Now the results from India are ready and will be placed on the website of the project.
Alert and always fervent and loyal blog readers run there to see the stunning and exciting images and texts recently made with senior team members Karine Versluis and Marjolein van Veen and many others in Mumbia, India.
Meanwhile a beautiful publication is being prepared for next month in an exciting Chinese magazine called ZING that covers Shanghai.
In this context Chinese journalist Juan had some good questions as the fervent and loyal blog readers may exclusively read on todays' posting.
Interview by Juan for magazine ZING in Shanghai, China.
When and how did you get the idea of shooting “the most beautiful people in the world”?
It was in the 80’s that I did a project in the Netherlands called “The most beautiful people”.
This was published in magazines and in my book “The first twenty years”.
In 2004 I was living with Jacqueline Duncan in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and she suggested to do this project again but all over the world, slightly adjusted and more sophisticated.
We immediately started right there in Sao Paolo and after 4 years 10 countries have been visited and the project is completed.
When you first took actions, what was in your mind about this theme? What’s your definition of this theme?
Because it is only a simple question, “Are you the most beautiful person in the
world ?”, the answer depends completely of the person who is asked.
This gave me the responsibility to be completely open and without any judgements.
When the people can tell what is beauty, my own opinion becomes completely irrelevant.
Did you have a picture that how this would work and did something surprising happen during the course?
I had no idea what people would answer when asked “Are you the most beautiful person in the world?”.
And this continued during the whole project because each time every person had an explanation of being the most beautiful that was completely unique and original.
Every time I was surprised and impressed.
For most people that participated in the project it was a very important event. They experienced a dramatic self-confrontation and were making a huge step in their own process of personal growth.
This made them very thankful towards the team coming to visit them and often we were invited for dinner, lunch and drinks.
Also, in many cases later participants were sending messages to express their gratitude to explain how important it had been for them.
Why these countries?
Many countries were selected because I happen to have contacts there. People who were willing to help to perform the project.
Other countries, like China and India, had to be in the project because of their worldwide importance.
Are there differences between people’s reactions to the advertisement and the shooting?
No, not really. When asked “Are you the most beautiful person in the world?”, people are confronted with themselves. Hence, they talk or write from their hearts. Worldwide people’s feelings are the same, this project shows. A Chinese person loves his father with the same emotions as someone in Brazil.
We also must remember that only very few people that are asked the question if they are the most beautiful, refer to their physical beauty. That is maybe only 10 %.
90 % immediately talks or writes about their inner beauty and this is a worldwide phenomenon that should make us optimistic and positive.
I read their short presentation about why they think they are the most beautiful, and it’s very interesting and different.
Did the people who response to this project share something in common?
Every of the more than 150 persons documented in the 10 countries has a different and original answer.
But what they all share is the idea that life is about emotions.
To have them in a positive and wonderful way.
When taking photos, did you choose the locations and pose or “the most beautiful people in the world” make their own decisions?
Most of the time I made the decision where the pictures were taken.
This had everything to do with light and visual attractiveness.
The pose of the people was always natural and of themselves.
And what is seen on their face is the result of the interaction with the photographer.
How did you communicate with them?
I speak 5 languages so in many countries I could talk to the participants myself.
In several countries, like China, I had a team of wonderful translators.
Did you talk a lot?
Often we would spend hours with the participant.
Talking about life, love, existentialism, philosophy, religion, etc
Or simply about the more common things of life like work and family.
It were always extraordinary meetings in great warmth and friendship.
In many cases we would meet a second and third time because it felt so good.
How do they like the final result?
You may ask them.
I cannot talk for them…
Is this project still going on?
In March 2008 the last country was visited.
This was India.
Now 10 countries have been participating in the project.
The coming months the results of the project will be marketed to magazines and newspapers worldwide and the production of the book will start.
Can you tell me something about your next plan?
There is a new project that will be as fantastic as “The most beautiful people in the world”.
The subject will be revealed at the appropriate moment.
Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski
Nowy Sanz, Poland.
10 April 2008
To see the new results from India of the project "The most beautiful people in the world" click on: