Sunday, 15 December 2013
Saturday, 14 December 2013
Typology (Work in Progress)
This is one of the approaches we cover and teach you about.
Friday, 13 December 2013
This is probably the best photography website ever...
www.americansuburbx.com check out the 2 tabs at the top 'Artists' and 'Browse'.
Dazed & Confused on-line presence?
Learning resource for higher order thinking skills (Generic)
This is a useful link to a blog compiled by a lecturer at a college in the UK
Sean O'Hagan at the Guardian
Massive list of Photographers searchable by theme/subject/content especially useful for students.
Monday, 9 December 2013
No it hasn't, it's just been updated and improved just click the link below...
If you've been re-directed here via a link in your assignment click on the link above. Once you're there use
CTRL + F to find the name of the photographer you were interested in. Once you've found the photographer, there should be another link to a high quality resource for your research.
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Mixed Media - Victor Sloane, Peter Beard,
Subjective v Objective
Pop Art - Julian Opie, Andy Warhol
Expressionism - Ernst Haas, Alfred Stieglitz (Equivalents),
Voyeuristic - Merry Alpern, 2,
Deadpan - Tereza Vlckova Thomas Ruff, The Bechers,
Typology - Bernd & Hiller Becher, Jeffrey Millstein,
Pinhole - Barbra Ess, Gina Glover,
Tilt Shift - Slinkachu
Liquid Emulsion - somebloke
Cyanotype - Anna Atkins, Wig Sayell,
Repetition Andy Warhol,
Degrading & Damaging - Ed Burtynsky (Chittagong Polaroids), Sally Mann
35mm & Darkroom techniques -
Joiners - David Hockney
Images & Text - Peter Beard
Found images -
Comic Book - Sin City, Ah Ha (Stand by me video).
Colour - Evzen Sobek a life in Blue
For more check out the list of photographers - CTRL + F and search "experimental" http://www.listofphotographers.blogspot.com/
Monday, 18 November 2013
The reason we recommend you write up your work in this way is simply because it steers you to produce written content that meets the assessment criteria. Almost all photography courses will require written evidence that supports your practical work. Using the six prompts within the Gibbs Reflective Cycle brings structure to your work flow whilst at the same guiding you to write the type of content that meets the assessment criteria.
When should you use it?
Daily! Or if the situation suits it - more frequently; generally though, you reflect on your day’s activities and learning, so if you’ve been at college you’ll reflect on what you’ve done that day. If you’re working outside of college you reflect on those activities, the same as you would at college.
Are there any exceptions?
At the moment we’re advising that you don’t use the daily reflection approach during your research at the start of the projects. Focus on all aspects of your research ensuring that you get the main part completed in the first week or two. Once you’ve then completed the research, then reflect on your research making sense of it and finishing it off with an Action Plan which will normally include or form your proposal.
Here's some guidance regarding using the studio.
Equipment - The list here is broken up into 2 sections the first part is a minimal approach and the second section is my recommended full list and the third section is for 'Hardcore' serious students that are seriously interested in learning Studio lighting techniques.
- Hot shoe adapter
- Sync lead x 2
- Sekonic L308 light meter
- Tripod adapter
- Lens with focal length of 55mm or longer
- Lens Hood
- Separate Slave (Wein)
- Extension cable (Sync)
- Extension cable (electric)
- Gaffer/Duct tape
- Masking tape
- Market Clips
- Modelling knife/scalpel
- Tool box - Pliers, wire, screws, blue tac, string, fishing wire, a range of tapes, long nose pliers, nails, bulldog clips, crocodile clips, pegs, drawing pins,
Work in Progress Sekonic L308 flash/light meter.
The basic principle is - you measure the light that is falling onto the subject. This is the "primary" light source, you may introduce additional lights at different stages and the light readings will become more complex. So, in the first instance use one light and take a reading for that scenario.
Hold the light meter close to a key element of the subject. In the example above, it's a portrait, so the light reading is primarily for the face. Therefore hold the light meter almost touching the face (if not actually touching the face) and press the trigger button on the side of the meter at the top. This will trigger the flash and the light meter will register a light reading in the LCD panel next to the F (Largest number in the display). This will be the light reading measured in aperture values F2, F2.8, F4, F5.6, F8, F16 etc.
At this point you make a decision as to what aperture you want to use. Do you want limited minimal depth of field or maximum depth of field? Normally with a portrait, you want as much of the person in focus, so you would normally opt for an aperture of F8 or F11. These are also normally selected because your lens works best at these settings.
Get your assistant now to make the adjustments to the power output of the flash head, whilst you make the light readings.
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Using Liquid Emulsion (Paper Prep)
Initially you'll be introduced to this at a basic level - you'll be instructed to pre-prepare a number of different supports giving the impression that they are degraded/old. You may have already done this before at school, normally in conjunction with making a pirate map...
Get together a number of different types of supports for experimental reasons, make a note of the papers and where you sourced them from - mark the back of the paper with letters maybe and keep a record in your work-book/folders e.g...
a. Cartridge paper from sketchbook.
b. Bockingford water-colour paper.
c. Photo-copy paper.
*Note, it would probably be a good idea to put your name clearly on the back of the paper in a corner at this stage too.
Then at home or in college, prep the paper. Get a large dish and a number of tea bags, run hot water over the tea bags and or use stewed tea from a tea-pot and soak the paper in the tray. If you do several at the same time move them from the top to the bottom so those that are in the centre get a good soaking too.
When you've soaked the paper, screw it up and fold it as you get it ready to dry, as this'll add character and realism to the paper. Then place the paper somewhere where it can dry.
Health & Safety warning.
This next stage is potentially dangerous and if you're a student you're advised to seek adult guidance when working on this next stage... Once you've treated the paper with one of the afore-mentioned liquids and it's been allowed to dry, the paper can be placed in an oven or beneath a grill on a very low setting so that the paper is heated and singed a little. Before the paper starts to singe, the liquids you've splattered/dripped on the paper should go dark brown, leaving some nice marks that make the paper look even more convincing as aged paper. The other thing that you can do is tear round the edges so that the paper is an irregular rectangle. This is optional.
Unibond (PVA Glue)
To massively increase the chance of your paper working first time, mix Unibond (PVA Glue) at a ratio of 1:4 (1 part PVA, 4 parts glue) and apply this to all of your papers. Allow this to dry fully before applying the liquid emulsion. What this does is seal the paper, the papers you've chosen will all have differing levels of absorbency and if the liquid emulsion is applied direct, the paper will absorb a great deal of the liquid emulsion diminishing its performance.
Once dried you should now have a handful of supports onto which you can apply your liquid emulsion.
Applying and Drying the paper.
As far as I'm aware all or most of the liquid emulsions solidify and become jelly-like under normal room or refrigerated conditions and prior to using them you need to warm the bottles up so that they chemical becomes a fluid again. I simply place the whole bottle in a large graduate (Measuring cylinder) full of hot water and leave it for 10 or 15 minutes.
While that's warming up, I take another graduate and two developing dishes, one of which is a 10"x8" and the other a 7"x5" into the darkroom. On a table set up in the darkroom specially for coating up the paper, I place the larger dish on the table and pour some hot water into the tray. The smaller tray sits in the larger tray resting at one end on something that raises one end up. Once under red light conditions the liquid emulsion is then poured into the smaller tray so that it collects at the warmer end that's partially submerged in to hot water. This keeps the liquid soluble and prevents it from solidifying and returning to its jelly state.
Using a Jaiban brush the pre-prepared paper is then treated with the liquid emulsion. I tend to use two light coats and try and leave an impression of the brush strokes at the top and bottom of the paper. This stage and the effect is something you learn through trial and error and it may take you a couple of attempts before you have a sense of how you like to treat the paper in your style.
Drying the prepped paper
Once the paper is coated, it then has to be dried and stored in a light-proof bag. At our college this is probably the most difficult stage as it takes a good hour or more to get the paper dried to the point where it can be bagged up. You need to liaise with the technician and the lecturers to establish a good time to get in the darkrooms and prep your paper and more importantly dry it without someone turning the lights on!
In one of the Darkrooms you may have noticed there's a piece of string above the enlarger bays, this is there to hang your prepped paper from, using pegs. I would advise that you bring in your own pegs. Speak to the technician and ask him/her if you can have a large fan or a air-con unit to circulate the air in the darkroom, once you're ready, they should come in with the fan and turn it on blowing air around the room. This is a far quicker technique and in some cases, your paper will be dried and ready to bag up in 20 minutes or so.
The paper needs to be completely dry otherwise it'll stick to the next piece of paper when bagged up. Make sure you have two light-proof black bags and double bag the treated and dry paper. I would then put it somewhere dark like a box or cupboard. If your paper is very buckled and un-even at this point maybe consider putting it beneath something very heavy to flatten it.
Printing is done in exactly the same way as you would with normal photo-paper, test strips etc. The only added time might be at the fixing stage 5 minutes and washing might be good for 6 minutes. The only other factor you need to consider at the processing stage is that some of the papers because they are so fibrous may tear very easily. It's advised to make your prints fairly small to combat this eventuality - "7 x "5. The larger the prints are, the more difficult it is to handle the paper without it disintegrating as it's moved from one tray to the next at the processing stage.
Drying the prints
You guessed it, this bits not easy either! This is a lot more difficult than the drying stage in the darkroom (In different ways). One thing you cannot do is dry the paper using a method that puts the paper in direct contact with metal, so metal drying cabinets with metal racks are of no use to you, your drying rack needs to be a wooden one like the ones we use in the prep room.
There are a number of approaches at this stage and things can go wrong, so you need to watch your paper and monitor it at the initial stages. The main thing you need to do is get the excess moisture out off the paper.
(1). Carefully put the paper on a window, place it vertically on the glass, the fact that it is wet will mean that it'll stick. The excess water will then drip off the print and you can move the paper from one place to another and each time you do so, some of the excess is left on the glass (Clean this as you go - so that the window is left clean).
(2). Get together sufficient sheets of paper A3 copy paper for instance, and lay the prints out flat on the paper, so that the paper absorbs the excess water. With this technique you need to move the prints every now and then otherwise they fuse together (Stick) to the paper beneath.
Once the paper is relatively dry and less likely to fall apart and tear, it can then be put in the drying cabinet on a low heat to dry either hanging up using pegs/clips or lying flat in the wooden racks.
At this stage the paper when it dries, tends to screw up badly and may need ironing/flattening out at home.
That's how you do it, the more you do it and the more you experiment the better you'll get at it, as with all things photographic. It is tricky and it is a palava, but if you persevere with it, it produces unique images that are beautiful and allows you as an A-Level photography student to identify experimentation at a very high level and the fact that it will take a couple or more stages to get it right identifies 'Development'. Record what you do and how you do it, using images and a diary approach to identify the 'Recording' aspect of your work.
If it's gone wrong...
Don't worry, in photography and especially with A-Levels a degree of experimentation that doesn't yield results is good, it allows for development of practice and skills. If it has gone wrong it'll probably be due to the choice of paper
If you read this all the way through before under-taking the project this bit is going to be helpful. Not all papers work that well with these techniques and you have to go through a process of experimentation/trial and error before arriving at a point where you know what papers do actually produce consistent and reasonable results. Two that do work are... Mount board card; which is thick, but despite this, works really well. The other is Colorama background roll, used in photographic studios. If treated with Unibond before applying the liquid emulsion these are almost guaranteed to produce good quality results.
Another thing you can do to massively improve your chances with all papers is to treat the paper before coating it with the liquid emulsion is to coat it with Unibond/PVA glue this seals the paper and means that far less of the liquid emulsion is absorbed into the support and works better as a light responsive emulsion.
If you don't like the degraded paper approach, try it on the paper without staining it?
If you need to see work that is produced by contemporary photographers using liquid emulsion and other experimental approaches check out http://listofphotographers.blogspot.co.uk/ and search using CRTL F and then typing in 'Liquid emulsion'.
Sunday, 10 November 2013
Work in progress
Unit 4: Introduction to materials, processes and technical skills
Unit 5: An integrated approach to 2D problem solving
In essence this work has 3 key components to it...
(1). The Research section that needs to be completed within the first 2 weeks.
(2). The workshop component (Experimental techniques) which is on-going throughout the duration of the project.
(3). Your own personal project, that must connect to your research and be developed, improved and refined over 3 or 4 stages, culminating in the production of 4 final high quality images that incorporate one of the experimental techniques that you've worked with in the workshops.
Section 1 - Research
Your ability to record relevant data/information
" " summarise information
" " synthesise information
" " make observations relevant to your intentions
It's also a skill you'll need to take forwards into employment and university, so, if you can come to grips with it now and develop the basic skills at this level it'll set you up for the future. The university point is especially relevant because when you go for your interview at Uni with your portfolio, they'll be looking at your work to see if you've engaged with this aspect of the course. Your research will be reflected in the kind of final outcomes you produce, so if you've accessed diverse and good quality research material and your work is obviously inspired by a range of different approaches and not simply Flickr, it will demonstrate a deeper understanding of what photography is and its potential. It'll allow the interview panel to ask questions such as 'Who is this work inspired by'? And you'll be able to come up with a coherent answer that'll show them your time on your A-Level was spent studying.
The most obvious way of using research is by direct association with the theme. Again using the idea your project is about dogs as an example, you should search through journals and books constantly always keeping an eye out for images or articles on dogs for possible use in conjunction with your work. If that's not an option or you've done that and drawn a blank, you might then search my list of photographers and found a few photographers that use dogs as a theme within their work. That's a direct approach and for the most part that should give you enough info to work with, but there is another way that might be useful, especially if you're photographing a theme that is obscure.
Indirect association research...
Keeping with the dog theme... you might have found some direct research either from my list or better still from a journal that you've decided to use. But, because you were using journals you also accessed so much more photography by the process or perusing the magazines and journals and in between looking for the dogs a number of other photographers caught your eye simply because of the way their images looked. For instance you may have seen the work of Don McCullin...
This is the first prompt of the Gibbs Reflective Cycle and you should use each of the prompts in your blog to break your written work up into clearly defined sections.
Normally this doesn't have to be a long section, because you're simply describing what you've done, don't start to write up why you've done things or any detail beyond a simple description. Keep this short and concise, unless of course you've done a lot of things...
(1) What Happened?
Saturday 31st. It’s been pretty much a day of reconnaissance, research and preparation. I’ve been out and priced up a lot of the stuff that I’ll need and I’ve found where I can get my prints made cheaply. I’ve done two shoots and done some short term analysis that then led me to conduct the 2nd shoot and develop the work further. I’ve already placed an order for the 1st batch of prints.
This is the second prompt and this similarly to the first, is usually a short and concise entry. In this one you're just writing about how you feel and you use terminology that relates to your feelings... Confident, stressed, worried, concerned, inundated, not coping, on top of it, cruising. It's also a good vehicle to highlight some of these concerns, because your lecturers may pick up on them and react to them once read.
(2) How do I feel?
At the moment the good stuff out-ways the bad stuff, the lessons are all coming together nicely and I feel like I’m learning at a rate that I can keep up with. This lesson in particular was really useful and has made me realise a few things about the light in my flat where I am going to do my location shoot. I also think now if I look at photographs and paintings I’m going to be able to analyse the light at least in terms of where its coming from and whether it is point or diffuse light.
Bad stuff, is primarily down to me being lazy. The work from the last three weeks wasn’t written up like this and I’ve still yet to use my camera outside of college and I really do need to try it out at my flat. I’ve not been printing off the images from the lesson and these images here are the first to have gone in my book, so I need to catch up.
(4) Analysis - (The details)
This is possibly the most important section where you demonstrate your knowledge and make connections between your research and your own work. You need to question what you're doing and look at how things may be done differently in order to affect improvements within your work. One of the methods I recommend is to build in the frequent use of the question What if?
You should use your own images on the blog and analyse them in terms of their visual language content, describe the changes and improvements from the previous shoots, compare and contrast the images.
Continually refer to the connections between your research and your work, explain what aspects you're borrowing and being influenced by, how and why they work in your images?
Use this section to describe the use of your camera, analyse the use of it... What if? Maybe if the camera was used in another way or even a completely different camera, how might this force improvements?
Analyse the light for definite! You're a photographer, light is your main tool, light is what helps to tell the story, defines your own style.
Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it.
Friday, 8 November 2013
If you're looking for a simple intro to the work of Corrine Day have a look at this book here especially if you're a student studying Photography at Level 3
Primarily I'm looking to establish that Corrine Day is up there with David Bailey as one of the most influential fashion photographers ever. One of the other things I'm trying to establish is what equipment she uses. As a reader of the Face magazine prior to its demise, I have this vague recollection of some information that she used compact cameras for some of her shots, but as yet I can't quantify this. At the time of writing Nov 2013, I've established that for her later commissioned work she used Hasselblads and for a lot of the documentary work she used a Pentax 35mm camera. This is evident from the image below (Contact sheet). The image below that shows a set-up image which initially looks as though it's the photographer caught in the image, but it's not the angle is completely wrong and you can see from the way the bloke is holding the camera and therefore not Corrine Day, it's not a photographer at all. But, the question begs - whose camera is it and is one that Day had at the location/in her 'Kit Bag'?
I've contacted one of her assistants who worked with her on some of her shoots and asked him if he ever spoke to her about the way that work was made. I'm still waiting to hear back from him.
1st Oct 2014- I didn't get a response but have added this today...
Check the link and have a read of the text - it's one of the better accounts alluding to how influential Corrine Days work is.
Source - http://katiesmithcmp.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/corinne_day_press_371.jpg
Some of her work is being exhibited at the moment and I'm hoping to go and have a look.
Included are texts by Charlotte Cotton & Glenn O'Brien
Cover fonts are desgined by Pablo Ferro
Tara St Hill: My boyfriend met her at Tooting Bec Lido. She wanted to shoot him. I wasn’t keen initially! But when I discovered she’d worked for The Face I relented. We went to her flat in
TSH: I was working as a runner on The Word, nothing serious. Corinne and I started shopping together and I started making stuff for shoots. Mark (Szaszy, Day’s boyfriend) suggested I should become a stylist. It was exciting times, Oasis was happening, Mark had shot their video, which I worked on. We discovered Ray-Gun magazine, who were great, they gave us absolute freedom. Her work was so fresh. She was my best friend.
TSH: Very. Some days we just had to leave it, it was too emotional. I don’t think either of us could have done it on our own. It felt like a gift. But doing this book was an opportunity to show it wasn’t all darkness, there was lots of light and laughter, too. I wanted to show the whole picture. She edited her work to only show the dark, I wanted to show it all.
TSH: I think so. She was attracted to the dark side but also very cautious. Some people are natural caners but she always held back. She was never really into drugs although she was around people who used a lot of drugs.
TSH: No. They just needed a reason to be in there. To be less like someone’s personal story and more like a documentary. People want to see her work. We had to think ‘what would Corinne have done’? My gauge was, would she have published it? I had to fight for some images – like the one of the little girl on the floor. The publishers were against including it but I remember Corinne always had that image in her flat, she loved it and it was one that very important to her. I hope the book comes across as one that was made by people who loved each other – not overly personal in a cheesy way.
TSH: Never felt like you were ‘on camera’, it was just Corinne. I mean, if I felt she was annoying me shooting, I’d tell her to stop. But it never really felt intrusive, never felt like she was getting in your way. When we edited, it was strange to see the evening unfold in the pictures. She loved the fleeting moment. She’d spend hours getting the shot. So patient. She’d sit there and sit there and sit there! We tried to show that in the book – the 6 – 7 shots that led to THE SHOT. I wanted people to see the process.
TSH: We shot Kate for her first book. Kate’s a big girl. I remember the first time I met Kate. Corinne was a funny one. The flat in
TSH: Her work doesn’t need words – it just stands on its own. Five words for Corinne would be Really Loving, Loyal, Passionate, Meticulous and Fun. She was fun, different. She was a really good friend. I have moments where I think we’ll never go shopping again or on holiday. Often think how I’d love to call her up right now. When she died she left such a huge hole. Also workwise. I’ve not found anyone to replace her in my work. We bounced off each other. We were really lucky like that.
TSH: She’d still be working, shooting, making books. She’d never have stopped. It was something she needed to do. She needed the world to see the beauty in the little details.
'I'm a photography junkie'
In 1996, the photographer Corinne Day collapsed in her apartment in
And so it is, in her new book Diary, that you can see Day lying in a bed in Belvue hospital looking frightened and confused seconds after being told she had a brain tumour. You can see the needle being pushed into her forehead just before the operation to remove it, and you see her looking terrified in the lift going down to the theatre. These pictures were taken by her boyfriend of 13 years, Mark Szaszy, who says it was hard to do because his hands were shaking with emotion. 'But I knew if I did it, it would take her mind off what was happening.'
Diary consists of 100 photographs taken over a 10-year period, a raw, unflinching look at the lives of Day and her friends. It's a high-quality art book, beautifully presented, but most of the images make uncomfortable viewing. Some are painfully intimate, some unbearably sad, many focusing around Tara St Hill, a single mother in her early twenties, struggling to bring up her baby daughter with little money and the pain of Crohn's Disease.
Nothing is taboo, too private to show in this book. There's a picture of Day pretending to masturbate. Another shows her bloody knickers. We see Day and her friends taking drugs, having parties, in the bath, injured after accidents and fights. We see Tara pregnant, Tara crying, Tara having sex,
Corrine Day has always been unconventional. She was bought up by her nan in the
'Too busy being naughty' to learn much at school, she earned a meagre living afterwards flying round the world as a courier. A photographer she met on a plane suggested she take up modelling, and although she was considered short at 5ft 6in, she did a lot of catalogue work, living in Japan for a while - where she met Mark Szaszy - and then in LA. It was the mid-Eighties, when glamour was compulsory, but Day's face didn't take the required layers of make-up too well.
'I don't have great cheekbones, or huge lips to pile lipstick on - it didn't suit me. I wasn't really a conventional beauty, I was quite plain-looking for a model. When I first saw Christy Turlington, all my hopes of ever getting on the cover of Vogue were gone. So I just made the best of it, and enjoyed it - I loved the travelling. We went to
Her subjects were other struggling models, photographed in their own clothes in the seedy hostels where they lived. 'I started to realise that it was ambiguous, the life. Even though you're surrounded by all this glamour, there was a lot of sadness. We couldn't buy the clothes that we were photographed in, couldn't afford to go out and do the things we would have liked to do as teenagers.'
She took her work to The Face's art director Phil Bicker, who was opening up the magazine to a new generation of young, innovative talent at the end of the Eighties. Bicker asked her to shoot some fashion pictures, but having been away from
'She was a beauty, but there was also something quite ordinary about her: her hair was a bit scraggy, and with no make-up she just looked like the girl next door. I encouraged her to be natural. I'd chat to her and then take the pictures in the middle of the conversation. I was trying to get the person to just bring themselves to the camera.'
Bicker made Kate Moss the face of The Face, and Day's best images of her summed up the mood of British youth after the rave explosion. But Moss and her agency weren't always happy with the pictures. Moss got teased at school for exposing her flat chest in one classic 1990 shoot, and the agency worried that the photographer deliberately left in imperfections like bags under the eyes that others would have retouched. But for Day, this was the point. 'It was something I just felt so deep inside, being a model and hating the way I was made up. The photographer always made me into someone I wasn't. I wanted to go in the opposite direction.'
Working with stylist Melanie Ward, Day and a handful of other photographers such as David Sims began using second-hand clothes and ungroomed, unconventional-looking models discovered in the street. The look they pioneered began to take off, christened 'waif' at first, then merging seamlessly with the
But Day was ambivalent about her growing success. She photographed the couture collections for Vogue, but hated it. She did a shoot with Linda Evangelista, and found it pointless. 'She just didn't excite me. Photographing someone you don't know and never plan to see again is so impersonal. The photograph means nothing. When Kate and I did our first Vogue cover, that was exciting.'
As the look was assimilated into the mainstream, so were the group who created it. Kate Moss signed to Calvin Klein. Melanie Ward moved to
By 1993, she had alienated almost everyone she worked with - although she would probably say that they all let her down. She shot a sad-looking Kate Moss for Vogue wearing cheap undies, baggy tights and no make-up. Published during the summer lull when all news is gratefully pounced upon by the media, the story provoked outrage, with claims that it was promoting anorexia, drugs, even paedophilia. It was the end of her relationship with Vogue, and, for a while, with Moss.
Corinne Day met Tara St Hill in 1991 and began photographing her and her boyfriend. By 1993, they were all involved with a dark, heavy British rock band called Pusherman, and as Day's fashion family fell apart, she replaced it instead with this new gang of friends. Everyone partied and took drugs - cannabis, ketamine, heroin - although Day says she never developed a habit. 'I never liked heroin that much. It's a very overrated drug.'
The pictures she took over the next four years form the basis of Diary, and publishing them seems to have freed her to move on. Day and Szaszy haven't done drugs for over a year. He's making a documentary about her work. She's starting to take fashion pictures again. She did a shoot for Vogue recently, working with Kate Moss for the first time in seven years. It was fun, she says, like no time had passed at all. She's shooting for the magazines now, not for herself.
'My attitude is more businesslike, not so aggressive. I'm keeping within the boundaries. It's interesting - I've actually come to a point in my life where I want to make money.' She laughs. 'I've realised that it can be quite useful.'
She and Szaszy want a dog now. A house with a garden, possibly in LA. And then maybe children. The last shot in Diary shows a beautiful, palm-fringed beach littered with tin cans. It's a metaphor, she says, for the whole book. If there's a message she wants the viewer to take away, it is that life can be beautiful, and yet it's also fragile, and we often trash it. 'We don't realise how precious it is.'
• Corinne Day's work is on show at the Photographer's Gallery in
I think we models have a very different view of her – a lot of people have said she was stubborn and difficult to work with and I was really surprised because I never noticed that at all. It might be because she liked to shoot girls the way they were, to capture the person.
I met her on 18 December 1999 when I was 19 and I didn't want to be a model any more because I felt the industry was really harsh, they just saw you like a doll and wanted to dress you up. And the first shoot I did with her was in her flat in Soho, the stylist turned up with the clothes in a binbag and it took about 10 minutes and then we went to the pub – I wasn't used to that. She was so quick when she shot because she knew what she wanted. She was really relaxed about it, she wouldn't really give directions she would just say, 'Go and stand there, that looks beautiful' – and then start shooting.
I used to have really bad acne when I started modelling and she told me, 'I like your spots, it's you'. She saw beauty in people's flaws – she really saw the natural side of people. Most models were bullied at school, we were mostly really skinny and it's not cool to be skinny, back then it was the ugliest thing you could be. So you're really unpopular at school and then all of a sudden you're a bit popular and guys are coming up to you but you still have this anxious thing about your looks.
A lot of the early jobs I did used a lot of makeup and clothes and were quite sexy – but Corinne saw beauty in natural girls. The first pictures she did of me in i-D you can actually see my acne in the pictures. She made me realise it's OK to be me, she gave me a whole different way of seeing the whole business. She is the reason I kept on doing it and I'm so thankful to her. She liked me and kept on booking me over and over again.
She was so respectful, she had a small voice and she was really calm and gentle, she was never harsh with models and never gave you a hard time. I've seen her in arguments with stylists when she'd say, 'I want her in own clothes', and the stylist would say the models have to wear Prada but she'd say no. She shot me in my own clothes so many times – it's not the ideal business for the magazines, but she wanted me as I was.
I've started to take pictures myself now. She's been such an inspiration in not having any fear whatsoever and seeing the person, taking pictures of the actual person – not trying to dress them up as something they're not, not being so obsessed with classical beauty.
More tributes to Corinne Day
Sandy Nairne, curator
"When I commissioned a portrait from Corinne Day for the National Portrait Gallery I wondered if she might tackle someone from a different world – a politician, philosopher or sportsperson – but she wanted to do Kate Moss in a different way. She then produced this brilliant, intimate, multi-part portrait of Kate at home, only possible because of their long and close relationship."
Mario Testino, photographer
"The first time I saw Kate Moss was in a picture by Corinne Day. She was a little girl in all her innocence, laughing away. I bought this image in a charity auction and it has lived with me ever since. Corinne brought a fresh approach to the fashion business. It was daring and gutsy – and effective. It caught your eye and made you feel it was OK to be honest. She, like few others, took fashion photography to new heights.
Jefferson Hack, magazine editor
"One of our first offices for Dazed and Confused was in
"It would have been impossible to be a photographer in the last 20 years and not be touched or influenced by Corinne Day's images. She was an artist of true vision and integrity. From her first shots of Kate Moss for the Face magazine through to her amazing book and the work for Vogue recently, her photographs were challenging, beautiful and inspirational. Her death is a sad loss to the world of image-making, and art as a whole."
Corinne Day, who died last August, will be remembered for transforming fashion with her pictures of the young Kate Moss for the Face.
The photographs in this small exhibition, not featuring that cover shot but mainly culled from two 1991 Face fashion stories, recapture that feeling of optimism: of a coming generation deciding to do things their way. Instead of the imperious busty glamazon you'd find in an 80s fashion shoot, you have Moss.
With lank hair, no make-up and wearing what look at this 20-year distance to be charity shop finds (scuffed boots, tatty jumpers), she's beautiful but fresh and real: recognisably a girl from Croydon. In a series of pictures taken in Borneo, she seems barely older than the local kids. One shot sees her leading a grinning young boy whose face is surrounded by the petals of a giant paper flower, like Barry Mooncult, dancer with early 90s band Flowered Up . In another, she's posed in a tropical location, but wearing a floppy hat and clutching a bottle of beer, more Club 18-30 than Condé Nast Travel.
Day's pictures junk the materialistic trappings of the 80s. Instead of glossy aspiration, she celebrates the ordinary – cracks in the wall, Rizlas on the floor, the grotty carpets immediately recognisable to anyone who's ever lived in rented accommodation. Out go big hair and shoulder pads: in come drainpipe jeans and secondhand shirts (not yet described as "vintage"). A picture of a young man lying topless by a lake as the sun goes down foregrounds the litter, gravel and muddy patches that earlier fashion photographers would have been at pains to remove.
Moss has been so omnipresent over the years that looking at old pictures of her is inevitably a nostalgic experience. A series of 2007 close-ups allows us to compare then and now, although she seems to have escaped with only a few wrinkles in these passport-photo-like shots. (A Juergen Teller shoot in Self Service magazine last year was far more brutal.) The real novelty is seeing close-ups of her talking, since she utters so few words in public.
While Day's aesthetic – of finding beauty in the mundane – soon became commodified by brands such as Calvin Klein, these pictures still have a tangible idealism which is bittersweet in hindsight. Their mood is summed up in the slogan of a brooch Moss is wearing in a couple of pictures. It reads "Heaven is real".
This is from Day's own website - and includes shed loads of classic lines about the shock aspect of the images.
It was never comfortable to look at the photographs taken by Corinne Day, who has died aged 48 from a brain tumour. Her documentary work was plain, and plaintive. Her fashion shots, even her recent, formally glamorous sequences for Vogue, have a sense that the girls, the gowns, the gorgeous locations are transient, and likely fake anyway. And the promise that Day had perceived in a Polaroid image of a 14-year-old aspirant model – Kate Moss – was her potential for wistfulness. "In photos," Day said, "we're usually laughing and happy and having a good time. We don't normally see the other side, when we're not having such a good time." It was always visible through Day's lens.
Day told interviewers that her "nan" had brought her up – her portrait of her grandmother shows tough tenderness – in Ickenham, west London. She claimed her mother had run a brothel, hence, perhaps, Day's unimpressed attitude towards sex, while her tearaway father had become respectable and successfully pursued serious money, but was distant from her emotionally.
Day's first job after her failed schooldays was as a courier, catching planes around the world as casually as buses, surviving on snacks squirrelled away from inflight meals. She became a model because a photographer on a flight suggested it, but knew she was not a cover girl diva: melancholy already muted her face. Still, it was a better living – appearing in adverts in the US and Australia, and catalogues in Japan. There she met her lifetime partner Mark Szaszy, who taught her how to use his camera, which she did while modelling in Milan.
She shot what she knew: kids who wore couture on the catwalk and for the camera, but who dressed in old tat, dossed in cheap rooms and "couldn't afford to go out and do the things we would have liked to do". Fashion employed progressively younger models from the early 1960s, and by the late 80s 16-year-olds were commonplace: the sad contrast intensified between their reality and the affluent arrogance they were paid to project. Day knew her pictures were original, and Phil Bicker, the art director of The Face, recognised that her teen strays suited his magazine, and commissioned a fashion shoot. Day went round the London agencies looking for a model who reflected her images from Milan, and found her in a snap of a scraggy-haired Croydon schoolgirl, Moss.
Their first great success, the Face cover sequence The 3rd Summer of Love, was published in July 1990, with Moss, barely 16, in bits of quality ready-to-wear and Portobello market finds – and, in the two most famed images, nothing but headgear, despite the chill of Camber Sands, in East Sussex, where the shoot took place. Moss's half-combative, half-pathetic attitudes are suffused with laughter. Moss's agency, though, disliked Day's refusal to retouch the pictures. As a model, she explained, she had hated being made "into someone I wasn't. I wanted to go in the opposite direction." (She was protective enough of Moss to share a flat with her for three years.)
With the stylist Melanie Ward, Day took the aesthetic further, wrapping shaggy, sometimes druggy, youngsters dragged off the street in mismatched vintage clothes: this became the "waif look", the visual equivalent of Seattle's grunge music. Day shot Moss almost unadorned for a Vogue cover in 1993, did collections for the magazine and supermodel sittings – at first this was an ambition achieved, but she later said: "They're stale, just about sex and glamour, when there are other elements of beauty." However, she felt no thrill, not even a rebel's excitement at the outraged response to her heroin chic Underexposed Vogue sequence, with Moss in saggy tights, looking as if she were in rehab. By then, many of Day's London friends really were in rehab, or should have been. In 1991, she had taken up with a group based around a heavy rock band, Pusherman. They were into cannabis, ketamine and heroin (although Day did not always join them; drugs clouded the camera vision she valued – she was "a photography junkie" ); they were badly off in that recessionary era.
For almost a decade, Day, influenc- ed by the documentary art of Nan Goldin, photographed their messy lives, particularly that of Tara St Hill, an impoverished, sick, single mother, shown in sex and pregnancy, in tears and tinsel, and at parties, or wasted in her Stoke Newington squat: "What I found interesting was to capture people's most intimate moments. And sometimes intimacy is sad."
Day was included in the imagery – "the camera becomes a part of your life". When she collapsed in New York in 1996, she told Szaszy, who had called the medics, not to forget her camera as he joined her in the ambulance to Bellevue hospital. His hands shook as he took the shots she requested – of her in a bed just after being told she had a brain tumour, in a lift on the way to the operating theatre for its removal – yet she felt having those moments pictured gave her control. A hundred of these images were collected in Diary, published in 2001 and much admired for its hard, but never cruel, candour.
She and Szaszy left drugs behind, and she made a pact with fashion and its finance, mellowing her visuals, even working with Moss again for Vogue. Later she accepted a National Portrait Gallery commission for a sequence of nine close-ups of Moss. Just as on Camber Sands, they chatted, so that Day could capture Moss's animation.
Day's photographs, fashion and not, were exhibited at the Victoria & Albert, Science and Design museums, Tate Modern, the Saatchi Gallery, and the Photographers' Gallery, and Szaszy spent a devoted decade making a documentary of her at work, which was shown on BBC Four in 2004.
Her tumour returned two years ago. To pay for specialised chemotherapy in a clinic in Arizona, her friends raised more than £100,000 through a Save the Day campaign, by selling limited-edition photographic prints, including a set featuring Moss, some signed by the model. Day completed the treatment last year, but it did not arrest the disease.
She is survived by Szaszy.
• Corinne Day, photographer, born 19 February 1962; died 27 August 2010