Digital FeaturesSimulacrumMynxii White
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Interview

INTERVIEW

Mynxii White

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PHOTOGRAPHY & DIRECTION Mynxii White STYLING Douglas VanLaningham @ Photogenics Army ART DIRECTOR Robert Standlee MAKEUP Spencer Barnes, Spencer Wells HAIR Preston Wada Foto Assistant Meg Wilbur STYLING ASSISTANT Jeremy Friend  Cinematographer Ben Cope Music Matt Schaefer Special Effects Ally McGillicudy Art Department Nathan Martinez, Brenden Ruiz, Amoura Gonzalez MODELS Ava McAvoy, Ema McKie CAMERA Leica SL with Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 f/2.8–4 ASPH. and Apo-Summicron-M 75 f/2 ASPH.

In ‘Simulacrum’, Mynxii White tells the story of a being abandoned in space, who decides to clone itself to escape loneliness. The models Ava McAvoy and Ema McKie slipped into the respective roles, while stylist Douglas VanLaningham made sure the looks fit to the story.

The first time you were involved with the S magazine was during the production of the Ellen von Unwert edition, where you were responsible for the make-up and also took part as a model. What was that experience like for you?
Working with Ellen Von Unwerth was a dream come true! She was a living legend and I never dreamed I would ever have the immense privilege of meeting her, much less actually working with her. Her sets were magic, and she transported everyone on the team to her own private fantasy world. I love creating with her, as she has always been someone I have idolized my whole life. The chance to actually model for her was the icing on the cake! It was the experience of a lifetime, and I will never forget how lucky I was to be included.

We’ve been in on-going contact since then because, after the production was over, you decided you wanted to be a photographer yourself. How did that come about?
I was so inspired by the strong women I had met, Ellen included, and always dreamed of making my own fantasies a reality. I have been creative directing for the last 5 years and the desire to shoot on my own grew immensely in me over time. I had the incredible opportunity to work with Bil Brown during that time, and was gifted my first camera along with extensive education on my new venture. I owe him everything, as he changed not just my career path, but my whole life. I had a new outlet for my creativity and a new outlook on life. Everything sparkles now and there are no more boundaries to what my mind can create. I finally found the fire that fuels my day and it is the reason I get out of bed happy every morning.

Was the changeover unproblematic, or were you faced with unexpected challenges?
Actually, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful response I got from friends and family when I decided to pursue a new creative path. It seemed as if the unifying word was "FINALLY", as if they had been waiting for me to gain the courage to take the reins of my own concepts. The support and opportunity that have presented themselves since taking the very scary leap off the cliff have been incredible, and I am so grateful for every step since the jump. There are a few people in my life who have put some distance between us since I picked up a camera, and I can't help but be a little saddened by their idea that we can't all share the very big spotlight. I experienced a few heart-rending realities about the illusion of competition in the industry, as I have always believed that there is room enough for everyone to shine and succeed. While that may be a naive idea, I still stand by the belief that we are all unique in our vision and execution, and there is room for a day in the sun for anyone who chooses a creative path. I can only hope that time brings people and ideas back together and that we can all play a part in adding beauty to the world one iconic image at a time.

You’ve produced the 'Simulacrum’ photo series and video for the S magazine – quite a complex undertaking. Do you like challenges?
The challenge was the biggest of my career, and the most emotional – but more than worth it. It is the thing I am most proud of to date, as I proved to myself and those who would keep me as "just a makeup artist", that I am capable of anything I put my mind to. There were people who told me to "stick to what I was good at" and discouraged me from persuing these new challenges, but I refused to listen and channeled all of that into creating something incredible. It's "the wind in my sails", and I will let the test fuel me, not stop me. I didn't have a lot of money at the time, but it was worth draining my savings (and cashing in all my favors). I was so incredibly lucky to have a brilliant team to help me bring this to life. We are only as strong as our team, and without them, an idea is simply that. It dies as just an idea.
"You can't play a symphony alone, it takes an orchestra to play it." -Navjot Singh Sidhu

What’s your story actually about?
It is the story of a creature who simply realized she didn't want to be alone. You see her start by creating the plants, to somehow fill her sterile space with life; but it's not enough. Over time she learns how to create a clone, as violent as it is, which is successful. She is no longer alone in her universe.

The colours in your story are reduced – grey, silver, a little green and some ‘nude’. Does form play a bigger role in the story? Why the colour reduction?
I wanted to portray her space as clinical and empty. It is void of life or love. We start to see color with the birth of her ideas, which is the green in the plant life.

You photographed and filmed 'Simulacrum’ with the SL. You also often use an M8 for your pictures. What role do these systems play in your work?
I have a special place in my heart for all of the M series cameras; I love the beauty of the color the M cameras capture. Each one has its own unique personality and special way of interpreting a palette. The SL is a beast! It's a gorgeous camera with a lot to offer. It gets the job done for every story, every time. I like to use an M camera with the SL on the same shoot to get a different kind of feel to add to the complete set of final images. The video is incredible, and captures my vision perfectly.
The M8 was my first Leica. The way it reads texture is gorgeous and it will always be like a child to me. The M10 has a dreamy, almost pastel way of capturing color, and I love shooting with it when I get the opportunity. The M240 has almost a more masculine feel with the colors. The video has a sort of vintage quality to it that I love. The Q is like the little sister to the SL (which I have to have with me on every shoot). The Q is a great substitute when I don't have the SL. Its compact body makes it easy for location shoots on the move.
Each camera has its own feel, and I can't choose one favorite over another. They are all incredible and perfect cameras. It's a joy seeing the quality of images they create.

What do you want to achieve in photography? Where do you want the journey to take you? And how does it all fit in with your work as a well-known make-up artist?
I would love to just keep creating in any capacity I can. To paint myself into a corner (no pun intended) as just this thing or that would only take away from what I can create. I never again want to put limits on what I can do based on how others try to define me. I would like to move forward as simply an "artist", and see where the journey takes me. I have never had any desire to do anything but create. I don't care what is in my hands to make it happen, as long as ideas continue to come to life. This is the blood in my veins that keeps me alive.