“Taking pictures of something that just exists was never interesting to me,” says Michel Tcherevkoff. “I’ve always gravitated to photography that’s more illustrative in nature, where I can create my own reality — with a twist."
Paris-born Michel Tcherevkoff graduated from law school only to realize he needed a more creative career to dedicate himself to. He came to work in the fashion industry in New York (following after his sister, who became a model) and though successful, he soon found he preferred still photography without the manic flurry that often surrounds fashion shoots. At his website you can see how how transitioned into a 'fashion stills' niche but it was his Shoe Fleur creations that rocketed him to fame beyond 'fashionista' circles.
Inspired by the upside-down leaf, Tcherevkoff played with the image in Photoshop on his Mac, adding a heel and turning it this way and that until he’d created a shoe. When he showed the prototype to his agent and a few others, he says, “I got this terrific reaction. People kept saying, ‘This is so unusual’ and ‘You should try it again’”
His book (pictured here) is a must-have for lovers of faerie attire, flowers and high fashion.
“I decided early on that I wouldn’t mix different types,” he says. “Every shoe and handbag [most of the shoes in the book have matching purses] would be made from one particular plant or flower.” Tcherevkoff shot blossoms and stems, twisting and knotting and weaving and tying them to bring nature’s flora to heel as meticulously as a third-generation Italian cobbler.
Apple.com also got a good description of his creative process of which I'm quoting a portion here. It turns out Photoshop is only one of his tools, and there's a much more intricate approch to his original photographic content than you might think. As a result his creations really are unique to his photographic sense and work.
“I’ll take a leaf, make it into a sole, bend it to make a heel or a strap, then shoot it.” He works untethered. After taking the pictures, “I walk over to my computer room and download the flash cards. Now, some art director might say that’s wasted time,” he says, “but for me it’s thinking time. I’m looking one or two steps ahead, getting ideas, making creative decisions.”
Once the image is downloaded, he plays with it in Photoshop. “I silhouette the element I’m interested in,” he says, “then I place it here and there. I ask myself, ‘What would happen if I shrink it, distort it, shear it?’”
He’ll return to the set, as needed, to capture new visual elements. “I might take a rose or a daisy,” he says, “and the first time I shoot it straight on. Then I might go back and customize it for what I’m building — say I turn it 20°, then 20° more, and so on, until it forms a collar around the shoe. Getting all the flowers at the proper angle, with the right lighting, creates a put-together ensemble.”
The rest of the interesting two-page profile article can be read HERE.
As for the fashion? There's a LOT more to see on his website (choosing a small selection to include here was uber-difficult!). Many of the shoes have a matching bag and there are glasses too, not to mention all his other work but once you have a good look I think you'll say the same thing I did: "More please!"