In the world of creativity and collaboration, the words "It’s only business" don’t really hold true for me. I have found that my best artistic and business relationships have been underscored by partnership and trust – or perhaps more simply described as friendship.
The best example I can give is Adriana Lima. Our professional relationship started through the lens of a camera back in the year 2000. At the time I was certain that we were shooting the strongest images we ever would. How wrong I was. Each time I shoot Adriana she proves me wrong time and time again and just ups the ante.
The evolution of Adriana as a model has been quite spectacular. Our photographic collaboration spans advertising campaigns, editorial shoots, fine art exhibitions, special events - and of course our most recent cover for Vogue Mexico.
To me, the images we have created together have become markers in time, just like certain songs can remind me of an exact time and place in life. When I look back at my images of Adriana, I can not only recall the exact moment and place, but all the personal and profound events taking place in my life at that time.
When we first started shooting together it was through the good graces of Victoria's Secret. From lingerie to swimwear, we travelled the world, shooting in places like Paris, Sardinia, Ibiza, St Barths, Miami, New York, and too many other places to now recall. Our unique creative relationship has literally spanned the world.
As our lives evolved and we each had kids, we found ourselves also being more drawn to compelling social issues. Adriana was discovering the power of her own image, and how powerful it could be in the world of philanthropy. She also became a firm friend and supporter of Nomad Two Worlds, that was my passionate endeavor to better understand the ancient cultures around us and to create meaningful partnerships with them. Today it has also lead to the creation of Raw Spirit Fragrances, an entirely socially conscious company. I am quite sure that Nomad Two Worlds would not have reached this point if Adriana had not leant her support at the time she did. I don’t think either of us suspected what our early playful shooting could lead to.
When Adriana agreed to shoot our first Donna Karan campaign together in 2012, it would lead to a new level of social engagement for both of us. Donna Karan had introduced us to the world of Haiti. We all agreed to shoot there to show ‘the other side’ of Haiti. The images of disaster that had flooded the world had also greatly slowed Haiti’s recovery. In partnership with people from Haiti we shot a campaign that was focused on the wonderful locations that many people didn’t know existed.
Over the years I have seen Adriana become an amazing advocate for kids around the world through supporting hospitals, orphanages and always being first to put her hand up when she sees she can be helpful on a social issue. Adriana has become such an icon of our time, and her beauty runs way deeper than just the gorgeous photographs and films we are so lucky to see. She is a beautiful both inside and out.
It is a cool and enjoyable irony that the brand that brought us together, Victoria's Secret, is still very much a part of our lives today. In fact, now more than ever. In 2014 Victoria's Secret hosted the first ever opening of my Angels Exhibition. And yes, Adriana was there to support me.
With Adriana I never know what the next shoot will be. Although I always know it will better than the last. She just keeps bringing it.