I’m very excited to share the artwork I created for latest album from acclaimed violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, Mirror in Mirror. Late last year Anne and I began discussing a trip to the desert to photograph her for a series of images to accompany the album she was working on. She describes the project — which took nearly 10 years to complete — as transcendent, reflective and very personal, so she wanted the artwork to reflect that.
After some discussion, we realized there were a few too many obstacles to make a desert shoot a practical option. First, it was late in the year, which meant very short days and chilly weather. Second — and by far most importantly — is that Anne’s violin is the “Vieuxtemps” Guarneri del Gesu. Crafted in 1741 and in pristine condition, it’s considered to be one of the finest violins in existence. It was most recently purchased at a price estimated to be north of $16 million, making it the most valuable violin in the world. It does not go to the desert.
So, rather than deal with cold temps, short days and substituting an inferior violin, we decided the best option was to set up a studio at her Los Angeles home and composite her into desert scenes I had previously photographed. These are the results.
I’ve listened to the album a couple times now and it’s beautiful. It features a mixture of original commissions and arrangements with a list of composers that includes Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt and Maurice Ravel. I recommend that you treat yourself by picking up a copy here.
On a technical note, we shot a number of lighting scenarios considering the different background options I could provide, but Anne ended up going with the night shots for the album. The lighting for those images was primarily a Profoto head shot through a large Elinchrom Octabank. I previously posted a preview of this shoot where I elaborated a little more on the technical aspects and what it was like shooting around such a valuable instrument. Not nerve-racking at all.
I’ve also included some additional publicity photos we shot that day, including a couple of black and white photos shot experimenting with an antique Graphic View camera using sheets of New55 film. Love the results!
Some of my favorite shoots involve collaborating with creative subjects, and working with Anne was no exception. She was a pleasure to work with, and I’m happy to see the results of our collaboration out in the world.