I had previously worked with Eyedress in Tokyo at Big Love Records. He’s a Philipines based artist who is currently on Lex Records based out of England. He recently did his first coast to coast tour of America for his release of Sensitive G.
When I found myself travelling through Asia in June 2018, I decided to send him an email to reconnect. As luck would have it, he was finishing up his album, Sensitive G, and I was days away from Manila, Philippines.
One email concerning the possibility of doing a shoot in Manila evolved into shooting the cover of his next album on Lex Records. As luck would have it (again), the only camera I had on me was my Hasselblad 500CM.
Unbeknownst to me, 120 format is just what you need for an album cover.
It was hot and sticky when I landed in Manila.
Traversing from cold buildings to the humid outdoor environment of Manila was fogging up my lens. I took special precautions to prevent the issue after the first time it happened. I thought it was going to take a toll on both lens and camera. The only lens I had was my Zeiss Planar C 80mm f/2.8. I was trying to travel light across Asia. Well, as light as you can with a Hasselblad 500cm. Imagine carrying around an RB67… I digress.
We arranged the shoot for my third day in town and I was a bit unprepared. I had some ideas, but really it just boiled down to walking around the city. In retrospect, it seems like an unoriginal idea, but Manila was new to me. Everything looked impressive to my eyes and I had a few of rolls of Lomography and Fuji film to capture it with.
I was running low on film. I had already been travelling for a month at that point and shooting 12 shots per roll gets a bit taxing. Ultimately, the final image would be on Fuji Pro 400H (a film I fell in love with in Japan). I am a sort of shooter that likes to pick up random film and then if I love it, I usually stick to it till I find something else that fits my mood.
“I have a couple of different looks, man.” he said as I was loading my Hasselblad. I was eyeballing the room and he was talking about outfits. Instruments were laying around and a computer. The room was a musician’s heaven. I started shooting to warm up.
It ultimately did not work for Eyedress or me because none of the images shot in the first space made it to the album. After this, we ended driving around, getting some food, and munching on some Halo Halo.
We drove around some more and came across a street that I was just attracted to. Eyedress was with it and we stopped. “Don’t get bit,” he said as I got out of the car. I looked at him strangely and laughed a bit. After a bit more elaboration, he was talking about the mosquitos in the area. It was a random bit to say and it was super funny after it was all elaborated.
We ended up in a neighborhood that had abandoned cars and a varied amount of colors on the walls of buildings. We walked the area and just stopped when I saw something that was cool to me. After three rolls and 36 clicks, the final image would be shot against a blue wall. We parted ways and I eventually made my way back home to Japan.
I developed and scanned my film at National Photo in Harajuku from a recommendation that Bellamy from Japan Camera Hunter gave to me.
Fast forward a couple of months and I am being sent various working versions of the album artwork that varied from not using any of my images on the cover to other artwork being on the cover. It was an exciting time for me. I was stoked that I was even part of the process. From shooting it in June of 2018 to the release date of November 16, 2018, the whole process took five months. It is now a few days from 2019 and my work with Eyedress has appeared on the likes of Highsnobiety to the Washington Post.
My experience with album covers is limited to one I made a few years back for Halo the Human for an album called PizzaHalo. It had a limited physical CD release in California and is currently available online on Soundcloud. It was a triple exposure headshot done on *gasp* digital. My photographic endeavors in recent years have been low key but I’ve been shooting 135 and 120 weekly. Just not showing it to anyone. I am currently working on a photo book from my time in Japan. I basically came out of my self-imposed seclusion to shoot Eyedress.
This album cover is my tribute to film in 2018 because it is not dead, and it’s readily available on all major streaming platforms and if you have a local record store nearby they probably have Sensitive G.
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