See the Stunning Work of Model and Photographer Daniella Midenge - Maxim

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Daniella Midenge is a star in front of and behind the lens.
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Self-portrait, Paris, 2013 © 2017 DANIELLA MIDENGE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MIDENGE.COM

Self-portrait, Paris, 2013
© 2017 DANIELLA MIDENGE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MIDENGE.COM

Daniella Midenge is not your typical photographer. She's also not your typical model. In fact, Midenge isn't your typical anything. "I don't believe in titles," explains the striking Swede. "I'm not a photographer or a model. I am a lover of multiple things."

The renaissance woman took an unusual path to the heights of the photography industry. She began as an art restorer and a hair and makeup stylist (a role she still performs at her own shoots) and never imagined a career in photography. "I thought I'd be a painter or a director," she says. "Maybe I still will."

Self-portrait, Petit Ermitage Hotel, L.A., 2017.© 2017 DANIELLA MIDENGE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MIDENGE.COM

Self-portrait, Petit Ermitage Hotel, L.A., 2017.
© 2017 DANIELLA MIDENGE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MIDENGE.COM

Midenge tried modeling as a young woman, but as she points out, "everyone doesn't blossom at 15." It would be years before she went in front of the camera again as a model; instead she built a career behind the lens, as a photographer working for a wide array of clients.

It was a freak occurrence that led to her dual career path of photography and modeling. After a photo shoot, her assistant suggested they take advantage of the studio space and shoot a test. When the magazine client, Elle, saw the photos, and Midenge as the model, they rewarded her with an appearance on their cover.

In an industry dominated by male photographers, Midenge offers a different perspective, and not just that of a woman: She has a unique artistic eye as well. Going into shoots, she says, "there is always an idea, feel, and mood, sense of energy, color direction, theme, or even a set location prepared. But then it unfolds. I don't like to hold onto something just because. In fact, I'm not a big fan of detailed plans at all."

© Sex & Cigarettes by Daniella Midenge, published by teNeues ($75); teneues.com

© Sex & Cigarettes by Daniella Midenge, published by teNeues ($75); teneues.com

Fashion is an industry that still seems to prefer women to be in front of the camera. Midenge is part of a generation working to change that, but she doesn't expect any favors. "Women and men should be where their talent lives. I wouldn't encourage a female assistant more than a male if he has got what it takes."

She adds, "I don’t know why it has been a male-dominated job…But I see a lot of great female photographers taking over, and it's a delight to be a part of it."

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