World: My Portfolio - Dimitri Danilofff

The 33-year-old Parisien photographer Dimitri Daniloff specialises in head-turning images: it was his arresting ad "rebirth" for PlayStation, that won TBWA\Paris the print Grand Prix at Cannes last summer.

Yet Daniloff was surprised, to say the least: "I don't understand why this campaign did so well. I wasn't expecting it to have such an impact all over the world. Now people from as far away as Canada or Brazil have heard about it."

Modesty aside, Daniloff adopts a methodical, layer-by-layer approach to his work. "I always think about the different steps I need to take, and split the picture up into layers.

In this case, I shot the girl first and used a dummy head between her legs to get the light and the shadows right. Then I shot the guy's head separately and matched it up." Commenting on how people have reacted to "rebirth", he says: "It's a bit twisted but not in a hard or shocking way. You think it's a nice picture and then the more you look at it, the more you realise there's something weird there."

He was recently commissioned to work on PlayStation again, but this time for an exhibition of imagery rather than an ad campaign. How did he find working on the same brand again? "It was a challenge for me, as I wanted to try a different direction. I love the Mr Potato picture because, if you look closely, you can see a Kleenex box but the guy has no nose. That's the kind of detail I like as it makes the picture more realistic. I thought it was funny to have a guy without a nose and a Kleenex box."

Daniloff has an endearing habit of being playful with the human body in his work. In addition to PlayStation, he has experimented with similar special effects for Microsoft. In one, the copy reads: "Your messages have a tendency to get lost." The central image is a close-up of an ear arranged like a maze.

Another shows a Rastafarian who has spent so much time online his dreadlocks have taken root. Daniloff says: "A lot of people booked me after PlayStation to do a similar kind of thing in terms of special effects. Clients are from every market."

Daniloff's move into photography was sudden. Aged 24, he was studying for a degree in maths and physics. Then a friend gave him a camera and he ditched science to learn about photography, becoming an apprentice.

Daniloff is now working on directing films. "Film is something I love: movies are exciting, a dream I had when I was a kid. I think we have many different careers in one life, although photography will always be my first job."

- Dimitri Daniloff was talking to Lucy Aitken.


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