Witness Unseen Photos From the Day Spike Jonze Met Björk

The famed director was about to shoot the video for the Icelandic superstar’s smash hit “It’s Oh So Quiet.”

Courtesy Spike Jonze.

In 1995, director Spike Jonze had not yet shot his debut film. Musician Björk, meanwhile, had released only her first album, Debut, in 1993. 

The two stars came together at Los Angeles’s famed hotel Chateau Marmont that summer, when Jonze shot the video for her hit single “It’s Oh So Quiet.” A cover of a 1951 tune by Betty Hutton, it remains her biggest hit, reaching number 4 in the UK, hovering on the UK singles chart for some 15 weeks, and reaching number 6 in Australia.

Jonze would also shoot thousands of photos of her that summer day. Six appeared in Detour magazine, but the rest would languish in obscurity for three decades. Now they can be seen in “The Day I Met Björk,” an exhibition and a free downloadable zine of more than two dozen previously unseen snaps and contact sheets, curated by fashion designer and creative director Humberto Leon.

Courtesy Spike Jonze.

Opening today at Leon’s Los Angeles restaurant and gallery space Arroz & Fun, the show includes photos and contact sheets, and the zine includes a conversation between Jonze and Leon. It’s presented along with the computer file transfer company WeTransfer. 

“When I came across these photos at Spike’s I knew, as a longtime fan of both he and Björk, that they were special and needed to be seen,” said Leon, who was helping Jonze organize his archive at the time. “I remember being a college kid and seeing the originals in Detour, they were instantly iconic to me. It’s an honor to help bring these photos out from the archive for fans everywhere to see for the first time.” 

Jonze was already known for standout music videos; in the 1990s, he worked with artists like R.E.M., the Beastie Boys, Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk, and Kanye West. He would go on to win Academy Awards and Golden Globes for his work as a director on films like Being John Malkovich (his directing debut, in 1999), Adaptation (2002), Where the Wild Things Are (2009) and Her (2013).

Courtesy Spike Jonze.

“The meeting of Spike Jonze and Björk almost 30 years ago resulted in now iconic photography and one of the most referential music videos of the 90s,” said Holly Fraser, WeTransfer’s VP for content. “The fact that we now get to revisit that meeting and share never-before-seen images with people around the world is so exciting. Working with curator Humberto Leon on this project has been a joy and we hope that the photography in this zine will inspire a whole new generation in the same way that it did for many of us the first time around.”


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