Kate Moss: Roll 1 at Lawrence Alkin Gallery
“She was a lovely, sweet girl who seemed bewildered initially, I guess,’’ explains photographer David Ross, about a young girl who showed up at his studio on 26th October 1988. That girl was 14-year-old Kate Moss from Croydon, and she was there for her first ever photo-shoot. Fresh from being scouted at JFK International Airport by Storm Models founder Sarah Doukas, and even more fresh-faced, Kate arrived a day earlier, only to be sent home for not having a chaperone. Unbeknownst to both, the following day would kick-start the career of the world’s most famous supermodel.
This week Kate Moss: Roll 1, the debut exhibition of the Lawrence Alkin Gallery, presents never-before-seen, and previously forgotten by Ross himself, images of the icon taken those 25 years ago. A collection of contact sheets, black and white photos and colour portraits, the exhibition showcases everything that was photographed that day.
Wearing a typically 80s sweater, with her hair styled into a loose ponytail and her fringe messily pulled back, the black and white photographs provide a candid portrait of a young girl full of childish innocence and endless natural beauty. Particularly striking is an image of Moss looking away from the camera, her head tilted down as if to hide her giggling face. Completely in the moment, this image shows Moss totally un-posed and in the most natural of lights. In stark contrast, another image shows Moss in all her modelling glory: turning three-quarters towards the camera, her rosebud lips pressed perfectly together, Moss stares beyond the photographer’s lens and right at the viewer.
Other notable entries include more commercial-looking shots of a more made-up Moss. Photographed outside in a black hat, black jumper and rouge-stained lips, these images are more fashion-bent. Indeed, Moss seems older and infinitely more experienced; it’s hard to remember this is her first roll of film and that she’s only 14 years old. But, even then, it’s hard to imagine that this is the same girl who will later wear black pants and a see-through slip to a party, pose practically naked for Calvin Klein at just 16 and, ultimately, become one of the most iconic models of all time. If you want to see Kate Moss before she became Kate Moss, then this exhibition is not to be missed.
Kate Moss: Roll 1 is at the Lawrence Alkin Gallery until 3rd November 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.