“I think you deserve to look back on your life without this chorus a resounding voices saying “I could have but it’s too late now.” So there’s a time for silent, and there’s a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you’ll know it. And I don’t think you should wait. I think you should speak now.”Taylor Swift
‘Speak Now’ as a concept shoot was one album I was pretty directed on what I wanted to do. Many of these other albums have SO many different shoots tied to them, or different aesthetics that I wasn’t sure what exact angle to take [still looking at you ‘1989’]. However, Speak Now was one that when it was released was pretty directly forward on the aesthetic.
‘Speak Now’ was the first album created by Taylor Swift herself. In response to a critic who wrote about her, saying she lip synced during tours, Bob Lefsetz, she not only wrote a song titled “Mean,” about him, told him “you can dislike my music but don’t create blatant lies about me,” and then produced an album all by herself. Sadly, this is a recurring theme throughout Taylor’s life. Shitty men constantly telling her she isn’t good, when she is making record sales, creating the strongest fan base known to any artist, and is breaking records in every genre. Throughout her life she gets to do this more and more every album, and if they weren’t recognized when they were released, they surely will be now that she is doing re-recordings to take ownership of her music.
This shoot I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a mix of the old cover, with something a little bit more new. So I mixed the original color of the album [purple] and took the vibes from “I Bet You Think About Me,” from her recent release of ‘Red’ and the music video that Blake Lively produced. The deluxe release did have a red dress instead of purple on it, as an easter egg [kinda] of what album was coming next. I say kinda because she hadn’t been hurt at that point, I don’t think, and I’m not sure if she exactly new that ‘Red’ would be the next album, but we can speculate about it [lol].
My best friend Carly helped me do a lot of cleaning up, fogging, and lighting for this shoot – and I rented a gown from Olivia’s Rentals. I found the perfect lavender dress that had the same amount of fluff as the “I Bet You Think About Me,” video, although, I did find the ACTUAL gown of it in purple but it was 600 dollars. [loloolol no]. Now I see, it is 300, so that makes me sad. Totally would have done it.
For this shoot I also was thinking stage, stage lights, not only because of the video production but also because ‘Speak Now’ had a massive tour and besides her album shots, most of the shots of her during this time were during the tour itself. Many dresses, many purple dresses, many sequins. It was the ultimate time of femininity for Taylor, after the country ‘Fearless,’ vibe, she really took on the romanticized “Love Story” vibe. So I rented out Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids, MI, and they were SO kind in letting me use their space. I also really wanted to include a guitar, because although she does play for some of her shows now, more than ever it was connected to her for her ‘Fearless,’ and ‘Speak Now’ years. So I brought my 12-string Takemine and placed it in Brianna’s hands [she did great holding something she didn’t play, btw].
I realize these blogs get more detailed every time I do them [lol], I am simply trying to stay on task and just discuss the images created for the shoot- and elaborate more in my longer blog with all of them combined, but honestly, this project has fueled so much creativity for me. I notice myself photographing outside the box for my hired clients, coming up with new ideas, and really breaking into something new and actually unique instead of the same bullshit images you see online everywhere with the same preset. So although I’m sure some roll their eyes at me or make fun of me for doing this – the fact is I am learning and growing, and they may not be able to say the same.
Cause the haters’ gonna hate hate hate hate hateShake it off – 1989
Here are some of my images from the stage I adore:
Here was my inspiration for the shoot in totality [some of these are fan recreations for Taylor’s Version but I LOVED them]:
For the second half of the shoot I as thinking about stage presence, and also the song ‘Speak Now,” although, not taken in a church, kinda amongst the seats. These feel kinda ‘1989,’ but also very world tour – which I think work too. Personally I LOVE the theatre seats images.
Just many sequins, much confetti, many celebrations in that tour alone. I would have done “enchanted,” but I feel like the big purple dress on the stage kind of wrapped up that song and album all in one.
There are so many songs on this album that are undervalued. “Dear John,” “Haunted,” “Ours,” are all songs I like to gatekeep [lol], but also a beginning of a new style that she would follow. “Dear John” is just so savage because it has the same riffs and tab progression as John Mayers “Gravity,” as an even further way to dig at him – Genius. There are so many ways to represent this album and these specific songs, but maybe I’ll showcase those a bit later in my spare time this year 😉
BUT That’s a wrap.