from London Newspaper "The Guardian,"
December 2nd FILM & MUSIC supplement
There is another side to the
pop dream. Karen O is the
lead singer of the New
York trio the Yeah Yeah
Yeahs, and she is as
celebrated for her wild
on-stage antics as she is for her avantgarde
songwriting skills. Very much the
e of the band, bristling with
bravura and with a strong look much
copied by her fans, Karen O is a classic
frontwoman. That makes Nick Zinner's
photograph of her, seemingly lost in a
recording studio, her character engulfed
by its cold walls and reminiscent of one
of the sad, lonely figures in an Edward
Hopper painting, all the more poignant.
"The best pictures come when nobody
sees me," says Zinner, who is also the
band's guitarist. Zinner has documented
the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' four-and-a-half
year career in pictures, resulting in his
first solo book, I Hope You Are All Happy
He takes shots of every audience
that they perform to as well as the many
details of life on the road. "If you remove
the context of the band, you are left with
some weird displaced artefacts, like a
crowd of angry and bored faces at shows
when we're playing really badly. And
there's been quite a few of them."
Zinner is notably shy for the cofounder
of a fashionable rock'n'roll band,
which is why he's content to let Karen O
take most of the attention. The photography
has always gone in tandem with his
music life, too. He had been studying
photography in Paris when he met Karen
in Brooklyn in 2000, and had no intention
of giving it up.
"I come back from
every tour with around 60 rolls of film,"
he explains. "But I've taken pictures of
everything around me for my entire life,
so the band years seem like just a phase."
Zinner's photographs have, at their
best, an uncertain emotion to them. "I'm
constantly exposed to new cities and
scenes, so the band and photography do
work well together," he says. "I'll still
be playing guitar and taking pictures
regardless of what happens. So combining
the two seems to make sense."
I Hope You Are All Happy Now is
published by Evil Twin.