I saw one of her videos on YouTube late the other night and went out the next day to get her “Back to Black” CD. Inside the CD case there is a little booklet filled with pictures of her, including a center-spread shot by legendary photographer Harry Benson. “They called and asked me to do it,” he said when I called to ask about the shoot. “I could have done it in a studio, but that would have looked like everything else these days—boring, boring. So I shot her in her hotel room and in the hallway.” Here are some outtakes of his shoot, exclusively for State of the Art.
By the way, this isn’t the first time Benson has photographed a rising British musician in a hotel room. He shot the Beatles in a hotel in Paris as they celebrated after hearing that one of their songs had climbed to number one on the charts. “You always work with what you have,” says Benson.