BoF Exclusive | From Where I Stand by Mary McCartney

Self-Portrait, Nashville, 2005 | Photo: Mary McCartney

LONDON, United Kingdom — This evening at the Michael Hoppen Gallery is the private view of images from Mary McCartney’s first book, From Where I Stand, documenting her more than fifteen years of work as a photographer. Mary seems to have always had the natural instinct to observe and document the people around her, shying away from the spotlight that has shone on her family ever since her father, Sir Paul McCartney, became one of the most popular musicians of all time.

Over time, Mary also began to photograph advertising campaigns for her younger sister, Stella McCartney, which brought Mary closer to the fashion industry and inevitably led to some enviable behind-the-scenes moments, where Mary of course always had her camera at the ready, capturing many living fashion icons on film, including Kate Moss, Daphne Guinness and Bjork.

“I wanted to pick shots that stand alone,” says McCartney of the images she selected for the book. “I like the photographs of other people that inspired me to be a photographer that make me think: Who was that person? Where was this picture taken? What was the feel behind it? What the emotion behind it? Those are the things that intrigue me and drive me as a photographer.”

In advance of tonight’s event, I met with Mary over breakfast to get learn more about the images from her book linked to the fashion industry, each of which seems to have it’s own special story, which we can share exclusively with BoF readers today.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney, Long Island, 1995 | Photo: Mary McCartney

“We chose this as the cover image because it’s quite arresting. It was a personal moment for Stella and I after a night out b0wling in America. I like that you can see her little bowling socks. Having been on the other side of paparazzi before, this was just a fun way of commenting on it.”

Kate Moss

Kate Moss, Worcestershire, 2003 | Photo: Mary McCartney

“Kate Moss is a strong character. She’s a commanding presence in front of the camera. She has so many different facets to her character. She’s girly, she’s naughty, she’s funky, she’s clever. Is she going to be impish and childish or sexy and sultry? I think that’s why she’s iconic, because people are intrigued by her. For me she’s the dream subject because you want to know more about her. You want to know what she thinks about things and what she is like.”

Kate Moss, London, 2004 | Photo: Mary McCartney

“This was for a campaign for Stella. The point of it is not to know whether Kate is zipping or unzipping. Who was she with? Who’s observing her? Is she on her own? She’s barefoot and not completely perfect. Her feet are a little bit dirty. It’s really simple..there’s no accessorising or anything…it’s just three things: the tapestry, the chair and the dress, and then it’s all about her. Kate can create that atmosphere around her.”

Bjork

Björk, Royal Albert Hall, London, 2003 | Photo: Mary McCartney

“I was doing the backstage photography at the first Fashion Rocks at The Royal Albert Hall in 2003. It was mayhem…designers, models, musicians. Usually you have one event going on, but there they had several events all at the same time. The place was just rammed with hair and makeup and clothes. But within all of the chaos there was this moment which was quite quiet. They were individually sticking crystals onto Björk’s face and it had to be quite slowly, properly applied because each one was stuck on individually. I kept coming back to see them applying more and more…”

Daphne Guinness

Daphne Guinness, London, 2009 | Photo: Mary McCartney

“I have shot her a couple of times, and think she’s stunning and has quite a unique style. This shot was for a magazine…I wanted something that had depth to it and windows at the end. The reason we chose this for the book is because it shows a different side of her. It’s got a softer quality to it and she is looking off camera. She can come across as quite angular and quite serious, but this shows a bit of her romantic side.”

Imran Amed is Founder and Editor of The Business of Fashion