New Image Wednesday + Among The Rubble



This week’s post is a bit of a making of, and a bit of a showing off for a band from Dallas, TX called “The Gibbonses.” They approached me after seeing my work for the Infamous Stringdusters and inquired about album art for their upcoming record, “Among The Rubble.” We went through a few sketches to finally land on a house springing up from the rubble of a disaster (we kind of harkened to a recent tornado that had torn through Texas). The band (Jackie and Brandon) were incredibly kind-hearted and easy going people with a direct vision of what they wanted. They made it extremely easy to work together and brought a warmth and excitement that was not only fun, but genuine and driving to reach the finished product. Whenever I make stuff, I always start a photo share thing on the iPhone where I can show clients what step we’re on in the building process. Seeing their comments come in as we progressed was such an inspirational force. While I’ve only spoken on the phone to the band, they still feel like great friends.


How we made it: I’m SO lucky to know Incite Productions (Justin and Katie). Normally, we would’ve built every aspect from scratch, however, as I was out gathering mini wood pieces and plaster for tiny bricks, I stumbled on a pre-fabricated house that was totally perfect for The Gibbonses’ vision. Katie from Incite then took that house and aged it using a combination of paint, plaster, knives, and sandpaper. She did such a wonderful job giving the plastic house some life. She went off an old photograph from one of my blog posts from a winter in Elkhorn, WI as inspiration. She didn’t stop there, either. She then went home and painted this GORGEOUS backdrop to put behind the scene. She’s so talented…my gosh. While she was working on that, Bronwyn and I started on the ground cover. I used this great molding paper, plaster, flock, turf, miniature old trees, and burnt pieces of wood to create the general ground cover. After that, we needed rubble; so, I took hundreds of popsicle sticks, broke them in tiny pieces, stained them, and used Hydrocal to give them a broken look.

How I lit it: So, when you’re dealing with miniature sets, lighting can be a bit tricky. In my experience, using full sized lights isn’t always the best option unless you have super small grids or snoots. This round, I created an overall key with Christmas lights and popped the house using a small handheld LED – at points, I used the LED inside the house itself. From there, I filled shadows using a 15$ ring light from Amazon. Literally…get that 15$ ring light. Gary Isaacs (one of my absolute favorite people/artists in town) once told me about how great those little suckers are, and he was absolutely right. Outside of that, I rarely shoot anymore without the help of my little fog machine…this shoot was no exception. I fogged the hell outta my basement while remote triggering my camera and moving lights all around to experiment with different harshness/softness of shadows. It was kind of funny to watch…like a spastic dance of pushing a remote while moving lights this way and that, all with a fog machine trigger dangling out of my pocket. It was like Dr. Octopus in slow motion. Side note: Fog has such a beautiful way of spreading light and filling shadows, it’s like a hyper-stylized reflector at times.

I hope you enjoy some of these iPhone pictures of the process!

I hope you enjoyed! See you tonight at Office Hours!

+ S


The Gibbonses – Website

Incite Productions – Tumblr

Gary Isaacs – Website

Ring light – Amazon (I guess it’s 30$ now. It used to be 15$. Stupid inflation)

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