A typical self-initiated project. “I did the pigeons shoot with my husband. A pigeon fancier lives in the same neighborhood as my parents and I had the idea to ask him if we could photograph his birds. I loved the beauty of the plumage and it was a great challenge for us to photograph these animals. Some of the images were used for one of the trend books, but in general it is possible to buy pro-rata picture rights of my images. I would love to make a photo book out of them but until now, I have not had the time.”

Imke Klee, stylist

Who hasn’t suffered the sting of a thousand rejection letters? Imke Klee, for one. In 2007, having just completed an integrated design program at the University of the Arts Bremen, the German-born stylist and photographer sent her diploma work off to famed trend forecaster and design guru Li Edelkoort in search of some feedback. “It was sort of a trend book about how to transform traditional values into modern, contemporary ones,” says Klee — in other words, catnip for a trend junkie like Edelkoort, who responded almost immediately with an invitation to come join the Paris-based offices of Trend Union, Edelkoort’s renowned forecasting agency, which counts companies like Philips, Virgin, Camper, and L’Oréal among its international clients.

Since that time, Klee has been employed as an iconographic researcher, charged with creating images and sourcing new materials and fashions for the firm’s legendary seasonal trend books and color forecasts. “Every day is a new challenge,” Klee says. “How to switch between styling, photography, and research, how to interpret the present, and how to work in time for my own projects as well.” It’s a good thing, then, that Klee’s professional and independent work lives often overlap; the photo shoots she frequently initiates with her husband, photographer Antonios Mitsopoulos, often end up being used as fodder for Edelkoort’s trend books. At the heart of it, Klee says, “I am a collector of beautiful things, and I use them to create my own world; my process normally begins with a feeling and ends with a concept.”

No wonder, then, that Klee is so adept at creating mood boards —a subject she even teaches a course on at her old alma mater. In fact, when the photos for this story arrived — mostly taken by Klee, her husband, or sourced from around the web, they represent eight of her greatest inspirations — they looked of a piece, a controlled mood highly indicative of Klee’s wabi-sabi aesthetic. We invite you to take a look for yourself.

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