Tarred and Feathered

As promised to the more curious among you here is a little ‘behind the scenes’ info from the tar and feathered shoot featuring Lupen Crook currently shortlisted for NME photo awards 2010…

Having spent years trying to convince the band that studio photography was a world apart from location shoots it was with a mixture of trepidation and anticiapation that I finally approached this project.

Somewhere near the middle of March I came home to find this little sketch in my notebook:It was the start of (at one time) a seemingly limitless string of ideas as few days later Tom, Lupen and I holed up in my my little flat with a large supply of coffee and tobacco and let our imaginations run riot. Some more than others – I have sadly lost the sketch of Lupen arms spread wide stood above a sea of naked bodies…that’s a lie I still have it and am holding it to ransom! 

We discussed a number of set-ups before the shoot and the one concept I came up with that seemed to excite us all the most was the idea of ‘tarred and feathered’. As a reaction to the band’s previous reputation I felt that the concept of humiliation and proposed exile as a punishment for bad behaviour suited them perfectly, visually as well as conceptually. (For more history on the physical punishment of tarring and feathering click to the wonders of wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarring_and_feathering)

At the time I was nursing a fairly severe addiction to the photographs of Richard Avedon ‘Into the American West’ and showed the guys this image as a loose motivation behind the composure and expression behins the proposed image:(For more information on Avedon’s work I strongly encourage you to go to http://www.richardavedon.com/ the project ‘In the American West’  is one of my favourite collections in history and the portrait of Blue Cloud Wright the Slaughterhouse worker from Nebraska remains my favourite image of all time!)

So lists were drawn up for who needs to buy/bring what, then left or lost but luckily not forgotten. Ten cans of black treacle and 200 wet wipes were purchased (I’m sure to the horror of the checkout girl at Chislehurst Tesco) and I believe an old tour pillow or two were sacrificed for feathers.

Of course no uncomfortable experience is complete without full documentation so in addition to the photoshoot at hand I have happily laid hands on follwing video documentation with the immortal line “I feel like I just raped a sofa”

The resulting image can be seen in the shortlist of this year’s NME photographer of the year competition to view and vote please follow the lnk below. Voting ends 12th October so keep ’em coming and watch this space for the results, Many Thanks x.



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