Country Music Star: Another Woman of Influence in the Arts

A year ago, Jessica came to me with an exciting request: to create images that visually translate the lyrics from her latest music. This styled music cover portrait session was another opportunity to get the creative juices flowing and practice my craft.

Her songs talk of her hometown (Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon, Québec), her ties to Newfoundland and Labrador, her Metis heritage, and the sea.

“Love of the coast that flows through my soul.”

I’ve never been to Blanc-Sablon, and the mighty St-Lawrence river isn’t quite the Atlantic ocean. However, the frozen waterway, ice, and snow would have to do. We needed to figure out a way to bridge the 2500-kilometer gap!

The majestic Thousand Islands is one of the country’s most beautiful places to live. At the time of the photo shoot, we had arctic-like temperatures and ice thick enough to drive over. So we had a lot to work with.

One of the cameras froze a few times. Luckily, I had other camera bodies that my assistant kept warm so we could rotate them. The light meter was indiscernible so I couldn’t tell if the shot was properly exposed or not. The LCD screen on the back used up too much battery power so I couldn’t check the shots. Another camera’s digital sensor went wonky and added weird noise to the image files. I had to rely on my instinct and experience hoping the images would turn out. They did. I love the results.

This may sound strange but it felt like I was guided toward the settings I should be using. As I lost access to the digital controls, the cameras became simple metal boxes that let light in. It felt like my gut instinct was guiding me to only look at the scene and make this woman’s essence shine through.

At various moments during the photography session, the sun came out from behind the clouds and provided the most perfect halo around her body. I had natural rim light outside the photo studio! How awesome was that?

Also used during this shoot were “Hot Shots”. Lots of “Hot Shots” for the crew and the artist’s mittens and socks. Although it was well below zero, we stayed toasty warm. We had mapped out the shoot beforehand and we were very efficient. We had to be.

Jessica Lavallee’s music is everywhere online. Her first single is called Small Town Girl. You may stream it here:

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