I was very sad to find out a couple of weeks ago that the photographer Corinne Day died aged 48 of a brain tumour. Day is best known for discovering Kate Moss aged 15 and taking the pictures that caused the scandal over ‘herion chic’ in the 1990s. I’m too young to remember her work when she first became famous (1992/3) but I can see how her stark, realistic but still somehow completely beautiful asthetic had a huge influence on the editorial and and advertising photography of the period after I started paying attention (post-1996/97).
What I didn’t know was that Day actually pretty much abandoned fashion photography during the mid- and late 1990s, producing instead artistic and documentary work. Actually, documenting her fellow models while working as a model herself was how she first got into photography. She continued to document her life as part of a gang of friends centred around a rock band called Pusherman in Nan-Goldin-style shots, and in 2001 published a the book Diary. This included photos of her taken by her partner when she had a seizure and had to be rushed to hospital, which she asked him to take to take her mind off things apparently. That’s her in the photo right below this paragraph. In one picture she is on a stretcher and looks completely disorientated and just really really ill, and I can’t undertand how anyone would want such a private photo to be public. But then she obviously thought recording the truth of life as it happened was the most important thing.
After her collapse, she was successfully treated and the cancer went into remission in 2000. She left behind the sex and drugs and rock and roll and returned to fashion photography, working for mainly for the various Vogues it seems. The pictures from this period are more conventional, but there is still a definite ‘honest’ theme to her photos. Unfortunately the cancer returned and in the end claimed her life at such a young age.
Sorry if this comes a little late. I was expecting there to be tribute posts all over the place, but I didn’t see one in my reader, so I thought maybe it would be ok to still do it now.
all photos from corinneday.co.uk