Hedi Slimane has been many things: furniture designer, perfumer, Dior golden child, photographer, and bosom buddy to Pete Doherty. It’s these last two identities that come across most strongly in Rock Diary
, Slimane’s latest book of photography. Unlike Stage
, another of Slimane’s books that focuses on the space in which musicians perform (and which is conspicuously devoid of any performers), Rock Diary
shows fans and musicians in all their depraved, disheveled glory, unabashedly caught in the act of rocking out.
Hedi’s interest in indie rock has arguably expanded the culture more than most musicians. Grandaddy of the skinny jean and a tireless advocate of upstart London bands like these New Puritans and Eight Legs, his refusal to conform to fashion’s DJ-centric culture has led to some unconventional runway soundtracks from the likes of Razorlight and the Rakes. In Rock Diary
, he set out to document the London scene that’s been his muse for the most memorable stages of his career.
The formula is simple: with friend and collaborator Alex Needham, a rock critic for The Guardian
, Hedi checks out a new band each time he’s in London. Some of them have made a name for themselves across the pond (Arctic Monkeys), while others may still be unfamiliar to American listeners (Wretched Replica, anyone?) or migrating to teen rock sensations (Hayes Peebles, Slimane's latest crush). But, as Needham muses in his contribution to Rock Diary
, “Everyone we covered had something that, for that moment, made them special and deserved commemorating.” Not all of the crisp black-and-whites have instruments in them—indeed, some of them show no people at all—but they all convey something fundamental about the spirit of the indie culture that, by now, will elicit a flash of recognition in music lovers in any time zone. ALEX LITTLEFIELDhedislimane.com/diarymyspace.com/hedislimaneofficial