August 30 2014

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Jamie Hince Talks Music, Photography, and Shooting His “Annoyingly Beautiful” Wife, Kate Moss


jamieblog2When they’re not perfecting down-on-love indie rock as The Kills, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince are quietly prolific in their individual art careers. Mosshart, who dropped out of art school to pursue music, devotes her extra time to painting, while her bandmate, Hince, photographs their adventures on the road. Up until this year, their nonmusical passions have remained mostly private, but now, two months after Mosshart’s debut painting exhibit, Push It, where she showcased her work alongside twenty other female artists, Hince will have his first photography exhibit, dubbed Echo Home, at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC, opening tonight. While gearing up for The Kills’ tour in Nashville, Tennessee, Hince took a moment to talk about the differences between his music and photography; if fashion photography is in his future; and shooting his supermodel wife, Kate Moss.

Do you have anything special planned for this tour as far as the visuals and what you’ll be wearing?

We always put a bit of time into thinking about what we’re wearing—not like we want to present a new outfit, but it’s quite difficult touring in the summer because I’m not a T-shirt-and-sneakers kind of guy. I hate it when it’s really hot and all you can wear is a T-shirt, so I have to find cool, lightweight shirts and jackets that I can wear. As far as the visuals, we have a new light show.

Do you try to keep your photography and music separate?

Music takes up a lot of time, makes me really nervous, and gives me all of this fear about being ordinary. The other thing doesn’t take up any time at all. Clicking my fingers is like blinking my eye. I’ve never taken photography seriously. I have an aesthetic that’s not based on technicality; it’s based on what I think is beautiful. I feel like photography isn’t about technique anymore. It’s just a window into someone’s life. More and more people want to be in touch with some kind of authenticity, and photography is a way to do that—I mean, everyone’s a photographer now, aren’t they?


You’ve been doing photography for so long. Why finally have an exhibition now?

I’ve never really had any ambitions for it. I started taking a lot of photographs on our first tour. I felt like I might never go back on tour, Brazil, or the Chelsea Hotel, so I took photographs as a way of remembering the time. I was documenting things that were happening to me, and I took my camera everywhere. There are a lot of pictures of parties. Ironically, since I met Kate, I take pictures in a much different way because there’s so much privacy in that world that I don’t take my camera to parties anymore. My pictures have changed.

Alison has talked about how her paintings similarly function as a snapshot of where she was at that moment. Do you give each other feedback on your art?

Yeah. Art has always been a big part of our lives before The Kills and during The Kills. When you go on tour and you’re moving a lot, the way you make art has to change. The things you do have to be done quickly, pretty much in one setting because you’re on a tour bus. I think that’s why I switched to photography and that’s why Alison rarely takes more than two hours to do a painting. We definitely give each other feedback. It’s kind of difficult because I love everything she does. I think she’s such a fantastic painter. I’m really envious of the way she paints. She never paints anything and throws it away. There’s never anything bad, which is pretty amazing.


Do you have a favorite photographer?

He’s not very well-known. He’s an old Russian guy named Nikolay Bakharev. A few years ago I got in touch with him about doing a project together. We were going to go on a train—he lives about eight hours from St. Petersburg—and we were going to work out what the project was going to be on the journey. Maybe he’d take pictures of me and I’d take pictures of him. It didn’t happen. But he’s an incredible photographer. He took a lot of mood pictures of very brutal-looking people who look like they spent a lifetime in prison. He kind of makes the ugly look beautiful.

You’ve worked with fashion brands before like Equipment. Has anyone approached you to shoot a campaign for them?

I’ve done a couple of shoots for magazines but not campaigns. I shot Alison for a French magazine. But no, I’m open to the idea, though. [laughs]

Is Kate a muse for you?

Yeah, she’s annoyingly beautiful. Jack White was telling me that when Kate did a video for The White Stripes’ “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself,” afterward he said, “Can I have a picture with you?” They took the picture and he saw it was just like, “Wow.” He needed twelve shots to get himself looking good, and in every shot she just looked like this icon. It’s really, really easy taking pictures of Kate.

Has she given you any tips?

She’s interested in it, but she doesn’t give me any guidance. The thing about Kate is that she’s a free spirit. She doesn’t care about technique or any way you should be doing things. She’s really aesthetically open-minded. Sometimes a shot will come back that will be completely wrong technically—out of focus, wrong exposure—and it will be the most beautiful shot of the lot.

Photo credits:

Photo: Kate Moss, Alison Mosshart & Archie, Alison Mosshart, all ©Jamie Hince / Courtesy of Morrison Hotel Gallery

Dept. of Culture