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Corinne Day Diary

WEDNESDAY 26th February 2003
Shot over a ten year period by Corrine Day's boyfriend, Mark Szaszy, this fascinating biographical film explores the life and work of one of Britain's most controversial photographers.

Profile

Credited with discovering Kate Moss and creating the "waif" look that changed British fashion, Corinne Day was, a decade ago, one of the world's most influential photographers.

But she turned her back on the airbrushed glossiness of magazines, complaining "they're stale, just about sex and glamour, when there are other elements of beauty."

Instead, for the last ten years documented in the film, Day has focussed her lens on such uncompromising material as her friends' drug-taking habits, and her own life-threatening illness.

Model turned snapper

Corinne Day was working as an international glamour model, twiddling her thumbs in expenses-paid paradise. Moving from Japan to LA, she first picked up a camera to record the humdrum lifestyles of her struggling colleagues.

She returned to England with a portfolio that soon took her to the Face magazine. But when its editors asked Day to take some fashion pictures, the self-confessed photography junkie found herself without a muse.

Kate Moss

Trawling through the London agencies, she spotted a 14-year-old waif from Croydon. The scrawny beauty of Kate Moss and Day's raw depiction of her caught the fashion zeitgeist of 1990s Britain, and both their fortunes were made.

Despite shooting covers for Vogue and influencing catwalk couture, Day grew disenchanted by commercial success. She said she "aspired to reportage" and started producing more intimate, sometimes brutal, portraits of her friends and the un-orchestrated minutiae of their everyday lives.

Such is Day's compulsion to catch every human experience on camera, that when she herself was diagnosed with a brain tumour, she made sure her boyfriend recorded her entire hospital experience. He only did it, he said, "to take her mind off what was happening".

Anti-glamour?

Day's critics accuse her of an anti-glamour snobbery, and ask what is the point of so much drabness. The photographer parted company with Vogue in 1993 after a particularly un-groomed set of photos appeared in the magazine.

A sad-faced Moss had appeared in her underwear, baggy tights and no makeup. Day was blamed for encouraging anorexia, drugs, even paedophilia, and promoting her own brand of "heroin chic".

Despite a recent return to the fashion fold, Corinne Day remains unapologetic for taking a raw, unflinching look at the world. She says, "Photography is getting as close as you can to real life, showing us things we don't normally see. These are people's most intimate moments, and sometimes intimacy is sad."