Shot in Soho

The Photographers' Gallery 18 October 2019 - 9 February 2020

What is perhaps little known is that a huge bulk of Day’s personal and editorial work was taken in her Soho flat on Brewer St. She and her photographer / filmmaker partner, Mark Szaszy lived at the epicentre of creative media Soho – surrounded by the multiple model agencies, fashion P.R offices, photo processing labs and magazine offices that turned the cogs of the fashion editorial machine.

The well-lit flat was at the top floor of a 1930s block, Raymond Revue Bar and a ‘girls, girls, girls’ neon sign could be seen from the window, as well as their home it was a space which doubled up for editorial meetings and a working photographic studio. The flat would continue as a late-night gathering venue for a steady stream of friends and visitors after shoots. As the rest of the building was non-residential, the music could be very loud and play all night.

These photographs give us a fascinating insight into creative, alternative young lives in Soho. In the Brewer Street work, Day allows us unfettered access to the comings and goings of her friends and models. We catch glimpses of dancing, drinking and crashing out on sofas, as commercial shoots morph into nights of excess and on into messy hungover mornings.

Day photographed across all these phases- professional models and friends were interchangeable and indeed almost everyone was a little of both, and the clothes become almost incidental. We are looking in on scenes from exciting young creative lives, perhaps as if seeing glimpses into the flat from a train journey. The Soho work remains unparalleled in terms of documentation of that creative moment– a compelling ‘snap-shot’ the uninhibited 1990s, whilst also being a reflection on what makes a home and maybe a reminder to us all of those special places where we found our own independence.