2022: The Beach Boys are one of those Americana bands that instantly bring up a sound, a time, with the sun and beaches that is all California. So when one of the founder’s of the icon band’s name came up for me to shoot, I was all in.
Al Jardine might not be a household name but if you know The Beach Boys you know his importance to the band. He was there from the beginning, sung lead on the Number 1 hit “Help Me, Rhonda” and suggested the band cover (probably my favorite song of the band) the folk standard “Sloop John B”.
Al arrived shortly after his sound check with his bass player and Beach Boy alumnus Ed Carter and his son Matt Jardine and I was ready.
After shooting a few with the black backdrop, I dropped it down for white seamless and attempted a homage to the classic Capitol Records 45’s. The idea of creating a backdrop with the yellow and orange swirl label was all by my writer Jim Ryan. I had my handy gels ready to go when when Matt suggested we should have a guitar. I said it’s funny, I actually requested one and that would be great. I wish it would have happened before I dropped the black but it makes the photos and my approach very different.
Al suggested, or maybe requested, he didn’t wear the guitar since he was nursing a sore shoulder. I explained I didn’t have the backdrop set up for a full body shot, which I didn’t, but the truth was the shot was going to be more dynamic if he wore the guitar.
The gels didn’t quite do what I hoped, the orange gel has a more red pinkish hue and tried to take over the whole background, but it still has a cool feel.
It was interesting when I explained what I was doing with the gels he got the idea immediately. Al seemed to let his guard down and he told us a story on how in the old days a photographer, whom I believe was Guy Webster, use to get him and the boys hyped up during a shoot. He would get them to go “yeah” and flail their arms about. So I said okay let’s try it and that was what the shoot needed…
Al continued bringing the energy and gave us a impromptu session of “Luau” the b-side of The Beach Boys first single, “Surfin'”. Which was a practice run because he later performed that night at his show.
It was a lovely time working with Al and so happy for the opportunity.
With that said, I was still not happy with the results of the gels. So in post, I recreated the background for these final results…
I think I pulled it off!