How to transcribe the beauty of Mica Arganaraz into words? It's no easy task. Her beauty inspires pseuds like me to accumulate all kinds of paradoxical adjectives; effervescent, raw, striking, unique, powerful. She is a hugely successful and massively in demand model and has graced the cover of i-D not once but twice. We could list the campaigns she's starred in, the catwalks she's walked down and the photographers who've shot her, but we haven't got the time. We could instead dive into the just released third issue of Willy Vanderperre's /12 series of zines, which on this fine Monday morning conveniently focuses on Mica.
Across 20 pages Willy strips back everything. It's a study in intimacy and personality. Photographer and model. No big dumb concepts. No bold ideas or brash styling. Mica in a black Power Peralta T-shirt. Mica in nothing at all. Willy lets Mica be Mica and for that we are grateful. As we present an exclusive look inside the publication, which launches today, we caught up with Willy himself to talk about the project and shooting Mica. Six questions, six pictures, the cover, a link to buy your own copy -- what more do you need?
What was your initial inspiration with /12?
It's a project that has been on my mind for some time. I wanted to do something intimate with the people I work with; models turned friends/models turned muses. /12 is a project where the focus is on them, their being. It's about them, that's why each issue carries the name of the person featured in their own issue. So I approached IDEA books, and the brilliant David and Angela, and they were immediately excited and happy to publish the project.
The first two parts in the series — Julia and Clement — were muses and models you'd been working with for a decade. It's only been about three years with Mica — I'm thinking about the i-D's The Beautiful Issue cover you shot of her in 2014 — how does that change the intimacy, the subject-photographer relationship, in a very personal shoot like this?
It doesn't change, these are all people that I love. Yes, I use the word love. Sometimes you connect with someone, and normally that happens instantly. So the amount of time, and how long you've known the person, is sometimes not important. Every person that will feature in the series is important to me.
What do you remember about that shoot for i-D back in 2014, for The Beautiful Issue. It was her first cover I think.
It wasn't the first time I met her, but yeah, her first cover... and what a cover. It's one that still excites me.
What attracts you to Mica as a photographic subject? Is she someone you've worked with a lot?
Mica, oh Mica. One becomes lyrical when you think of her… she is a very talented, funny and intriguing person.
What was it like making this issue of the zine? What was Mica like to work with on it? What was the shoot like?
What I am grateful within that each person that we have shot is really into the project and they give themselves completely. No boundaries, a sense of freedom. Mica, like others was no exception. we just spent time together and we played around, talking, laughing and taking pictures. really special.
The first three issues now, have been defined by a kind of stripped back aesthetic. Very minimalistic, focussed on the person in front of the camera. Is that the plan for the whole series? Was there any consideration about doing it differently? Why do you think this way works?
I don't think of them as minimalistic. I see them as intimate, without unnecessary, added tricks. straightforward and honest. the whole series will be in this direction, although some are in a different setting, some have a different feel to them, but the focus will also be and say on the person, the model, the muse, one of my friends.
Available from Monday 9am at IDEA.
Text Felix Petty
Photography Willy Vanderperre