2006: I was spending an extended weekend in Kansas City, MO for a bachelor party when I got the call, the call was unexpected but in some ways, most welcomed. It was from Rolling Stone Magazine and they wanted to see if I available for a portrait shoot with a Chicago Rapper that was about to release his debut album. The catch was, it was the next day. It only cut a day off my trip and the friends were fellow photographers so they understood. The artist was Lupe Fiasco who had created a buzz working with Kanye West and that got the attention of Jay-Z. I left the next day on a flight that was too early for the amount of sleep I had, but better safe than tardy. Which in turn is what Lupe was and changed the time frame for the shoot a few times that day. Regardless, once we met up on Wacker Drive it was a great afternoon of shooting. We started out at the hotel he was staying at. He too, as it turned out, had just flown in to Chicago that day as well. While I was waiting for him to show, I saw the possibilities of using this sign of a parking garage.
As I was shooting, I saw the possibilities of the words spelling out You Are King, well sort of…
“UR King”…looking at it now I think it works. Especially for a rapper that has the whole world ahead of him. I think I needed to play with it a little more and gave up on that idea too soon. Perhaps had him block the writing with his body but I think shooting in the other direction was a little less picturesque. Maybe I’ll come back to this with a future session.
From there we started to walk south on Wabash for a block. I had an idea to go into another parking garage and treat the moment as a day for night shoot. With my handy flash bar, I would drag the shutter and give the image a warm quality to trick us into thinking this was night time and not the middle of the afternoon.
I think with that said, even rendering them in B&W works quite well.
I had one more spot in mind and Lupe was happy to comply. So we continued south a few more blocks on Wabash until we came to these stairs that lead to the Chicago’s classic elevated train platform. The “El” is pretty unique to Chicago and the stairs with the color signs listing stops is a great place to start.
Lupe had brought several changes of clothes and periodically would change. I think for the bridge shots of the platform he changed back to the original outfit because we weren’t convinced those first shots worked.
In the end Rolling Stone ran with one of the parking garage photos.
Looking back I like a lot of them so it’s tough but I think I would have picked maybe one of the shots on the EL stairs.
Perhaps this one-
Overall, a very successful shoot.