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Croatian Covers Interview

2nd May 2013

MI6 Confidential caught up with the creatives behind the stunning Ian Fleming Croatian hardbacks

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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Inspired by the 2008 centenary hardback re-releases - with fresh cover art designed by Michael Gillette - editor and translator Vladimir Sever set in motion plans to translate all of Ian Fleming's 007 adventures into his native Croatian. In an unusual turn of events, the writer was asked to oversee the creative direction of the new, unique cover art with striking photography of 007's girls from Vesper Lynd to Lisl Baum. MI6 Confidential caught up with some of the team behind the fantastic new covers in their latest Art of Bond issue. Now, one of the many photographers to shoot the newest Bond girls, Belizar Valic explains the creative process.

Valic and Sever met through a mutual friend and they soon bonded over their favourite spy. "As a big fans of 007 movies, we ended up talking about the book covers he'd already done. He thought my opinion about them was very interesting and suggested that I should work on one of them in the future," Valic explains. "We waited until we came to 'Diamonds Are Forever', as it was a story where we could include Lana, who happens to be one of our favourite Croatian models."

Right: Vladimir Sever with model Lana Petanic.


Capturing the characters in a single still image proved challenging for the photographer. "Vladimir's idea is to be as close as possible to the character from the book, not the one from the movie. His ideas were pretty concrete I’m a fashion photographer, I had more of a cinematic aesthetic in mind for this shoot." The photo evokes the introduction of Tiffany Case, wherein Bond find the beautiful jewl smuggler at her at her dressing table. The photographer admits he did not read the novel cover to cover, but was familiar with Tiffany: "I knew the movie and the part of the novel that Vladimir insisted on using as a reference, her hotel scene."

Above: Final jacket artwork for Croatian "Diamonds Are Forever"

The photographer explains how they used the back cover to juxtapose the front cover artwork: "We experimented with that back cover a lot, but in the end we came to the conclusion that having her glance over the shoulder is closest to what Tiffany's character is all about!"

Of the way he works, Valic says: "I never take too many pictures. For me it doesn’t make the quality any better. That shoot was actually pretty short. I want my models to be fresh and "there", not tired. Sometimes, it is maybe the 6th or 7th picture where you get what you want." And after the shoot, this photographer avoids drastic "post production", saying, "We did really just what was necessary on those pictures. They are actually pretty natural. Some people from our "digital era" are not fans of that, but here it really works I think."

Discover the complete story of these stunning Croatian covers in MI6 Confidential issue #20, which celebrates the art of Bond.

Many thanks to Belizar Valic and Ben Williams.

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