Volt Café: How did you first meet Corinne Day?
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 Brewer Street. She was wearing this epic long denim skirt, cap sleeved tee and battered adidas. I just knew I had to get a skirt like it! We really hit it off and she did several shoots with my boyfriend.
VC: What did you do for a living at the time?
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.
VC: Was it very difficult to edit the images for the book with Mark?
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.
VC: Would you say she was attracted to the dark side? That in a way, that was considered more ‘interesting’ to an audience?
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.
VC: Were any pictures excluded because they were too personal?
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.
VC: The images she took of you and the people around you look so effortless, so uncontrived. How aware were you of her shooting?
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.
VC: Were you conscious of her fame and her working relationship and friendship with Kate Moss?
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 Brewer Street was such a communal point, you’d be sitting on her sofa smoking a spliff and Jason Donovan would be dropping by to return a video he’d borrowed.
VC: Five words to sum up Corinne?
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.
VC: What do you think Corinne would have been like as a pensioner?
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.
For those keen to reacquaint themselves Day’s work, the current exhibition at Gimpel Fils May the Circle Remain Unbroken shows the people that Day’s work brought together and the friendships that formed over 20 years ago and continue to endure three years after her passing. It also illuminates Day’s pioneering approach to photography where the boundaries are blurred to the extent that it is impossible to dissect the constructed from real. Day and long term partner Mark Szaszy’s Brewer Street flat often doubled as a set where friends, models and muses all overlapped. In addition to the photographs, a series of music videos by Szaszy will be screened bringing to life the protagonists in Day’s work.
Accompanying the exhibition is a new publication of the same name by Morel Books. Edited by Mark Szaszy and Tara St Hill, this book documents Day’s progress from the early to mid nineties and stands as the first work since Diary.
May the Circle Remain Unbroken
30 Davies Street
London W1K 4NB
Words by Anna Bang
TagsCorinne Day, Gimpel Fils, Jason Donovan, Kate moss, May the Circle Remain Unbroken, Ray-Gun magazine, Tara St.hill,