The British fashion photographer Corinne Day, who will be forever associated with an early shoot featuring a 15- year old Kate Moss, died of a brain tumor at the age of 45 over the weekend. Day was a key member of the “grunge” fashion photography movement of the early 1990s, that emerged from the influential style magazine The Face, and included other shooters such as Juergen Teller and David Sims.
Day was an aspiring photographer and Moss was trying to break into fashion when the two met in 1990. There was an instant personal and professional rapport between the two. Day, as a former model herself, had an affinity with the unconventional looking Moss. This was the height of the supermodel era involving big production shoots, and Day’s raw, almost snapshot aesthetic was its polar opposite. Day’s unflinching and downbeat style was also associated with promoting “heroin chic.”
Day said to me in a previous interview that she took this criticism of her being responsible for promoting hard drugs in her photographs very personally, and led to an extreme disillusionment with the fashion industry. As a result, for several years, she shied away from fashion photography, and focused on more documentary work, including a highly personal account of an operation to remove a previous brain tumor.
Day was a softly spoken and unassuming presence, who was very much the antithesis of the big ego and big entourage typical of a high- profile fashion photographer. As well as The Face, she shot extensively for British, Italian and Japanese Vogue, Her global success was almost accidental, and was as much about her talent, as being in the right place at the right time.