Jamie-James Medina has been following around The XX, taking their pictures. The end result of this is the first issue of The Tourist his series of half book/half zines. Limited to 500 copies, The XX: Looking in From the Dark, feels like a traditional zine more than a book, printed on inky newsprint like, as Medina pointed out, Maximumrockroll . Though he has spent a great deal of time with the group, that nod to zines of the past gives it the feeling of obsessive fandom as much as intimate portraiture. Medina gave us his favorite selections from the zine, along with a few shots that didn't make it. Those, and a few words from the photographer about the project, are after the jump. Pick up a copy of The Tourist here.
How did you link up with The XX?
I’d just finished a project photographing American music legends— Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Ornette Coleman, Etta James, etc. That was a difficult project and I really needed to follow it up with something young and new and British. I’d known Caius, their manager, for years and just emailed him—a week later I met them in Manchester and two weeks after that I was with them for the start of their US tour in Baton Rouge, LA.
What was touring with The XX like?
Great. There are images from three tours featured in The Tourist; their first US headlining tour, their first time in Japan and their final US tour. They’re not exactly Motley Crue, but we ate alligator in Baton Rouge, karaoke in Japan—all the obvious fun stuff. In Japan, the audiences stay silent through each song, then go crazy, which works perfect for a band like The XX. Between the two US tours, the shows just got so much bigger, it was amazing.
Was it easy to take photos? Were you ever uncomfortable?
They’re obviously very private, which I love that about them, but they were so open with me. I still shoot film, so they don’t always know what I’m up to. Oliver is amazing to photograph, just so easy. The only time I can remember one of them telling me not to take photos was backstage in Japan. Jamie was laying on a sofa eating an apple and didn’t want that photographed. I have no idea why.