Ilka & Franz are a German/ Austrian photographer and director team duo based in London (UK). Often humorous and playful, their sugar-coated yet super-neat visual language has seen the duo attract the attention of clients such as Amazon, Adidas, IKEA and Nivea. Their work blurs the lines between portraiture and still life. While their unmistakable use of colour is vibrant and bold, their conceptual undertones are often subtle and of child-like naivety.
Energetic, youthful, and fun, Ilka & Franz's work makes one smile instantly.
Mostly self-taught, they use a vivacious palette and block backgrounds to depict people and objects using their unique narrative. Blurring the lines between portraiture and still life, viewers will find hairy dustpans, cucumber willies, and flaming roller skates within their cheerful compositions—and anything is possible with these two!
Ilka & Franz draw their inspiration from pop culture, kitsch and surrealism , as well as ’80s fashion and interiors as they put a playful spin on the ordinary. The twosome work on editorial and commercial commissions in the UK, Germany and across the world.
Although you will see both Franz and Ilka behind the camera, each of them brings their own set of skills. Franz is inventive with lighting, and he is great at building and rigging things. Ilka tends to take more of a lead with artdirection, colours, styling, and retouching.
Set design features a great deal Ilka & Franz's work. Everything you see in their work has actually existed in the real world. For more involved shoots Ilka & Franz collaborate with set designers, prop stylists, and paper artists—but they also make a lot themselves, especially for editorial commissions. What happens in post-production is that they make everything a lot cleaner and neater than it could ever be in real life. This is what gives their work its hyper-real look.
Working with them is a great party from the start to the end - all well prepared and organised. A lot of work goes into the shoot before the actual shooting. Ilka & Franz work out in a lot of detail what exactly they are going to shoot, including which props, sets, and colours to use. Of course, once on set things can change to some degree, of course on set; there should always be room for a happy accident.
Adidas, Amazon Kindle, Audi Magazine, Avon, Breast Cancer Now,
Cosmopolitan, Dairylea, Deutsche Bank, EasyJet Traveller, Esprit, Fever Tree, Graze,
Guardian Weekend, Halifax, IKEA, KaDeWe, MixMag, Nivea, N 26, Observer
Magazine, Onken Yogurts, Ralph Lauren, SanDisk, Schön Magazine, Der
Spiegel, SurveyMonkey, Vitality Magazine, Wired UK & DE, Womanizer, Women’s
Health Magazine, Die Zeit
International Photography Awards (IPA) 2019 - Honourable Mention
Prix de la Photographie (PX3) 2019 - Honourable Mention
One Eyeland Awards 2018 - Finalist
International Photography Awards (IPA) 2018 - Honourable Mention
Production Paradise Spotlight Awards 2018 - Shortlist
Prix de la Photographie (PX3) 2018 - Bronze
Moscow International Foto Awards 2018 - 2nd Place
2017 Tokyo International Foto Awards - Silver & Honourable Mention
One Eyeland Awards 2017 - Silver
GoSee Awards 2017 - Finalist
PDN The Look 2017 - First Place
Prix de la Photographie (PX3) 2017 - Honourable Mention
Magenta Foundation Flash Forward 2017 - Winner
2017 PDN Objects of Desire - Winner
One Eyeland Awards 2016 - Finalist
One Life Awards 2016 - First Place
PDN Faces 2016 - First Prize
GoSee Awards 2016 - Finalist
One Eyeland Awards 2015 - Finalist