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No, Mi-Zo has nothing to do with the secluded hill tribes living between India and Burma, but everything with Zoren Gold and Minori Murakami. The former is a German photographer; the latter a Japanese graphic designer and illustrator. Together they are the most sought-after photographer duo in the world, which produces some of the most progressive and eye-catching imagery that can be found today.

Gold and Murakami met on a job in Los Angeles in 2000, and they have collaborated ever since in an attempt to push the boundaries of photography. They do so by digitally manipulating the images, often adding drawings, collages and computer animations. This media mix allows Mi-Zo to create worlds that, according to them, are “erotic, surreal and unexpected.”

Based in Tokyo, the duo produces both personal and commissioned work, which includes ads, fashion shoots and portraits. So far, they mainly portrayed members of, to us, rather unknown Japanese music scene, yet off late they have also caught the eye of westerns bands such as The Black Crows and Tears for Fears.

While Mi-Zo’s approach to photography is characterized by painstaking preparations, and a serious post-production session, the end result differs tremendously. They often display a liking for bright neon colors to create a very futuristic and urban sphere and at times use lots of props to create a kind of 21st century version of Italian baroque.

Yet their editorial shoot for Vogue Japan was remarkably minimalist and sensuous: A pair of perfectly shaped legs rises and rises up to gradually disappear in a cloud of white curtains, leaving only the shoes stand out in color.

Likewise, a gorgeous shoot for Adidas sports shoes is so dynamic that the colors seem to jump off the page straight onto the race and track field, or into a sci-fi lounge bar for the ultra-cool. For Nike on the other hand, they situated static doll-like figures in a dry and barren moon landscape. Anything goes with Mi-Zo!

In 2006, a first book with a selection of their work was published under the title Object That Dreams. A fitting title, as Gold and Minori in a way but create the stage for the object or model to shine. If you would like to see more of Mi-Zo’s wondrous world, visit their website, but be warned: you may dream off for a day or two.

ArtEli Rezkallah