Home Music Music Lists

Kate Bush: See Stunning Eighties and Nineties Photos From New Book

Guido Harari reflects on his portraits, candid shots of singer collected in ‘The Kate Inside’

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

See beautiful Eighties and Nineties photos of Kate Bush, as featured in Guido Harari's new book, 'The Kate Inside.'

Guido Harari

Italian photographer Guido Harari can still recall the first time he met Kate Bush. It was in 1982 when he got an invitation to photograph the famed British singer for a magazine around the time Bush was in Italy promoting her fourth album, The Dreaming. The two shared a mutual acquaintance in dancer and choreographer Lindsay Kemp, who was a mentor to both Bush and David Bowie. "She was very beautiful and very sweet," Harari tells Rolling Stone of his initial impressions of her. "She had a lot of charisma. But as Lindsay pointed out, when she was offstage, she was almost shy, very low key. Once she had makeup on and her stage clothes or outfits she would wear for the pictures, she would become someone else. But she was one of the sweetest people you could ever hope to meet and work with."

Their first photo shoot together marked the beginning of a fruitful 11-year collaboration in which Harari photographed Bush for her promotional images – a period that, in addition to The Dreaming, saw the singer release the albums Hounds of Love (1985), The Sensual World (1989) and The Red Shoes (1993). Harari was also present on the set of Bush's 1993 musical film, The Line, the Cross and the Curve, which was the singer's last major project before her 2005 album, Aerial. Now Harari's gorgeous photos of Bush have been collected in a new limited-edition book titled The Kate Inside: Kate Bush Photographed by Guido Harari. (Coinciding with the book's release is an accompanying exhibition at London's Art Bermondsey Project Space, opening September 13th.)

The Kate Inside features more than 300 images – most of them unseen – including outtakes, contact sheets, Polaroids, and handwritten notes to Harari from Bush during that period. While a majority of Harari's photos show Bush in her usual charismatic and enchanting guises, other images reveal the singer's humorous and playful side. "I think she found that I could probably relate to her wish for a certain degree of authenticity in the pictures," Harari says. "That is what she found in the pictures that I took of Lindsay and that's what she basically asked me to do up until the film."

Harari adds that Bush had total trust and that she didn't exercise control during the shoots, as he came up with simple concepts at her request. "This was in analog days," he recalls, "so I would take Polaroids. She would look at the Polaroids and say, 'This is great, let's go.' So we would shoot for a half hour. Then she would change, we would take another Polaroid. This would go on for 12 to 15 hours. This was unbelievable by any standards. And she always loved the results. She would send me notes thanking me for the pictures, and then years later, she would call me up again. That was our relationship. It was almost like telepathy."

Before meeting her, Harari had been a devoted fan of the singer. "When Kate came out with 'Wuthering Heights,'" he recalls, "she was another one for me in the same lineage like Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro and Nina Simone. She was a great experimenter, a seeker, musically an absolutely original. You can see her influences, but she was original. She broke new ground. I was a fan and I still am."

In the following gallery of images from The Kate Inside, Harari – who has also photographed such musicians as Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa – shares his memories behind each of the following photos.  

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush, “Eyesight to the Blind,” 1989/2016

"That picture is another elaboration off of the Klimt image [from the Sensual World shoot]. It's very ethereal, it's very white. It's almost like one of those [Erwin] Blumenfeld images where you can only see the eyes, the nose and the mouth, I thought, 'Well, this is really pure light. Let's see how it looks like if it's pure darkness.' [Through Photoshop] I came up with that Gothic, really dark and strong image. And I felt two [faces] would work incredibly well, reminding me of some Hitchcock movie." 

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush, 1989/2016

"The orange psychedelic Kate is a 2016 Photoshop reworking. I love the whole Sixties psychedelic poster art: Wes Wilson, Lee Conklin, David Singer, Rick Griffin, Mouse and Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Hapshash, Martin Sharp. Their colorful and highly imaginative art still stands to this day as one of the most powerful visual statements of an era full of freedom, ideals, hopes and discovery. While designing the book and editing my photos of Kate, I loved the opportunity to 'create a new dress' for some of our photos." 

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush and Lindsay Kemp in ‘The Line, the Cross and the Curve,’ 1993

"That was quite a wild one, because the director of photography was Roger Pratt, who had worked with her on some videos. He was also director of photography for Terry Gilliam. So he had this incredible control of visual fantasies. This was great because during this scene she and Lindsay were on a platform that was being dragged in this huge soundstage. It looked like they were flying in a wind tunnel. I don't remember if I was on the platform as well or not, but I managed get this shot where Lindsay was really the madman and she's reaching out to him." 

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush and Lindsay Kemp in a dressing room, circa ‘The Line, the Cross and the Curve,’ 1993

"The curlers shot. It has the same playfulness of so many of my images of Lindsay Kemp from 15 years before, the same photos that turned Kate on to my work in the first place. The 1993 reportage on the set of the film had the same freedom and lightness about it as the work I'd done with Lindsay and moments like this (Kate taking a nap, no makeup and with curlers) were a blessing, really. They showed the human side of the so-called 'star-making machinery.' Lindsay would be game at any time for mad photos. He always says that 'the best music for me is the cork of a bottle of champagne and the click of a camera,' so there was really no need to push him to do anything. He would volunteer at any time when he sensed something was worth capturing on film.

"In that particular occasion it was like shooting a silent movie. Lindsay and I wouldn't even speak. I just nodded to him and he did what he did. Once I'd taken the shot, we burst out laughing, but Kate did not wake up! I believe she loved the photo as much as we did. She couldn't have been aware of Lindsay behind her. It's fantastic when you get to see/shoot the real person and not the camera-conscious and manipulating star."

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush circa ‘The Line, the Cross and the Curve,’ 1993

"When we did the other previous two shoots, I could tell when she would slip into being Kate Bush, the usual image. During the filming and the breaks and the rehearsals, she was herself. It's amazing to see all these shots where she's laughing. She's relaxed, and she's beautiful without having these incredible clothes or slipping into a character. On the set, although there was a lot of pressure, she always made everybody feel relaxed about what they were doing."

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush on the set of ‘The Line, the Cross and the Curve,’ 1993

"You have to remember she hadn't performed for maybe about 14 years at that point, and there was no tour in sight. Of course it would have been impossible to shoot her at her recording studio because that was a very isolated environment. She called me for the film and said, 'Please come on the set and do what you did with Lindsay.' That is, shoot everything – like a fly-on-the-wall reportage, 'capture me in any kind of circumstance.' It was great. I spent a whole week on the set. I shot her in every kind of possible moment and I'm really proud of that. That reportage has been unseen for all these years because after the film she retired basically … so she had no interest in bringing out this material. But I thought after all these years, it was about time [laughs]."

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush during filming of ‘The Line, the Cross and the Curve,’ 1993

"If you see the film, there were probably a few frames of her bouncing on the trampoline, and in and out of the camera. She took a little time practicing on the trampoline, and there's a sequence in the book where she's really laughing, cracking up. She was really like a little child on a play field. There were many unusual moments during that film."

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush, “Double Kate,” 1989

"She didn't want big concepts, so we would never think about having some props on the side to pick up from. She would come with a bunch of clothes, not very fashion-y. I thought if I couldn't come up with any concepts, let me play with a technique. I was shooting with a Hasselblad so I could easily shoot multiple exposures on the same frame. Then I thought maybe I could put two Kates relating to each other on the same frame. It was all trial and error, really.

"I showed her the Polaroids and she said, 'Yes.' She didn't object. But I realized she didn't understand technically what the process was because she had to go in and out of a backdrop. I would shoot her and I would tell her to move out of the set. I would shoot the set, then reload, shoot the set, tell her to move into the set again, and then out. I think after a few frames she said, 'Well, can we move on?' She was getting bored. But when she saw the result, she was really amazed."

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush, 1989

"It's the same shoot and it's the same technique – it was multiple exposures. What you see superimposed is a detail of the kimono. So you had these swirling shapes like in an Klimt painting. She looked majestic with that kimono.

"We had tons of material, plenty of images that were fantastic. But they wouldn't work as promo photos. The way I figured in the book was I would present the photos in the sequence they were taken so you can see when she's posing and when she's not. Maybe she was cracking up because I told a joke. So she's majestic in one shot. And then she's like a cute little girl in the next shot. Then in the book you have lots of funny images. I think that tells you all about the search for authenticity. "

Kate Bush's Stylish and Candid Sides Captured in New Photo Book

Guido Harari

Kate Bush, “Kate With Wings,” 1989/2016

"'Kate with Wings' is part 1989 (Kate's close-up from the Sensual World shoot) and part 2016 (raven wings coming all the way from Iceland!). The idea was to create new 'illusions,' as if I had a new opportunity to shoot Kate today. She looks fantastic. I wished I could have had that idea back then, but I managed to do it now." 

In This Article: Kate Bush

Show Comments