Corinne Day – May The Circle Remain Unbroken at the Gimpel Fils Gallery, London
16th October – 23 November 2013
Corinne Day was a photographer who photographed in an autobiographical way for much of her life, her images, like many other photographers of this genre, emanated universal truths and stories of youth and conjured up a strange romanticism for the lifestyle.
These photographs from her earlier works have an element of innocence surrounding them that you can’t help but be encompassed in the stories of these young people and their lives. Seeing work of Corinne’s before such as the compilation of Diary, I feel this one is more positive, the vitality of youth and happier moments appear more strongly. It was refreshing to walk into the gallery and leave with a smile on my face rather than a mind filled with the sadness that her images often provoke.
"Photography," Day said, "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."
The exhibition was curated by Corinne’s husband Mark Szaszy, perhaps that is why it has a feeling of tenderness to it and why it has a positive aura as opposed to a sad one, it’s like a remembrance exhibition of Corinne Day as a photographer and also as the woman who captivated him during their time together.
“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.” – Mark Szaszy
(Excerpt from Dazed and Confused interview – Oct 16th 2013)
She often blurred the boundaries between fashion and everyday life, inputting this style into her images of Kate Moss and various editorials for The Face magazine. Watching the personal videos of Corinne Day I thought some moments were staged like the communication between a young woman and a man through a caravan window, others were just playful moments with her friends, but it seemed impossible to extract the constructed from the real without being there myself. The video projected onto the white gallery wall pieced together part of Corinnes life and that of her friends accompanied by music from the era like Creep by Radiohead – perhaps a not so subtle nod at the critics response to her images when she first started shooting Kate Moss for magazines like Vogue.
It gave life and story to the images, although they worked well individually the video made it all feel real, it added an extra dimension, an extra perspective. The show then became audio – visual for me rather than just visual, standing in front of an image placed in a line amongst other images all the same size can get too traditional sometimes and for myself I find it can cause the viewing to become monotonous.
Corinne Day, George by the road at night, 1994
This image of George and Tara was one that particularly caught my attention, I feel it stands out from the rest with a level of tenderness and intimacy that hasn’t been affected by the intrusion of a camera. They are completely natural with each other, the nakedness of George suggests a playful confidence that is enforced with other images Day has taken of him, he seems unaffected by the camera. His lack of clothing contrasts with the delicate floral dress on Tara, once again suggesting nature. The soft daylight which I assume is coming from a window to the right, highlights them against a background of deep red heavy curtains and a darkened doorway. The soft focus of the image brings all these elements together in the photograph to exude a waterfall of strong emotion and connection that a viewer could relate to, the private moments with your lover or family.
Days’ whole exhibition highlights these everyday, sometimes mundane elements that exist in a person’s life and shows the world how important they are to capture, because the basic purpose of a photograph was always to document and gather evidence and ultimately to remember. Although Corinne Day passed away in 2010, her work still exists and still holds meaning, it provides those who knew her and those who didn’t with proof of her existence and the people she considered close friends – what better way to leave a legacy.