by Brooke Shaden
Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. When I started photography I would have laughed at the idea of flying to London to photograph an opera singer. Me? No way, that’s for fancy people! But then it happened just a few short months after being contacted by Warner Classic Music, and the images are here to share!
There is only one word that adequately describes working with Joyce DiDonato: infectious. In the best way possible. Her enthusiasm, positive attitude, and desire to push the boundaries is the most infectious bubble of joy, and I was very honored to be inside that bubble. The more we worked together, the more we understood each other and the message we needed to communicate. When it came time to do the photo shoot I was supposed to produce eight images. Thirty or more pictures later, and I had caught the bug. I always get carried away.
Smoke bombs, high powered fans, exploding flowers, and studio lights (say what?!) made up the creative shoot that day. In a beautiful little nook in London we created art from morning until the sun literally went down on us. I was nervous, as I always am, that I would not live up to the artist everyone was expecting. But with such an amazing team, including Bethany Alderson on hair/makeup, I knew that I was supported as well. The key with commercial shoots is to always reassure yourself that you were chosen for a reason, so best to do what you love and do it with passion or not at all.
For the photo shoot we went from peace to war throughout the day, changing Joyce’s wardrobe and makeup to gradually become more sinister and dark. The makeup was applied lightly at first and then more and more until she was the embodiment of the darker parts of the world. Flowing, elegant poses turned into smoldering, fierce eyes and resolute fists in the air. It was gorgeous to watch that transition and see how Joyce truly became the character she is creating in her music.