1081 – Sylvian in South Kensington home (2)

Becky Olenchak


For Christmas 2006, I bought myself a signed photo print by Steve Jansen. It was number 1081 and the fifth of an edition of 250; it shows Steve’s brother David holding a glass of orange juice as he leans against the stove in his kitchen, with a framed print of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol on the wall behind him. It is the true slice of life nature of this particular photo that caught my eye then and now, an ordinary moment captured for posterity on film. Each time I see it, I wonder anew what is going through David’s mind as he pauses between sips of his juice? Is he planning his day, his next song, his next album? Or is it something else entirely, perhaps he is pondering that morning’s news headlines, or thinking of a favorite passage in a favorite book or a scene in a favorite film? Or even something as simple as mentally itemizing his grocery list? The possibilities are endless really, no?

I also chose this particular print because I own a poster featuring Warhol’s Marilyn from the 1971 Tate exhibit in London. Normally it hangs on my bedroom wall across from my Jansen print, but is presently awaiting reframing. The fact that David Sylvian had his original Warhol’s Marilyn hanging in his kitchen beside his stove still amuses and fascinates me endlessly; I wonder why he decided to put it there? Was he making a commentary, or did he too think it would be a rather humorous place for it? Thinking about it, it seems like a very Warhol-esque thing in and of itself to do, to hang a valuable piece of art in a kitchen, doesn’t it? I love it, and I love this picture. The little details of every day life evident here are so subtle but so lovely: the cereal boxes, the kettle, the cartons of juice and milk and so on. I really enjoy musing about the minutes before and after this specific instant was captured on film. No matter how many more Jansen prints I eventually acquire (and I do hope to acquire more!), number 1081 will always be special to me both as my first and as a wonderful photographic moment in time.

Becky Olenchak

Details of how to purchase one of Steve’s prints can be found here: http://www.stevejansen.com/imageshop/

5 thoughts on “1081 – Sylvian in South Kensington home (2)

  1. When Steve first posted this image up, some years ago, this one caught my eye too. “Hmmmm, pop stars have very normal kitchens, dont they ? ”
    As ive gotten more familiar with Steves photography, especially his work with the `band` and their surroundings, the stripping back of the `pop star` imagery, is possibly his works biggest strength …. for me.
    Thanks Becky 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Victoria and Craig! 🙂 I don’t know, Victoria, I guess maybe…?!

    I feel the exact same way about Steve’s photography, Craig. So glad that this particular piece impressed you in much the same manner it did me! x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi guys! See, I always assumed this was Mick’s kitchen as it was around the time of Tin Drum and much of his stuff was used in the cover shoot, Yuka’s idea I beleive, it’s funny how our minds make things up over the years but in fairness I was Hal’s age when this was taken.. It’s beautiful as are your words, Bex. I have just seen a photo Steve took of a small shed in Paris which I really like, very different subject matter but I love it. I would love a copy.
    I see the connection of Warhol-Monroe-Sylvian; so apt, they all reflect each other and yet the backdrop is mundane. Says so much about life and aspiration!
    Thanks for all you are doing Victoria, it’s deeply important and appreciated by everyone at TMK.

    Liked by 1 person

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