2007: I would get these shoots from Rolling Stone Magazine that I would call “non-stories” that were really just a way to promote a new tour or album. They were for the Random Notes section that was a paragraph with one photo to sell it. One such shoot was with the Danish indie rock duo, The Ravonettes. For some reason I was asked to take them to Chicago’s Navy Pier, so I scouted out locations the night before. Navy Pier for Chicagoan’s especially back in the mid 2000s, was a wasteland and was a tourist trap. I’m still not sure why my editor requested the spot but I took on the challenge. I spent an hour walking around the place and had a few kitschy ideas to thrown at the duo the next day. They were playing the Empty Bottle, so after their sound check I just picked them up like their chauffeur. I had never met them prior but they seemed very polite, well, that was until we arrived at Navy Pier. At this point they too understood the location, the confusion and challenges it came with it. At one point one of them asked me, “Does Rolling Stone hates us?” It was a fair question but I assured them I had a few ideas to play with. The first stop was the Children’s Museum. I walked through it the night before and thought it had potential. However, it turned out to be a bust, it was not open. My next idea was for them to ride the children’s train that had an alligator head on the engine. I thought it could be fun but they didn’t seem amused, so we moved on. The next stop was a kiosk booth that did temporary tattoos. This interested them. But the challenge was the tattoos were done with a airbrush gun by the guy working the booth. I explained this was a photo shoot and that I wanted to stage the shot but he didn’t seem to understand. It took a few times but eventually he got the idea. In retrospect, I probably just had to offer more money and this would have been solved quicker. Still, the results I think worked well and was a great start.
I don’t like to give just the client one set up, so I had one more idea. There was a “Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze” and I thought that could be fun and I was right.
I still think these had potential to be used as publicity photos but that never happened.
I worked hard for me to not be in my shots and then found even one more set up on the way out.
But in the end, the photo that ran was one from the first set of images.
That smiled seemed genuine and the moment felt real.
The Raveonettes at the Temporary Tattoo Art kiosk booth at Navy Pier. Sune Rose Wagner adds the final touches to a temporary tattoo with the likeness of a Ramones eagle to band member, Sharin Foo, as they make a stop to play at Chicago’s Empty Bottle on Friday October 19, 2007. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen)