Monday 6 June 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

Katerina Jebb is a renowned British photographer who often experimented by using Xerox photocopier machines to photograph her models, which creates striking results. She made the cover picture of Tori’s fourth studio album From the Choirgirl Hotel (1998) and some of the inside pictures by using this same process.

In interviews, Tori explained how the artist proceeded to get the photographs: the singer had to get on the machine and snog it, a part of her body being suctioned to it so that she stayed right on it while it took photocopies of her. To get one photograph, it took seven minutes. Each final picture is actually a "collage of pictures with subtle changes that give the work interest and character." The buzz light of the Xerox and the fact that the model is "glued" against its window creates a very stylistic result: the skin seems pale and rigid, as well as the features, as though the model was dead or kind of trapped in limbo.

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From the Choirgirl Hotel cover picture by Katerina Jebb

Which was the perfect style for From the Choirgirl Hotel visuals, an album Tori wrote after suffering two miscarriages. Elyse Taylor from Eastwest, who had already introduced Tori to her previous photographer, Cindy Palmano, suggested that the artist work with Katerina Jebb. In her book Piece by Piece, Tori said that she talked to Elyse about the idea she wanted to translate in the visuals for the album: "How could we use photography to capture girls who’d been lost, who weren’t there? The daughters and mothers on that album are no longer in their bodies. Elyse brought in the artist Katerina Jebb, who creates photographs using a Xerox machine, very ghostly, ideal for the project. We were able to create a strong visual, avoid the problem of conventional glamour, and stay true to the text."

Further in a Web chat on Yahoo in 1998, Tori mentionned that she was reading Douglas Coupland’s novel Girlfriend in a Coma. The cover picture of the book (the original edition) was made by Katerina Jebb using the same process. She worked a lot with photocopier machines for more than a decade, for personal projects as well as many fashion photographs, which earned her recognition since then as these pictures are easily recognizable in style and composition.

Besides working with Tori, Katerina Jebb has also made visuals for Kylie Minogue (the maxi single Breathe, the best of Hits + and various photoshoots throughout the years), Paddy Casey (Amen) or INXS (Full Moon, Dirty Hearts) and works on a regular basis for fashion publications Purple, Crash and Dazed and Confused. She also made advertisement campaigns for the designers Comme des Garçons, Guy Laroche or Givenchy.

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Les Rencontres d’Arles 2008, collage by Katerina Jebb

For this reason, she’s often considered as a fashion photographer, a label she denies. She considers herself as an experimental photographer and participated to several exhibitions. In 2008, she was invited by fashion designer and art passionate Christian Lacroix to participate to the festival Les Rencontres d’Arles (The Meetings of Arles) where she exposed a series of pictures she made from photocopies, scans and photography, each piece being a photomontage. Her work represented models wearing clothes that are more art clothes than fashion or trendy clothes and Christian Lacroix stated on the website of the festival that he "fell in love with these pictures that are alike autopsies."

In 2009, she made photographs for the catalog of the exhibition Hair du temps that presented creations by fashion designers made from women hair and she was part of the exhibition Faire la peau de l’inconscient – Mutations images (To picture the subconscious – Images Mutations) that took place in Luxembourg for the European Month of Photography. Six others photographers participated to the project that studied the links between current images productions and human sciences, including psychoanalysis and that accompanied as well a critic study on the links between plastic arts and dance. The body was the main focus of the artists’s works, that often pictured it naked, the jumping off point of the creations being theorician Lacan’s quote: "There is no sexual intercourse." Katerina Jebb made photographs as well as videos for it. In May 2009, she also created an installation, Eve Democracy, with the collaboration of designer Jennifer Shorto which is exposed in the designers clothes shop Dover Street Market in London.

When asked about her famous photocopies pictures in a blogger’s interview in 2006, the photographer said that after spending ten years creating them, she now used them more for her personal use or projects than for advertisement and commercial works because they’ve become too much recognizable and were thus hardly applicable. She also wants to experiment more with other things and refuses any label. "Labeling is only people’s way of trying to control their mental filing system. I like to short-circuit the switchboard," she said. Something she shares with our favorite redhead. No wonder these two influential and singular artists crossed each other’s path.

To see a portfolio of Katerina Jebb’s other works or informations, you can visit her section at the Fred and Associates website:

Katerina Jebb’s personal website: http://katerinajebb.com/