We had an idea for a shoot and acted on it. We had no idea that this photo would take me all the way to the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
Sometimes, great work comes out of you unexpectedly. That was exactly the case with this photoshoot. My husband and creative partner, David, and I found ourselves struck with a spur-of-the-moment idea to create a photoshoot centered around the concept of an artist's daydream.
So many musicians, filled with undeniable talent, often find themselves working unfulfilling day jobs to pay the rent, while their minds wander to the grand stages they dream of performing on. That became the inspiration behind our shoot.
We built a forced perspective stage to bring the vision to life and painted it a retro color palette, which was a reference to my personal favorite era of music. We painted the walls black, evoking a void — a representation of a solitary thought floating within someone's imagination. We gave our model a mop to use as a prop as reference to the mundane job she was doing in reality. Honestly, the set and photos from the shoot ended up looking way cooler than either David or I expected, which is always a good feeling. We were pretty proud of the photos we made.
On a whim, I discovered that Abbey Road Studios was hosting the inaugural Music Photography Awards. Without thinking much of it, I decided to enter this photo in the “Undiscovered” category of the competition.
I entered the photo into the contest in February 2022 and completely forgot about it. Then, in April, an email arrived from Abbey Road Studios. It stated that our photo had been selected as one of the five finalists in our category, and they extended an invitation for us to attend the awards ceremony in London at Abbey Road Studios in May. We were blown away. This contest had some seriously high-caliber judges, including Rankin and Sacha Lecca from Rolling Stone. Not to mention, the invited category finalists comprised an extraordinary lineup of photographers, including the likes of David LaChapelle.
Arriving at Abbey Road Studios for the awards ceremony was a surreal experience. We were shocked to see that our photo along with all of the other finalists' photos was plastered to the iconic front wall of Abbey Road Studios. They had a red carpet rolled out and a backdrop to have your photo taken before you walked into the studio. This was no ordinary awards party. It was a glamorous awards party, sponsored by none other than Hennessy.
As we stepped into Studio One, we found ourselves surrounded by printed and displayed photographs from all the nominated finalists. It felt like we were walking through an art gallery of some of the best music photography we had ever seen, and one of our photos was included in the mix. It was a wild experience. Not to mention, Studio One also happened to be the very space where the soundtracks for Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Return of the Jedi, and Skyfall were recorded.
We mixed and mingled. The highlight of the evening was listening to Rankin, one of my biggest inspirations, share his wisdom and experience. The opportunity to speak with him afterward was an absolute honor. Then, it was time for the awards ceremony. Although our photo didn't win the ultimate prize, the recognition alone felt like a tremendous achievement, considering the caliber of the competition.
After the awards ceremony, we ventured into Studio 2 for the afterparty, where we got to see three live performances by incredibly talented artists. This legendary space also happens to be where The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Oasis, Adele, and Ed Sheeran recorded some of their most famous songs. Stepping into the same room where these legends had once recorded their unforgettable songs was an incredibly surreal experience.
The underlying message of my story is: when you have an idea for a shoot, seize the moment and make it happen. You never know when you are going to produce some of your best work. There are so many photo contests out there that can lead to some truly amazing opportunities, so don’t be afraid to take a chance and put your work into the world in a big way. You never know what can happen.