Stine Heilmann worked as an intern for 5 years with one of Denmark’s most successful advertising photographers, Torsten Graae, who was and still is an expert in light setting and aesthetic motives.
Her final graduation exam as advertising photographer in 1992 won her 3 awards and 4 prizes for best Photography Student that year.
After her exam she went to New York, where she worked for 4 years, assisting Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon and Mary Ellen Mark. The last 2 years of her stay she worked closely as an assistant to Mr. Irving Penn. he was her great inspiration and became her mentor and good friend until his death in 2009.
While working as an assistant she created her own business “Botanic Couture”. The concept was wrapping real shoes in flowers or vegetables and it became hugely popular. An article in American Vogue led to mass assignments making botanic shoes, including the opportunity to create a Calla lily shoe for the First Lady at the time, Mrs. Hillary Clinton.
Stine Heilmann’s photographic documentation of the fresh flower draped shoes dispensed all over the world became her early trademark