Kate Garner is an English photographer, fine artist, and singer. Garner has photographed a wide range of musicians and celebrities, including Dr. Dre, Leigh Bowery, JT LeRoy, Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, and David Bowie, Cameron Diaz, PJ Harvey, John Galliano, Björk, and Kate Moss.
Her work has appeared in the American and British versions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar as well as W magazine, Interview, GQ, Vanity Fair, Elle, and The Sunday Times.
Kate Garner was expelled from high school at the age of 16 and became a runaway who joined The Children Of God. To escape the grasp of the cult she hitchhiked from London through Eastern Europe to India in 1970, where she lived for a year as a traveler before being located by her parents. She attended art school at Blackpool in the North of England and later moved to London, where she began to both photograph and model for up-and-coming magazines such as The Face and i-D.
Kate Garner first came widely into the public eye as one-third of the 1980s avant-garde, new wave pop project Haysi Fantayzee, along with other members Jeremy Healy and Paul Caplin. Emanating from street art scenes such as the Blitz Kids that were cropping up in London in the early 1980s, Haysi’s music combined reggae, country, and electro with political and sociological lyrics couched as nursery rhymes.
Catapulted to stardom by their visual sensibilities, Haysi Fantayzee combined their extreme clothes sense – described as combining white Rasta, tribal chieftain, and Dickensian styles – with a quirky musical sound comparable to other new wave musical pop acts of the era, such as Bow Wow Wow, Adam and the Ants and Bananarama. They appeared several times on the BBC Television program Top of the Pops. Despite being touted by Bowie producer Tony Visconti as the next big thing, the group quickly disbanded after releasing three hit singles “John Wayne Is Big Leggy”, “Shiny Shiny”, and “Holy Joe”, and an album, Battle Hymns for Children Singing, that went gold.
Garner then returned to painting, photography, and video, launching a successful media arts career, starting with her collaboration with Sinéad O’Connor, in which she created memorable images of O’Connor for her 1987 debut, The Lion and the Cobra. Garner spotted Kate Moss amongst the hundreds of model cards at the Storm model agency to use in a shoot, Moss, who was only 14 years old at the time, was permitted to leave school early and was chaperoned from Croydon to studios in Old Street, East London.
The felt crown used on the shoot had been given directly by leading British milliner Stephen Jones to the stylist Claire Hall who used it as an accessory for the photoshoot, i-D magazine commissioned the photographs after the shoot for use in their May 1989 issue based on the reputation of the Garner. She went on to photograph Kate Moss at the Praed St Hotel for the now-iconic “Hear no Speak no See no Evil” photoshoot remembering the day Garner says:
“Kate still hadn’t broken through the battle line of the supermodels of that time. I wanted to show the glamour that we could see underneath the waif portrayal.” Originally commissioned for Esquire, the magazine dumped the images and dismissed Moss’s prospects as a future model. About six months later, Moss’s career began to build, and the magazine reapproached Garner about doing another shoot with her in London. (Garner says that her images were eventually published alongside “a scathing piece about how these waif girls dared to challenge the beauty icons who were already established.”)