Fashion's latest art-book

Spanning 13 years of photography across the globe, Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel’s book takes a look at nostalgia and difficult beauty.

Smokes & Mirrors book cover. Photo / Supplied.
Smokes & Mirrors book cover. Photo / Supplied.

When they released an art book mid-year to coincide with an exhibition of their photographic and sculptural works, the book sold out in just 45 minutes. Now photographer and stylist Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and lighting director Delphine Avril Planqueel's second printing of Smoke & Mirrors is out in time for Christmas.

"Even exhibitions have a limited life," Inderbitzen-Waller says, "and it is a great feeling to create something that can even outlive you and what you have done. It's the essence of what photography has and always will continue to do and that is also why we love it so very much as an expression."

The pair say Smoke & Mirrors traces a journey of closely examined nostalgia and a fascination with difficult beauty, cutting a path between the real and imagined, interior and exterior, light and dark, new and faded.

Although spanning 13 years of photography, Smoke & Mirrors began as a project in 2011. The resulting exhibition was shown at the Saatchi & Saatchi Gallery in Parnell in May and now 500 signed and limited edition copies of the book (David Bateman, $150) are on sale nationwide at selected bookstores, galleries, museums and boutiques, including Unity Books and at Kate Sylvester in Auckland.

Buy it online here.

For more, visit kareninderbitzen-waller.com

Here, the pair share with Viva the stories behind some of their favourite works.


Cigarette & Carnation, Paris 2011. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.
Cigarette & Carnation, Paris 2011. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.


Cigarette & Carnation, Paris 2011

We have visited many French cemeteries - Paris has the most beautiful ones in the world. We have taken numerous series of florals from various cemeteries around France and a lot of them appear in the book. Taken at the infamous Pere Lachaise in Paris, we came upon this carnation in the ice by chance. It was mid-winter and the temperature was below zero. The unison of the cigarette butt and flower reminded me of a Tretchikoff work. As this photo was taken, we wondered who had lost this flower and who had smoked that cigarette and the beautiful mystery that this evoked.


Zippora and Jasper Seven, Warthworth 2012. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.
Zippora and Jasper Seven, Warthworth 2012. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.


Zippora and Jasper Seven, Warkworth 2012

We have worked with the siblings Zippora and Jasper Seven since their foray into modelling and have formed a close bond with them and their family. One of the ideas for Smoke & Mirrors when we started to design the book, was to photograph people such as the Sevens with whom we had shared many years of photos and friendship.

On this particular day, third sibling Cisco Seven was also there and we captured them in a favourite waterhole where they forgot they were being photographed and were just enjoying the summer's day. Zippy is New York-based and Jasper has also done modelling stints overseas so they are not often all together in New Zealand. It was a special day, capturing the obvious adoration between the three.


Diana, Les Yvelines. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.
Diana, Les Yvelines. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.


Diana, Les Yvelines 2006

In the summer in France there are lots of amazing country markets called foire a tout. On a Sunday with the family we spend time visiting these to see the amazing furniture and other French vintage things. Most of it looks like it could be from Versailles - Marie Antoinette's collection of boudoir armoires and the like.

This picture of Diana watching over a room in a French countryside barn stopped us with its sad and faded appearance; it was a reminder of the sad Princess that was. She wasn't for sale, simply watching over. It was simultaneously gloomy and beautiful.


Julia Nobis, Paris. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.
Julia Nobis, Paris. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.


Julia Nobis, Paris 2011

Pictures of Australian supermodel Julia Nobis, taken at Paris's Pere Lachaise, were what was to be the beginning of two years of portraiture for Smoke & Mirrors, undertaken in seven countries.

This January sitting started at -11C. Luckily Julia, whom we had met at Sydney Fashion week in 2009, was also our friend and she graciously persevered for us that day. Between each portrait we would seek warmth at the cafe opposite the famous cemetery and fuel Julia with hot drinks, changing in their bathroom before braving the freezing temperatures again.

Julia was turning blue and we decided it was time to let her rug up for dear life when the cemetery's hand-held bell started ringing to let us know it was time to leave or we would be spending the night there.


Broken, Hydro Majestic. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.
Broken, Hydro Majestic. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.


Broken, Hydro Majestic 2005

This film image was taken in the Blue Mountains in Sydney at a stop-off to see the beautiful 1930s hotel, the Hydro Majestic. This is one of two images in the book, the other is of the same terrace but it is not broken.

On a whim, we were on our way to a trip into the Outback and the unknown. We were with two friends - one is sadly no longer with us - and as the others leaned on the terrace so I could take a picture, it somehow crumbled away. They ran in horror! I had photographed the terrace prior to that moment and did so again afterwards.


Pink stairs, Drocourt. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.
Pink stairs, Drocourt. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel.


Pink Stairs, Drocourt 2012

We have spent the past seven summers in France, in a village called Drocourt where Avril's parents reside, about one hour out of Paris in the countryside. Drocourt is a small village similar to many in France where there is often just one store selling cigarettes and baguettes. There we are immersed in nothing but summer and the idyllic countryside.

Each day we walk around the village and the vast fields and pastures with the family doberman, Aldo. The tiny and now familiar streets, full of village houses and their amazing flowers, are a constant inspiration and the place feels like home. France will always be a part of our lives with Avril being French, and it is a big part of our work and, of course, of Smoke & Mirrors, which showcases New Zealand and France predominantly - our two favourite places in the world.


- VIVA

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