I've known Jenny Roques for a number of years, but mostly in a social-media sort of way. I've always really enjoyed seeing her post photos from her grandparent's farm, and in recent years her images and stories about her adorable daughter Penny Lou. Seeing images of Penny Lou with her great-grandfather is heart warming, and I admire Jenny's obvious devotion to her family and love for her roots. I've watched her career evolve with bands like Arson For Candy, Tortuga and now Joan of Dark.
I met with her to discuss this project on a rainy day at Cherokee Street's Mud House. After a few minutes chatting about Penny Lou's nascent musical education (That girl is going to be amazing, I'd wager.) Jenny and I started talking themes and what music means to her. Jenny talked about two things right away—how she uses music to keep herself grounded, and how it is also a way to send her own energy out into the world. Immediately I saw this shot in my head. My general preference when shooting women is to show them in positions of power or mystery, almost as elemental forces. I want you to see the women I shoot as strong, and if you're a little bit scared by them, I am fine with that too. I could just see an elemental, electrified version of Jenny, barefoot in a field shooting lighting from her hands. Luckily she also loved the idea.
We shot Jenny at my studio and then I did composite work for the background elements. I'd have loved to shoot at her family farm, but it's about an hour away so that wasn't practical for this project. The background plate is a mix of images I shot in Tower Grove Park, a stock field, clouds from many, many other shots, and CG lightning bolts. The hair and makeup for this shoot was done by Chloe Kinsella, and for as long as we spent getting the makeup right, it sure doesn't feature heavily in the final image. Ah, that's the way it goes sometimes. (Outtakes with makeup below.)
This was a really fun image to put together, and I hope I've captured the energy and joy that I think music brings Jenny, while also incorporating those other elements that make up so much of who she is, and how she exists in the world. It was a real pleasure getting to know Jenny better during this process, and to work with her to achieve our vision—that's the best kind of creative collaboration I could have hoped for. (My apologies to Penny Lou that she couldn't come to the shoot, I hope the final image of your mom makes up for it.)
Model: Jenny Roques - JOANOFDARK
Costume: Model's own
Makeup: Chloe Kinsella
Here is a close-up of the makeup and hair look that Chloe created, and below that a short behind-the-scenes video of the making of the image.