Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Behind The Music Issue Portfolio

Music: The Third Hand
Location: The plan was to shoot RJ in a setting that had nothing to do with the urban landscape. His new album has an indie twist so I thought a different winter environment would be appropriate. I found a spot in Valley Green that I thought would be perfect. The morning of the shoot the temperature was in the mid 40s and the snow was starting to melt. Dennis Crowley and I carted a profoto 7b kit with 2 heads over ice and rocks, a nikon digital SLR bag, my hasselblad case, stands, a mini piano, old 45's and a few random props RJ brought along for the ride. He was easy to work with and wondering why the media doesn't cover 9/11 conspiracies. Kudos to Dennis for carting it all back UP the hill. The shoot would not have been possible without the City Paper-supplied cart. Kudos to City Paper for not firing me after I purchased a $70 cart with available funds from our photo budget. After the publisher, the controller and the art director intervened, I was served a brief slap on the wrists. Kudos to myself for supplying $5,500 worth of my own equipment for the City Paper shoot.

Story: Red Heart The Ticker
Music: For The Wicked
Location: Credit goes to Robin for scouting this wonderful room. They both sent me photos of various locations they thought were interesting and I went for the West Philly 2nd floor bay window. It's the house of Headlong Dance Theater co-founder Andrew Simonet. Robin babysits there 3 times a week. She had this dress picked out and I suggested Ty go with the dark suit. He gave me a wonderful expression. I love the narrative between them. I see him as a mad scientist waiting for a train, a beautiful woman sits down next to him and he freezes. I lit them with my 2 visatec monolights, one snooted and the other with a soft reflector. The illuminated eye chart was a gift.

Story: Musiq Soulchild
Music: LuvanMusiq
Location: This is a good one. It's the day before Valentine's day and Shawna and I have had plans to go to NYC for over a month. Pat tells me Tuesday evening that the only time we can shoot Musiq is the next day, Wednesday. I tell him we can't, I'll be in NYC, Shawna won't be happy if I try to bail on our trip for a CP photo assignment. I try to work the publicist at Atlantic records to make it happen another day. No dice, he's on tour and not back in the northeast until late March. We decide to scrap the Musiq story. Wednesday a snow storm hits. Shawna and I can't get to NYC, I call the publicist and we set up the shoot at the TLA after his sound check. I brought Shawna along to help me art direct, its Valentine's day after all. Immediately after the shoot Pat gets his interview. We went out for dinner and returned to hear Musiq sing. I lit him with a large soft box (camera left) and a fill on the curtains. Thanks to Pat for supporting the monolight hitting the curtains and not going blind from repeated, full power pops.

Story: Brian McTear & Amy Morrissey
Music: Peace Is Burning Like A River, The Novenas
Location: I love working with Brian. We first collaborated on a CP cover story in 2002 written by Brian Howard. His music seems to parallel my personal life. Amy is a painter and about to release her first album (The Novenas). She has a beautiful voice and wrote "The Greatest Extremes," one of the best songs off of the second Bitter Bitter Weeks album Revenge. I wanted to photograph them in the (relatively) new Miner Street recording studio. When I arrived Brian suggested this loft space. It's designed for bands to crash in if they're spending numerous days recording in the studio. The color scheme as well as the foreground/background placement enhances the Alice in Wonderland effect. We were fortunate to work before the room was furnished. I'm finishing up a music video I've photographed/directed for the song "Terrified" off of the new Bitter Bitter Weeks album and I plan to shoot them again soon.

Story: taragirl
Music: The 26th Power
Location: World Cafe Live. I thought the mezzanine level at the venue would be an interesting feel/mood for the shoot. I'd only been there at night during shows. When I got there I realized the colors were horrendous and the space felt like a lobby of a modern apartment complex. I knew I was going to have to light her and lose the background. A black & white film noir look solves the color problem. I stopped down to f 16 and used one snooted monolight with a straw diffusion.

Story: Dave P
Album: I don't know, he's the only artist who didn't give me an MP3 for the mixtape I put together of everyone's music.
Location: ICA. We met at ICA before an art opening that he was DJ-ing for. I arrived with the assistance of Dennis and we were blown away by the installation by Thom Lessner. Do yourself a favor and go see this. It's a refreshing reminder of creativity. He built a middle eastern ewok village like structure of his own work. Inside the different towers are video installations and print exhibitions. The execution was easy with this kind of location. I used my 2 visatec monolights, one (off camera left with a softbox) and the other as an accent light on the back wall to creative more contrast.

Story: Gang
Music: Guess What You'll Find
Location: Amanda & Jaclyn's residence on 9th & Moore Sts. I thought about photographing them outside on 9th street but the background didn't work with the 80's punk chick outfits. I wanted a setting as close as I could get to a studio 54 feel. I thought shooting them against the mirror was the only option the space offered.

Story: DJ Skeme
Music: Sweet Soul Sistas
Location: Skeme's basement. He has an amazing collection of 70s toys, action figures and movie posters. Skeme is a rare local gem who's been spinning records since '81. His "Watch Out For The Fuzz" album is a great blend of original beats and 70's crime samples. I wanted to create a busy image by surrounding him with a plethora of memorabilia and have him engaging the camera with a blank stare. The James Brown "Good Foot" on Vinyl and the Dr J basketball game are my personal favorites. Lighting was a challenge since the corner spot was very tight but I settled with a softbox off camera left, a snoot on the left side of his face and the SB 800 bouncing off the ceiling.

Story: Normal Love
Music: Normal Love
Location: The Spring Garden music house. I'd been there once before on a previous music shoot for Jack Wright and I remembered the stark kitchen. When I arrived they had plans of wearing black gloves. I agreed and noticed the 5 jars of peanut butter on the cabinets. I thought there was something interesting there and Evan suggested having everyone stuff peanut butter in their face. Naturally, the shoot evolved to all the guys spreading peanut butter all over. I wanted a flat light so I bounced the SB 800 and one monolight off the ceiling while using a softbox on the other monolight.

Story: Jake Lefco & Happ G
Music: And You Are?
Location: 23rd & Cherry. Justin Gilmore (Happ G) recognized me from the GFS/CHA days and he also traveled to NYU after high school in Philly. I knew Jake's older brother Dan (GFS/NYU days) and looked forward to working with them both. It took me awhile to find the right angle in the small studio space but after a bit or rearranging and the emergence of the pimp chair I found it. This might be my favorite image with regards to color temperature. I had 3 strobes, a tungsten light and daylight coming thorough the back window.

Story: The Swimmers
Music: Fighting Trees
Location: The green room at The Khyber. The Swimmers were hosting a residency at the Khyber every Wednesday night in February. Dennis assisted and we scouted the downstairs before deciding on the upstairs green room, also known as the drug room. Dennis spotted the upside down door and turned it around so we could place someone in the window. There was no electricity in the room so we ran a long extension cord down behind the bar. Paul (happy hour bartender) let us take over the place and helped find power. I used a snooted spot off camera left and bounced a softbox off the ceiling (off camera right) to get the nice glare on the green wall.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Awesome work! Love how each photo has it's own setting that fit the vibe of the band. This makes each shot so much more than an on stage or a backstage image in my opinion. A big leap forward!

This is the best music stuff youv'e done. Ten gold stars!