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From the photo, Georgina, Brixton, I have traveled in many directions of research that have related closely and remotely to the photo and subject. From this I have learned about the context in which the photos sit historically and socially, as well as fashion and photography. I have been lead onto many other issues also, such as the controversy surrounding heroin in the fashion industry, and its perceived glamorization in photography. I have also learned how to research effectively using trust worthy sources, cross referencing, and many other approaches to research and media analysis.

Corinne Day: Brief Bio, Work in Brief, On Her Work

I have found out about Corinne Day as a person and photographer through her work. She was born in West London, 1962, and began work as a photographer after meeting British film director Mark Szaszy after spending time as a model. Her photos contained themes surrounding imperfect beauty and was presented in an anti-glamorous, neo-realist way. The context in which her work was produced in fashion and youth cultural magazines like The Face and Ray Gun showed a distinct contrast from traditional conventions used in fashion photography. The photo Georgina, Brixton comes from a time frame in which Day shot various images that we compiled into her first book ‘Diary’ in 2000. Her work is dubbed as ‘heroin chic’, however Day maintains that her photos are as close to real life as possible, as opposed to the fakery of fashion. Day mentions that her influences are music and the implies in an interview with The Observer that her work comes from the life around her.

Models, Themes and Mags: Imperfect Beauty, Who is Georgina?, The Face Magazine, The Face Through the Years

I found from this line of research how Day has an intimate and personal way of working with her sitters, mainly models. She is associated with the beginnings of Kate Moss’ career, as well as the controversy that founded criticisms of pedophilia in the editorial ‘Third Summer of Love’ shot for The Face in 1990. This lead to problems between the two, not allowed to work together by Moss’ agency. Day has prowess in getting models notices through her unique style like then overlooked model Georgina Cooper. She features in the photo in which Day describes less sexed-up and glamorous fashion, a myth held that this is they way in which all models lead their lives. Instead, Day uses a dirty-realist style, less attractive and what I found as being imperfections in beauty. This theme is constant in Day’s work, explaining her intentional use of androgynous, ‘waif’ skinny and ‘less typical’ models. Other themes in her work surround youth culture, like sex, music, drugs as well as fashion, however stylish or not. I also saw how Day’s work sits well in 80s founded magazine The Face, originally a music mag, and later influential in fashion. The youthful target market of The Face related to the themes and style of Day’s work.

80s Intertextuality: History, Culture, Photography, Fashion

I began researching this decade to intertextualize Day’s work and photo Georgina, Brixton. I felt that this would be significant as Day would have been in her late teens and earlier twenties in this decade, and her youth cultural elements in the photo would have a relation to her experiences. I found from this links that I could carry over to her work, like a nonchalant attitude and rebellious nature, post-modern discourses expression distrust in major establishments, especially with the government under Margret Thatcher and the early depression fueling anger in the 80s. Riots happened like those in Brixton in this decade and testimonies on BBC explain how ‘everyone was on a warpath’ and a cynical atmosphere. This criticality was evident in British social documentary with photographers like Graham Smith, Chris Killip and Martin Parr who photographed in this time period. I also found how popular media was widely available across various formats, and how styles like Ska were popularized with groups like The Specials. I also found how themes in music by Day was influenced could be found in some way in her work, and how media texts are framed by other texts. The decade was also celebratory, with people playing out the fantasies and having fun with fashion, and the idea of being free and doing what ever you want played its course in youth culture. Fashion photography was far in contrast with fashion using sex to sell, and simply representing ‘unattainable’ fantasies surrounding beauty, wealth and lifestyle. The decade also coincided with the rise of the supermodel as a more prominent part of popular culture, with advancing media technologies and more and more fashion advertisements and availability to the mass.

Heroin Chic: Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Juergen Teller, Corinne Day, Davide Sorrenti

I found out that this is a major trend in fashion in which Day’s work constitutes, and spilled out of the magazine and into society. It hard to say whether the photos depicting heroin abuse influence its presence in fashion or simply reflect it. The photographers in this style would argue the latter, careful not to be seen as glamorizing drugs. I also found how their works were similar to Day’s and the photo ‘Georgina, Brixton’ allowing me to realise how heroin chic could be considered a genre within itself. The controversy with Heroin Chic peaked with the death of Davide Sorrenti who died tragically due to a blood condition.


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