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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

R.I.P Corinne Day


L - The Face, 1990.  R - British Vogue, 1993

Channeling Richard Avedon in British Vogue, October 2007

Although I knew that Corinne Day was battling a particularly aggressive brain tumour, it still came as a horrible shock to see that Italian Vogue had confirmed this morning that she died on Saturday.

Corinne Day was a photographic visionary, a woman who was not afraid to tear up the rulebook and invent something new, brave in both her professional and personal outlook.  Although she is widely credited for discovering Kate Moss and popularising heroin chic, she will be remembered more for her photography, which blew away the 80's look of pneumatic, heavily made-up, over coiffed supermodels right out of the water.

Day's early work was clean in many respects, models were freshly scrubbed, colour palettes were monochromatic or kept to a minimum and lines were totally fuss free.  Her autobiographical aspects and knack with portraiture, the subjects often exposing a rawness or vulnerability, makes her comparable to Nan Goldin or Larry Clark.  In truth, her work reminds me of Edgar Degas, who was obsessed with photography and often included aspects of it in his paintings.  Both Degas and Day were masters and innovators of the 'unposed' pose - something that is now widely copied by many photographers.

Before she died Day was in talks with the V&A to show a retrospective of her work.  I sincerely hope that this goes ahead, because it's the kind of tribute that a photographer of her calibre truly deserves.