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.