It’s a trick a lot of musicians miss, the album or cd cover. They spend months, if not years, recording their finest work and then they forget about the cover. I can’t begin to tell you how many times an artist has emailed me saying: “I need a cover shot by next week” “What for?” “My new album”.
I do think this is the first impression people will get on picking up the product: plan the cover, what the music is going to be about, “who are you”.
I’ve been privileged to work on some great projects so I’ve picked this one out as an example.
I’ve known Freddie Gavita since I started working at Ronnie Scott’s in 2014.
Myself, Erminia Yardley (writer, journalist and my muse) and Freddie had a good sit down over a coffee in Soho one night and he explained the album and the concept behind the music. For me this builds a picture in my head, sometimes a hazy one, but nevertheless a picture.
After a day or so, I was clear where I wanted to take it. The image was in my mind, the next step was to visit the location. I’ve walked the location a few times in the past and it fitted with everything Freddie had explained.
The next step was to shoot some test shots to present to Freddie, to give him a visual on how I saw the cover and how it fitted in with his vision for the music. The album title was decided to be “Transient” which means: a person who is staying or working in a place for a short time only. It’s interesting how our minds and eyes see things in a different way, our minds are truly our own.
Test shots done and sent over to Freddie…… It’s a yes from him. The date is set: 10th Jan 2017 at 6.30pm
We spent a few hours at the location shooting the front and back cover checking images along the way on the back of the camera. I’m not a fan of cluttered shoots with laptops and leads running everywhere especially on location in a public space. No fuss, straight to the point and get on with the job in hand. It’s surprising how much more you can think of once you’re there shooting, I tend to roll and roll with more and more ideas. I find I start with a basic idea and then it moves on from there.
Sometimes you just take an artist and define who they are. Binker Golding, with no real plan for what he wanted out of his photo shoot, told me: “Just go for it”.
We spent the day using different lighting set ups, coloured gels and just playing around with edit presets with the camera tethered to the Mac. Creatively, this is still one of my favourite shoots.
Sometimes we work to a concept other time, it is a very easy-going shoot and we go with the flow. It’s a joint venture between the sitter and myself. We may mix natural light with flash heads. I don’t like making it too technical, it has got to be fun.