Sølve Sundsbø's best shot

'Chris Martin came across the image and said he wanted it for a Coldplay LP cover'

I did this for the fashion magazine Dazed and Confused in the late 1990s. They wanted something with a technological feel, something all white. As a photographer, you try to do stuff that hasn't been done before, which is virtually impossible, so I suggested taking a shot with a three-dimensional scanning machine.

These devices use technology that was developed for American air force pilots, to get their helmets to fit their heads better. You sit still while a computer goes all around you, hanging from an arm. Afterwards, you can look at the scan from any angle.

The model, named Mim, had to wear all-white makeup, because you get the best results that way, but in this image she was also wearing a cape with a coloured twill. The computer couldn't read the colours, so it replaced them with spikes. I decided to keep them. The machine only scanned in 30cm segments too, so it chopped her head in half.

When I first saw the result, I was terrified. I thought it was so beautiful, but I was sure the magazine was never going to run it. The fashion editor absolutely adored the pictures, however. They were the lead story that month.

Then Chris Martin saw the magazine. He approached me and said he wanted the image for the cover of Coldplay's latest LP, A Rush of Blood to the Head. He wanted something really iconic, he said, and asked what we could do for the singles. I suggested scanning the four members of the band for the four different releases. I suspect they were hugely disappointed when they met me - I think they expected some kind of German scientist. The album was hugely successful, which was nice. I can think of a lot worse images to be associated with. It is unique.

· Interview by Leo Benedictus.

· Sølve Sundsbø's work is at Spring House, London, until March 20. Details: 020-7428 7166.

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Sølve Sundsbø's best shot

This article appeared in the Guardian on Thursday February 14 2008 on p29 of the Arts section. It was last updated at 00:02 on February 14 2008.

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