and revives. This is precisely why we launched ‘Ode’: a collective celebration of collaboration, new ideas, and progress towards the future, through the universal language of creativity that radiates positive energy,” she said.

The list of clients of Spring Studios is varied, ranging from Victoria Beckham to Ginori 1735 and from Louis Vuitton to Toyota.

Founded in London in the late ’90s, the company started strictly as a studio space for still and motion shoots. As the studios hosted increasingly more leading photographers, publications and brands, the company expanded, building audiences within fashion, beauty and luxury and creating global prestige campaigns, content and high-end cultural events. In 2013, the agency expanded to New York, with full studio, events and production, and in 2017 Spring Studios opened offices in Milan.

Sebastian Kapfhammer featured in the first edition of “Ode.”

The selection of artists spans continents and various expressive mediums. British photographer Luka Booth, German fashion photographer and director Sebastian Kapfhammer, Ugandan-born artist Stacey Gillian Abe, London-based photographers Tré Koch, Paris-based photographer Marcus Schaefer, British image maker Luke Nugent, Spanish photographer Yis Kid, hair stylist Pablo Kuemin, artist Hector Clark, Parisian restaurant Sugaar, photographer Sivan Roshianu, and Chinese-born artist and photographer Julian Song explored the theme of rebirth with their unique styles, investigating ideas such as representation, heritage, perspectives, identity, context, dreams, home, nature, daily life and reality.

During the tour, Jans paused in front of Nugent’s cyberpunks, uncanny artificial intelligence-generated portraits accented with face jewelry. One can’t help but notice the depth of their gaze.

“Nugent post-produces the images in a way that the eyes and the way they look at you feels personal, feels human. It’s another chapter… AI or what’s the next frontier is a thing we’ve been working on for a while to understand what’s the right way to use it,” she added.

Kapfhammer, she noted, standing before his black-and-white photos, made a cinematic rain machine for his choreographed images, while Abe reshaped the representation of Black womanhood with her autobiographical paintings of blue women that are an exploration of the artist’s past and complexities. “Diversity within the project came naturally,” commented Jans.

Luke Nugent
Luke Nugent’s cyberpunks generated with artificial intelligence.

Now 29, Jans is somewhat of a communications star herself having risen to fame at 13 years old as one of the first bloggers in Germany. She started generating an income at the age of 15 writing columns and jumping into the first leading position at age 18. She opened her own agency at 22 dedicated to creating campaigns for global brands.

Motta contends that all but one of the creatives chosen for the inaugural edition have ever worked for Spring Studios, and a small investment was made in aiding these individuals in bringing their vision to life, whether for props or location permits. In addition, photographers were told to embrace fashions and accessories that weren’t beholden to brands or any firms for total artistic freedom. Jans agreed, echoing the platform and publication’s potential to identify the next industry giants.

“Industry giants…. I love that phrase because it represents the next generation that will shape what we see, how we see it in our perspective,” she said.

Anouk Jans and GianMario Motta
Anouk Jans and GianMario Motta of Spring Studios.

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