The making of “Magical Realism”

Many people noted the distinctive photography we use in our “Magical Realism” advertisement campaign. In this blog I love to tell you about the wonderful story behind this production. 

Some time ago we decided to create remarkable pictures for an advertisement campaign that should depict the magical quality of our products. We realized that for some products that would be rather difficult. For instance, how to make a great image of professional audio cable such as our TPR? Cable is just a humble linking object, never claiming a role in the spotlight. We would need a more artistic approach to make a cable photogenic. In a poetic mood, I envisioned a musician playing in front of a microphone, whose TPR cable would run back to her, winding as a dress around her body, connecting directly to her soul, and thus capturing her expression in the purest form.

A sketch of the cable dress in Alice’ note book.

I contacted Brendon Heinst of TRPTK, trained both as a recording engineer and professional photographer. He knew a fashion artist, Alice Lupin, who designs and makes the most extravagant dresses and she was happy to visit us for a briefing. My suggestion of wrapping a model with cable was put aside straight away by Alice, “a dress should not wrap but flow” she said, “the cables have to go downwards and there should be a lot of them”. So the idea became to picture the model surrounded by cables that connected her to all kinds of equipment via her dress. Alice made some sketches and got a green light from us. 

The concept for the shoot was to have two female models, that were also professional musicians. Eventually they could give a concert, wearing their dresses. Cellist Maya Fridman and harpist Majsa Koperberg were approached and they loved to participate in this adventure. The two models would embody characters that represent the two fields where Grimm Audio is active: professional audio and hifi audio. Harpist Majsa would wear the cable dress for a seemingly ecstatic recording session in a church-like space, transferring her music from her TPR dress via Grimm Audio equipment to Maya, who would be listening to the playback in a luxurious living room while sitting on an extravagant sofa and wearing a twenties style silver dress. Of course all this in a ’magical realism’ dreamy style. At least that was the plan. 

Now we had to find a venue for the shoot where both scenes could be created. Close to the city centre of Eindhoven the abandoned ‘Steentjeskerk’ church was spotted and it proved to be a great place for the shoot. The raised podium area at the choir end offered a great backdrop for the living room part and of course the hall itself was perfect to picture the recording session. When Alice had finished the drop-dead dresses, and some magical second hand furniture was collected from all over the country, we were ready to go!

Brendon is ready to take a picture of Maya while Jana adds some atmosphere.

Drawing of the Steentjeskerk in Eindhoven.

Many people helped to prepare the venue, setting up the huge softbox lighting, the furniture and the vintage equipment that functioned as props. The main crew consisted of Brendon Heinst (photographer), Alice Lupin (dresses and art direction), Chantelle Alyssa (visagiste), Jana van Moorsel (assistant) and Rik Meier (mental support). Everybody worked hard and we had a lot of fun. The MU1 cabinet was finished just in time on the day of the shoot and everyone admired its design.

Afterwards, Brendon and Jana did an amazing job in postproduction and the pictures attracted a lot of attention wherever we showed them. A manikin with the cable dress took center stage in many of our audio shows. What a success! For everyone who contributed to this massive project, my gratitude is infinite. 

Brendon and Alice prepare a picture of Majsa.
Alice adjusts Majsa’s ‘cable dress’.

As a fantastic epilogue, on January 31st 2019, Maya and Majsa performed in their dresses at the official introduction of the MU1 in the Van Abbe museum of contemporary art in Eindhoven. Just like we envisioned. You can enjoy video recordings of these concerts in this blog. But first take a look at the stunning pictures, in the high res gallery below…

Eelco Grimm

(Click one of the pictures to open a high res photo gallery).