What happened when Spike Jonze met Björk

Spike Jonze’s ‘The Day I Met Björk’, curated by Humberto Leon, is at Arroz & Fun in Los Angeles and accompanied by a free, downloadable zine from WeTransfer

Björk jumping on bed and in bathroom, from the Spike Jonze exhibition The Day I Met Björk
Spike Jonze’s photographs from ‘The Day I Met Björk’, curated by Humberto Leon and presented by WeTransfer and Arroz & Fun
(Image credit: Spike Jonze)

Spike Jonze met Björk at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles in 1995. In the months before, they had been discussing the concept for music videos from her upcoming album, Post, talking over the phone but never meeting in real life. Then Björk went to LA, and Jonze was asked to shoot her for Detour magazine. When he first saw her, she was wearing orange and drinking coffee – it was the calm before a casual but prolific day of shooting around the hotel.

The hundreds of photographs from that day have now been curated by friend and collaborator Humberto Leon (the designer and restaurateur, who recently designed a Tory Burch pop-up), for an exhibition – ‘The Day I Met Björk’, at Leon’s restaurant Arroz & Fun in collaboration with WeTransfer – that traces Björk throughout the day, from hotel room to garden to pool.

Spike Jonze and Humberto Leon on ‘The Day I Met Björk’

Contact sheet of thumbnail images of Björk

(Image credit: Spike Jonze)

For Jonze, the photographs capture the moment right before Björk’s album blew up, changing everything for her. ‘It’s very easy to shoot photos of someone when they’re compelling, when they’re imaginative, when they lack any self-consciousness and when they’re as singular and original as her. Really, I almost can’t even take credit for any photos being good because they’re just... I think sometimes if you’re shooting photos of someone that doesn’t know how to be in front of the camera or play or just create something with you, then it’s hard. But this was just her. Just [point] the camera at her and she’s compelling.’

Björk sits on end of hotel bed drinking coffee

(Image credit: Spike Jonze)

For Leon, favourite photos from the series include the singer going down the hallway, peeking her head back out of the doorway with her distinctive playfulness. ‘I feel like, looking at all the contact sheets, I live through the day with you and her because I saw the sequence of the day,’ he tells Jonze. ‘It’s almost like you were just like, “Throw that blanket over your body and jump on the bed.” And she was like, “Sure.” There’s one of her really close up with this blanket around her face and it’s shot so beautifully in black and white.’

WeTransfer presents ‘The Day I Met Björk’ at Arroz & Fun, accompanied by a free, downloadable zine


Björk under water in green and white dress

(Image credit: Spike Jonze)

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.