I've been keeping this piece under wraps now for about six months now. Flight 619 asked me to create the artwork for the newest ballad, "Dying Daze". Now that it's FINALLY complete, I can go public and share some insight on how I approach this project.
"Dying Daze", a slower, more intimate ballad from the perspective of someone who has passed on. The lyrics sung by lead vocalist, Dakota, describes a somber feeling of loneliness. Losing someone close. Yet they're gone, the message is to appreciate the time together with those close to your heart. For when they're gone, you know they are keeping a watching eye from above.
I asked the band to send me the lyrics to the song so I can get a feel of how I wanted to illustrate the song. It didn't take too long to grasp a concrete concept. Decided a gravesite as the subject would be most suitable. Now I needed the perfect setting.
This couldn't be just any graveyard/cemetery. It had to speak the tone of the song. I knew the perfect spot. A small and intimate cemetery in Olmsted Falls called Chestnut Grove Cemetery. My girlfriend introduced this resting site to me when we first met. It's safe to say it's her second home. Nestled back on the front lines of a forest edged by the Rocky River, the serene feeling here just creates the perfect backdrop for what I wanted.
It was the end of February about 40 degrees out when I photographed this. My lovely girlfriend, Ashley opted to step in and be my model. We decided to use the flowers I got her for Valentine's Day and make them into a mini bouquet as she kneeled down. I set up my 6 ft ladder and with calm and steady hands, stood there on the top ledge where the warning sticker clearly tells you not to stand. Haha. Thankfully the Nikon D750 has a tilted LCD screen so I can view what's going on while holding the camera above my head. The vantage point you see here is from the perspective of the person looking down on Ashley. After the shoot, Ashley decided to lay flowers from her bouquet on the other gravestones at the cemetery. So sweet!
The whole shoot, I ended up shooting around 45-50 frames. Ashley nailed it perfectly and made the shoot go by fast. It must have been that damn cold that kicked her into high gear! By the time I got home and uploaded the images onto my computer, now came the hard part. Picking that shot. Sometimes it is very hard.
After I "starred" my favorites, now I could start the fun part of whipping out my brushes laying down the strokes onto my canvas. Slightly desaturated the whole photo only leaving the flowers with more color, added curves, tones, rain, puddles, to add mood, and removed unnecessary shadows casted by myself and other surrounding trees.
Adding in logos and the song title, it was final complete. I am very happy with the outcome. This was my first time creating an album/song cover while using my photography and applying my graphic design knowledge to make this piece come full circle. Here's the before and after below.