A few weeks ago I went to Colorado and shot with Emily Sierra in the Colorado Rockies. As a nature lover and someone who’s from a mountainous state (Vermont), this shoot was a real pleasure.
Photo by Amma Rhea Photography
Photo by Lýdia Vycitalova
Imagine being a rockstar: a carefree, confident, counterculture innovator, and most likely someone carrying more than a few personal issues. Let us introduce our rockstar, a character we created inspired by 1970s big-hair rockers. We see this man going through the creative process, pondering his next music lyrics, seeking inspiration from both the inner and outer worlds, and testing those new ideas on an antique piano.
What did this character have to do to become the larger-than-life presence he so sought his entire life? And once he got there, was it everything he thought it would be? Looking out the window of his rural childhood home, what dreams propelled him to live this out-loud life in the big city? He has his fair share of secrets, some of the deep, dark and unrelenting, and others trivial, but to him, they are huge wounds. He protects himself, partially because he is afraid of anyone really knowing him.
After all, if they really knew him, would they stay?
This is the feeling we begin with for this editorial. A moody, vulnerable, and almost-brooding peek into the total-package rockstar from the 1970s in all his messy humanness and then transported into an eclectic, modern-day Bushwick, Brooklyn artist’s loft.
We channel the relaxed confidence and borderline-dazed state of our rockstar, sitting by the window and soaking in the light from the mid-afternoon glow. Wearing a simple pair of jeans and a suede jacket only, and with minimal editing, we showcase the natural sex appeal of the male body.
Going through the creative process can be challenging and bring up a lot of unresolved emotions. We see our rockstar laying on the floor amidst deep thought, staring up at the ceiling, thinking of the lyrics for his next hit. Or maybe he is going through the Rolodex of regrets for past decisions he’s made in life and love.
Then, he moves to the piano to test his new ideas, maybe even releasing past traumas with each keystroke in the therapeutic process of writing music, trying to bring the inner turmoils and sagas of his life to the surface in beautiful sound. In the background, we can see the eclectic setting of an inner-city artist, a deep thinker, someone spiritual, and connected to nature and knowledge with an abundance of books and plants.
The inner torment of the creative person can be complex. We see our rockstar on the couch, transfixed with thoughts of where to go next. Is he having a deep thought about his past and trying to translate that into his next hit song? Maybe he is stoned and simply being, allowing his mind to wander with the soft fuzz of a few puffs.
Maybe he just came back from a meeting with his manager or an executive of the record label, as we see him in a blazer and opened button-down shirt. The natural light from the mid-afternoon glow is shining against his tan skin and the leather of the sectional couch.
Sitting on a bureau, he rests his elbow against an empty birdcage and peers out the window. Like his mind wandering out into uncharted territory, we also have to wonder if a bird ever lived in that cage, or if it symbolized something more.
A cage, like his human mind, can be empty and open, allowing the light and breeze to pass through freely, or closed and harboring a loud animal, unrelenting, on repeat, and looking for a way to escape.
Lastly, we see a modern, gritty, casual Brooklyn artist on his way to the train station, hair blowing in the wind. The train tracks above are structural and unmoving, a juxtaposition with his free-flowing hair being caught by a passing wind gust.
In this editorial we see warm, natural light paired with simple yet classically sexy styling. The male form is accentuated by the light and dark. With minimal styling and relaxed poses, we see our rockstar for who he really is: a vulnerable young creative becoming unstuck before our eyes. Or maybe he’s becoming even more stuck, close to coming undone. The secret lays in his next hit.
…he’d come back from some faraway place, and he wanted to tell us what it was like…
Photo by Brian Jamie