In her early work, Corinne Day candidly documented the private codes and rituals of those around her. Often using her Soho flat (above the former Dazed office in Brewer St) as a backdrop, she shot struggling models sprawled out on her sofa and friends in hazy comedowns. These photos, taken between 1987 and 1996, reveal both the counterculture spirit of post-rave 90s youth and the darker side of the fashion world, and are now being celebrated in May the Circle Remain Unbroken, an exhibition and book by Day’s husband, Mark Szaszy, and her friend and muse Tara St Hill.
It’s now just over three years since her death. For Szaszy, going through her archive has been difficult. “There were times when Tara and I would both be struck down by a wave of sadness and we had to get up and walk away,” he says. Here, Szaszy shares personal memories of three early works.
Mark Szaszy: This is Corinne’s beloved grandmother on her 90th birthday. The thing about old age is the complete and total loss of all inhibitions. Now, doesn’t that sound like the perfect demeanour for anyone, model or artist?
Mark Szaszy: This photograph reminds me of elephants. I can see them whizzing around, ears flapping with the cool rush of air, all laughing and hooting, spiralling down to a slow grinding halt and unbuckling. Then shakily wandering off for chips and a hotdog. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that! It’s the sort of humour I loved to share with Corinne, who knew not to take things too seriously, especially with fashion.
Mark Szaszy: I remember walking into the living room one day to find Corinne sitting on the sofa in her knickers covered in feathers. Not many words were exchanged, just funny looks and the occasional sneeze. She had a twinkle in her eye as she rubbed her nose and I was just happy to be filled with the joyful wonder of her strange and beautiful ways.
October 15–November 23, May the Circle Remain Unbroken, Gimpel Fils Gallery, London. The accompanying book is published next month by Aron Morel.