Two photographers passed away this year. I never met either of them, but loved their work.
Bill Binzen wasn't one of those people who know what they want to be when they grow up since childhood. He and photography did not find each other until he was in his forties, but by then he was ready for it. He became a prominent figure in advertising during the sixties, and enjoyed a long and successful career. He published a few small paperback photo books of his personal work back in the day, one of which I own.
Here's some of Bill's work:
Her Mother ran a brothel. She was raised by her grandmother, "Nan". A failure at school, she took a job as a courier, flying around the world routinely. On a flight, a photographer suggested she become a model, and she did, appearing in ads and magazine covers in places as far as Japan and Australia, where she met her lifetime SO, Mark Szaszy, who would expose and train her in one of his prime interests, photography. Corinne Day thus made the switch from one side of the camera to the other. She began by photographing the models off the runway, in their tattoos, old personal clothes, and cheap, tiny apartments. Phil Bicker, editor of The Face, saw something in her portfolio and hired her.
At a time when fashion photography was surreally perfect (Think Family of Man), Ms. Day took her insider knowledge of the model trade and dared to show its Shadow side. She discovered Kate Moss, who reminded her of her subjects in Milan and got her a cover in 1990. Moss was 16, and she appeared topless and in other pictures the implication was that she was naked. The fashion world had been using younger models and Moss was unlike the others. Corinne Day got her work, used her native attitude, and refused to have her pictures retouched, something unheard of at the time. She and a stylist named Melanie Ward created the waif look, brought grunge into fashion, and later the controversial "heroin chic", which for her was quasi-documentary reality, acknowledging the stressed, drug-laced reality of modeling and her life at the time.
In 1996, when she went to the hospital where she was diagnosed with the brain tumor that would take her life fourteen years later, she asked Szaszy to bring a camera and directed him in taking pictures of her.
She kept working as long as she could, doing fashion and commissions for the National Portrait gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science and Design, Tate Modern, Saatchi and others. The medical costs of treating her disease in the US were staggering. Her friends and Kate Moss raised more than 100,000 pounds by selling prints on her behalf, but the tumor finally killed what could die of Corinne Day on August of this year.
Vogue's editor, Alexandra Shulman, described Corinne Day as "one of the most influential photographers of her generation".