Nothing makes the fine artist in me happier than when I get a phone call from a musician with some key words to build upon a concept for their upcoming album art work. Creating concept art is what I would consider my inner calling. While I also love doing typical studio headshot for my clients and their Linkedin profiles, my heart, soul and roots, are more fully integrated when I’m working with themes where I can bring a word or idea to life in my own creative way.
Theo approached me with a very rough outline of his new albums’ concept and we ran with it. Well to be literal, we actually, hiked with it. We met at the bottom of Cascadilla Gorge gear all in backpacks and ascended the stairs while we discussed how to bring the vision to life. I’ve been doing my best to stay active as possible and when your client is up for some cardio to go along with their session, you go for it!
A 400 foot climb and 8 waterfalls later, we landed at Sage Chapel ready to photograph. For those of you reading who are not local to Ithaca, Sage Chapel is Cornell University’s non denominational Chapel located in the heart of campus.
The main draw to Sage Chapel for Theo and I was the dimly lit ambience and the grand piano which is accesible for use during the day. We started the session at the piano and he began to play. Hauntingly beautiful would be one way to describe it with words, but i’ll let the photos tell the story here.
While I absolutely LOVED the tones of this amazing chapel, I also had to opt for some more gritty black and white images as well. No musician should ever be photographed in color alone in my humble opinion. 🙂
Overlooking the piano and organ in the west side of the chapel is a gorgeous mandala styled stained Tiffany glass window that we decided was a must to work with. Balancing natural ambient light with the artificial light for my subject is one of my favorite things to do while on location. You can create such a wide range of vibes just on how you choose to do that. In this case, we were going for dark and moody.
After we left we west wing of the chapel, we moved onward to the front archway, which is absolutely stunning, however, along the way we found a large cross, and Theo asked if we could snap some images with that as well. The results were epic.
Once we reached the altar space in the front of the chapel it was evident to me what need to be done. There is a tiled floor which hosts an olive vine and sun theme which was intended as a symbol of fertility and birthing when it was built. It made sense to me to incorporate that into the imagery given Theos’ themes of manifesting prosperity, abundance and the birth of his new album. These are some of my favorite images from our time together. I had him lay on the floor with the sun centered behind his head and used my wide angle to achieve a variety of results in both black and white and color.
At that point i was like dang, we’re good, but the ceiling in all of its magnificence also needed to be captured. Reading up on the history of the chapel, I learned that even the specific colors chosen for it are symbolic. White is for purity, innocence and faith. Black and white together symbolize purity of life and humiliation. Red is for fire heat, and creative power. Red and black together symbolize purgatory and the realm of Satan. Green is for hope, victory and immortality, grey is for mourning of innocence accused. Blue is for the truth and constancy, and gold is the sun of goodness of God.
So much of the Theo’s album will be lyrics about these type of themes and overcoming corporations and the inner battle we all face within ourselves. It seemed fitting that we ended the shoot with this final image, which brought it all together. One look behind the camera and he was like “Ok we’re good” and there ended our time together.