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[Exclusive Photos] Inside 'What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches'

Talking to Peaches, her photographer Holger Talinski, and even Ellen Page about the extraordinary artist.
25 June 2015, 7:30pm
All photos by Holger Talinski for What Is In the Teaches of Peaches, published by Akashic Books, 2015

When Berlin-based then-photography student, Holger Talinski, first approached electronic musician and performance artist, Peaches, neither could have imagined what the encounter would produce. Six years later, What Else Is In the Teaches of Peaches reveals the authenticity, vulnerability, and provocations of the icon, as captured through Talinski’s lens.

The bare-all book shows Peaches on and off stage, focusing on her efforts to shatter gender stereotypes, promote sex positivity, and push the boundaries of art and performance.

In an interview from her apartment in New York, Peaches talked to The Creators Project about the glamorous and the mundane. From the moment I began the Skype session with Peaches and Talinski, I understood why their photos felt so genuine. The dynamic between the two was uncensored and sincere, Peaches’ effervescent attitude drifting fluidly between the serious and the outrageous.

Peaches & Mathias Brendel, La Cigale, Paris, France, January 23, 2009

For the decade preceding What Else Is In The Teaches of Peaches, the 46-year-old artist was on a “manic terror” of a schedule: making an album one year, then touring for two. At the same time, Talinski was a photography student in a small town outside of Berlin, who was experimenting with photo-documentary. He didn’t consider himself a big fan of Peaches, but thought, “it would just be amazing to see what’s behind all these glossy photo shoots.”

Talinski approached Peaches in 2009 to ask if he might photograph her. At the time, she had just completed her fourth album, I Feel Cream, and was about to go on tour. What began with tour photographs grew into a six-year documentation of Peaches and her various projects.

Tour Bus Zofingen, Switzerland, August 2010

“I love that it’s just one photographer that really stuck with me for six years because I’m such a dedicated person to my art and Holger was the same way,” Peaches said.

From Talinski’s perspective, he really wanted to capture every moment: “I was interested in seeing if there’s a person behind the stage persona." It was his idea to go to New York and photograph Peaches visiting with her family and friends. “Holger was really like ‘if you’re farting call me cause I’d love to photograph that too,” said Peaches.

Whether it’s her fierce determination as she enters the stage, or the way she gives herself over to her audience, each photo can be seen from a multitude of levels. They are wrought with powerful messages of self-expression and feminism and that speaks volumes about her overall ethic—“don’t come out, come in.”

London, UK, April 2009

In the book Peaches’ fans and collaborators such as Ellen Page, Yoko Ono, and Michael Stipe share their insights into Peaches and delve into their personal and working relationships. An excerpt from Ellen Page’s contribution reads: “For a 16-year-old gay person, she offered something that I could not find elsewhere. A voice that said, ‘fuck shame, fuck the male-dominated perspectives of sex, fuck gender stereotypes, fuck not embracing your desires, and fuck not owning yourself.’”

Page first saw Peaches perform in Toronto. She was inspired by Peaches lyrics, performance, and overall sense of self. Since their meeting in Amsterdam a few years later, they became close friends. “She’s just this incredibly present person who makes the work that she wants to make and that’s what’s most important to her and I think it’s really easy to forget that,” Page told The Creators Project over the phone.

Talinski’s documentation evolved as Peaches took on more new projects from her one-woman show Peaches Christ Superstar and its evolution into a feature film,_ Peaches Does Herself_, to her three-year hybrid, Peaches DJ Extravaganza. She is known for her progressive and uninhibited acts as some of the more provocative photos illustrate. The iconic boob and hermaphrodite outfits accentuate her pro-feminist, pro-sex, and pro-letting-it-be-known attitude.

London, UK, April 2009

“I think to see that at 16 when you’re navigating your own sexual desires or your way of identifying the world it was a really inspiring thing to see,” Ellen Page said. “I think that’s what Peaches music and also her shows gifts to people, whether you’re straight or gay or whatever.”

Michael Stipe further asserts this in his contribution to the book: “Peaches defines her time here in the 21st century,” he writes. “She will speak for any and all of us if we will not speak for ourselves. She is brave enough to be completely current, human, vulnerable.”

New Orleans, Louisiana, June 2009

In 2013, Yoko Ono asked Peaches to pick her favorite Yoko Ono song and perform it with her at her 80th birthday celebration. Together, they sang "Yes, I’m a Witch." Later that year, Ono curated the Meltdown Festival in London and asked Peaches to perform her famous "Cut Piece," featuring Peaches sitting on a stage alone as audience members approached, one by one, and cut the clothes off her as she remained perfectly still. “She sat quietly but her body was expressing a universe,” Ono wrote. “Sensitivity, vulnerability, strength without trying—all with dignity, representing us women.”

While the photos in What Else Is In The Teaches of Peaches are not in chronological order, the journey from page to page is palpable, inspiring to both seasoned and virgin Peaches fans.

Peaches sixth album, RUB, will be released in September along with a self-funded video for each track. Said Peaches, “I think it’s very me still, very true to what I want to say, and I didn’t have to second guess myself.”

Room Where Janis Joplin Died, Highland Gardens Hotel, Los Angeles, California, August 7, 2009

What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches is out now from Akashic Books. Click here to order your copy.  Related:

Naked Weird Girls and Glitter: Inside Body-Positive Art Vid '#EmbraceYourself'

The Peaches Mini-Documentary - Part One 

The Making-Of Peaches' "MUD" [Video]