Gospel artist Rakeem-Andre Chapman reached out to me a few months ago to do some press/promo and album cover art for the release of his new album, "Soul Revelation".
Andre expressed his desire to be outdoors in the beauty of nature for the majority of the shoot. He wanted the images to convey "introspection, highlighting the soul". And that's what we did! The shoot took place last month, starting off at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, and then moving to an indoor location afterwards, for variety.
We were incredibly fortunate to get a warm, sunny day for the shoot. The sun played a significant role in backlighting Andre - along with my lights, of course! - to give me that dreamy, etherial, glow-y flare.
Once we were satisfied with the outdoor portion of the shoot, we broke down the lighting gear and continued on to our indoor location - a small room in Andre's apartment - to knock out some solid indoor portraits.
During the pre-production planning, Andre also expressed a desire to, if possible, incorporate the Christian symbol of a cross into a few of the images. I really wanted to try and do this in a more creative and unique way, avoiding obvious cliches such as shooting in the sanctuary of a church, or using a church steeple, or life-size cross or crucifix in the background. So I ruminated over the possibilities for a few days...and then I got the idea of somehow hanging miniature crosses over his head, kind of like a baby crib mobile (ha!).
Once we had our safe portrait shots in the bag, I pulled out the little crosses (which I found for very cheap on Amazon.com) that I'd hung with thread on a wire hanger. The contraption looked laughably heinous and totally unimpressive to the naked eye. But this little prop added a cool, new element to a few of the portraits. These are my personal favorites from the shoot.
I get these "what if" ideas a lot and I plan them out as best I can. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. But I have to at least try them out. Always try them out. If they fall flat, it's no biggie and I usually learn something. If they're a success, it's icing on the cake!
Many thanks to Andre and his wife for choosing me to create these images! Best wishes on your new album release, Andre!
Check out Andre's website: rakeemandre.com.
Photo geek notes: This entire shoot was done with my Fujifilm gear (XE-2 camera, and 23mm 1.4 and 56mm 1.2 lenses), and was my second "Fully Fuji" shoot to date. My first "Fully Fuji" shoot will be coming up next on this blog: a child lifestyle shoot, which I'm very excited about, so stayed tuned.