Jean-Baptiste Mondino’s Most Iconic Photos
From fashion campaigns to album covers, Mondino is a master of his craft.
French photographer and video director Jean-Baptiste Mondino is the artist behind many of the most famous fashion photographs – you’re likely to recognize some of them, even if you didn’t realize they were his. Over the course of his decades-long career, he has continued to take his insatiable curiosity, merge it with the energy and beauty of the exceptional designers, artists, musicians and models who define our times. The result? Singular, unforgettably iconic images that capture and define contemporary pop culture. He is the mastermind behind the culture-shifting music videos he did for the likes of David Bowie, Madonna and Sting; he is the photography virtuoso whose portraits have been featured in publications like i-D, Vogue, Vanity Fair and, yours truly, VMAN — among many others. If anything, Mondino sees himself more as an artist rather than a photographer.
“Images are what interest me, not photos – it’s not quite the same thing,” he once said in an interview with Numéro. “What’s more, I still don’t own a camera. The medium is of little importance – be it a pencil and paper, a stills camera or a video camera, it’s all the same to me. What counts is the final image.”
To honor Mondino’s impressive body of work and celebrate his new feature with Parker Van Noord in VMAN 46, we’ve rounded up ten iconic images from his impressive career. Check out our top picks below:
This incredible shot became the album cover for Neneh Cherry’s Raw Like Sushi, featuring her hit single “Buffalo Stance.” She sings, “Looking good’s a state of mind.” And she does.
Model Marta Berzkalna’s red lips pop against the black-and-white photo, and some of the color sticks to her cigarette. These are the kinds of details that make Mondino’s work so breathtaking.
If the previous photo wasn’t enough of a sunglasses moment for you, here’s Rihanna for Dior’s 2016 eyewear campaign. Mondino captures the singer’s inimitable cool, which you can admire while you wait for her next album.
Mondino is skilled at illuminating the essence of his subjects, and here Bjork is at her finest – frozen in a scream, in a polar bear’s embrace.
Mondino photographed Karl Lagerfeld in 2015, and this shot is a winking nod to Lagerfeld’s iconic ponytail. You can’t see his face, but there is no mistaking the subject.
Model and actress Milla Jovovich grins for her close-up with Mondino. The photo beautifully captures this joyful moment, and Jovovich’s smile adds an infectious energy.
This portrait of Cara Delevigne for Madame Figaro is remarkable for the intensity of her gaze. From his above work with Jovovich in 1999 through this 2019 photoshoot with Delevigne, Mondino’s skill in the art of portraiture is a constant.
Mondino’s flowery nude photograph of Prince caused some controversy as the cover of the 1988 album Lovesexy. Some retailers, scandalized by the image, refused to sell Prince’s album without hiding the photograph, but we can’t see why anyone would want to.
Mondino has frequently collaborated with Madonna and directed several of her music videos. He also took many stunning images like this one, in which the singer strikes a powerful pose.