The Silver Smoke, Star of Night Photo Shoot
The one thing I did know I wanted was to utilize some of my collection of old religious statuary. I have been a bit partial to archaic figurines of the Infant of Prague over the years- their broken, gilded bits lurk all about my San Francisco apartment. How perfect to incorporate them in the photos—it’s a Christmas album after all.
We talked about creating a shot hidden in smoke, borrowed a portable fog machine from The Hypnodrome theater…but the thing was malfunctioning, so at the last minute that idea was out.
I think it’s so important to share these behind-the-scenes tales because as independent artists we do NOT have a lavish photo studio, lighting crew, team of art directors and tons of expensive gear, wizardry, and budget at our disposal. We also have very little free time. That’s the magic. We figure out ways to do it ourselves, achieve our vision, but through our own meager ingenuity. And most often that makes it even more spectacular.
These shots were taken lying on my office floor as I assembled a calculated pile of fabric and pillows. And 11 Infant of Prague statues. We weren’t sure yet how we were going to arrange everything, but exploring some options.
Audrey decided to wrap me in strings of white Christmas lights, like barbed wire, which provided an otherworldly element and texture. This was the ONLY lighting used in the black and white shots, which gives it a very elegant, dramatic, film noir glow. My eyes reflected in the string lights seem to ignite a sense of reverence.
Artist Trista Musco wanted to create a fantastical element, which was actually part of the original shot, and not computer generated, so she came up with the idea of building star puppets, marionette-type white stars which dangled on strings. She operated them above my head out of sight of each shot. I love the surreal whimsy of them, how you can see the strings.
This photo above is the raw image for what became the Silver Smoke, Star of Night album cover. We loved the rich colors and contour of my body and hand. This image lent itself well to being cropped into a square, and seemed like it was almost screaming for text to be put on it.
Interesting fact with this close-up of some of the statues: I am actually lying on my back clutching them to my chest– so the color and texture you see behind them is really my flesh, collarbone, necklaces, and black lace bra. Ahhh, so all of a sudden that shot gets a lot more intriguing…
I’m thrilled to announce that both photographer Audrey Penven and artist Trista Musco will be displaying their work at the CD Release Party for Silver Smoke, Star of Night at DNA Lounge in San Francisco Dec 19. In fact, many of the talented souls behind the making of the album will be making an appearance, and so should you! Here’s a link for tickets.
Listen and purchase Silver Smoke, Star of Night HERE.