PJ Harvey, the English singersongwriter, artist and poet, gives Vogue an exclusive insight into her creative process via a photographicg mood board.
Horses, a cliff, a beach, a tall ship, a burst of sunshine. They are inspiration points that form a mood board for Polly Jean Harvey. She calls it: “Three songs”: the Slow Drug, Horses, Heroine.” To delve into the mind of an artist is a fascinating privilege, and here, the British songstress who famously denounces feminism but sings of love, hope and equality (of the political, social, economic and gender variety), allows us inside her creative mind via these Polaroids.
A multiple-award-winning songwriter, Harvey has captivated and inspired us with her raw and provocative alt-rock since her debut Dry in 1991 through to last year’s politically enhanced The Hope Six Demolition Project, her ninth studio album. The album, and her poetry book, The Hollow of the Hand, was inspired by journeys she made to Washington, Kosovo and Afghanistan with photographer/film-maker Seamus Murphy, and accompanied by videos the pair made on their travels. The making of the album became a work of art in itself, with the recording sessions held in public during a month-long residency in a purpose-built studio at London’s Somerset House in 2015.
This month Harvey returns to tour Australia. Rolling Stone described Harvey’s live show as: “a tour de force of beautiful and savage artistry. Her latest album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, reads like an elegy for imperialism, its songs become a dramatic celebration of hope live.”
Just like the women in these Polaroids: strong, full of hope. PJ Harvey tours Australia in January. Her album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, is out now; www.pjharvey.net.
“At this time I was experimenting with photo montages whilst working on songs towards a new album. I linked the two together in this piece called Three Songs. The images used were images that were interesting me and informing my creativity at this time in my life. I find that any image that has absorbed my concentration for a period of time stays within me, and somehow informs the work I create as I move forward.” – PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey and, below, a selection of her Polaroids with poetry and lyrics flowing over the images.