Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:
What was your mood the day you got the music and what were you feeling about the task of interpreting a piece of music into a photography? And what were you feeling the day you got the music?
I was excited for the challenge of interpreting an inspirational element that I didn’t choose myself.
Who did you feel was hearing the music? You now? as a child? A place?
What was your initial reaction to the music?
Initially, I wasn’t happy with the music because I was interpreting the lyrics very literally and only thinking of imagery which I felt was very obvious and cliché. I played the song over and over in the background while I did some brainstorming writing. Once I went beyond the song, and thought in terms of the character, the image came into my mind.
What did you imagine the back story to be about the character in the song?
I imagined a young woman searching for something/someone exciting and sparkly but that would be ultimately self destructive… I thought about risk, danger, gambling, love and heartbreak… about betting everything on someone that would betray or disappoint. I wanted to create a voyeuristic sense of anticipation.
Once you decided on the image how did you make it happen?
I made preproduction sheets and started casting. Kelsey, the model, was an intern of mine and a modern dancer. She’s very expressive. Then I contacted a designer who creates costumes for burlesque shows and arranged for hair and makeup. Next task was to find the location and I was able to get access to a former night club.
What was the first thought/image/emotion that came to you first?
Black Jack and Red… Red is symbolic of love or passion. Cards and Las Vegas – then I started thinking about showgirls… Love
Do you feel like your photograph is capturing the character in the song?
Yes, well my interpretation of the character
Tell me who she is?
A naive girl about to get mixed up in a mess. Maybe she changed her name to Lola but she’s from the midwest and she’s come to Vegas to be a star or something like that.
What was the direction you gave this model?
I told her the story above and “You’re about to go on stage and you’re giving herself a pep talk trying to build your confidence”
What lyric fed this picture?
It was the reference to gambling that brought me to the showgirl/Vegas theme and all that it represents: indulgence, depravity, shallowness, exhilaration, false promises, life seeming full of possibilities but under the surface it’s destructive. I imagining she is in a bad relationship with a dangerous but charismatic man.
So tell me more about how you go about your process. How you go about gathering your inspiration to actually harnessing it, interpreting it and then building into metaphors?
I do a lot of mind mapping and free association brain storming exercises. Basically, I rapidly put out stream of consciousness information trying not sensor or filter anything. Then I free associate and expand on those ideas visually until there is an image in my mind.
In the image you created for this song what were you trying to say with the lighting?
She’s emerging out of darkness, the shadows add a sense of mystery. I think it is more interesting to not show everything. It allows for the suggestion of a narrative while allowing for the character’s emotional strength and vulnerability to show through.
Are there styles or colors or movement?
I used red in the outfit she’s wearing
How do you feel about the color red?
It’s not a color I use often; it can symbolizes lust & passion or war & violence none of which are subject matters I usually touch upon. It’s an aggressive color for me. I go through periods of being drawn to it but it’s not one I have around me.
Talk more about you’re inspiration.
I am constantly seeking out inspiration from classic literature and children’s stories to art history and film.
How was your process different in in this project than normal for you?
I’ve been commissioned to create a couple of album covers before and my process was very similar. Playing the music in the background and then pulling out words that come to me as I listen. It wasn’t a very different process.