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  • Robin Yong

A Moment in Time - Denek Karnia

Updated: Oct 25


This is probably my most famous model to date - Denek Karnia, a fashion model who's become the face of Moschino, Tom Ford and Phillip Plein. We met 4 years ago at my teacher Greg Gorman's masterclass in Graz, Austria. This was the very first photo I took of Denek, at the window front of my hotel room, and as usual, using 100% natural lighting only. Coming to think of it, there wasn't much planning involved in the shot. Denek and myself were just newbies in our craft then. I suppose we clicked instantaneously and the light at 4pm on a warm summer afternoon provided just the right reflections on the window glass. That perfect gaze in Denek's eyes and the way he dangles his cigarette in his mouth gives me the exact cinematic and naturalistic portrait in black and white classically seen American and European fashion magazines.

That evening, I did a fengshui bazi reading for Denek during dinner and I predicted Denek will become a famous fashion model. I told Denek - "Dun worry too much, you are gonna make it big, soon you will be flying First Class while I am still at business class". Sure enough, Derek soon became the face for a few fashion brands.

We still keep in contact today and I am always so excited to see Denek's pictures in all those Moschino catalogues and posters. Always looking forward to one day when I can photograph Denek again or visit him in his home country.

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