Meet the photographers behind our Crack100 exhibition
Our 100th issue has landed and to celebrate we’re hosting a photography exhibition of our most iconic images printed across our pages.
Across 100 issues, each shoot has encapsulated the story of the artist we’ve covered – Grimes playing the villain in a fantasy world was shot by Charlotte Rutherford and digitally edited by Metapoint.xyz for our 99th issue. J Hus, who burst onto the scene spearheading a new London sound, was photographed against the backdrop of his home city by Cian Oba-Smith. And for our milestone cover, the Brutalist architecture of the Barbican builds the fitting image of beauty against bleakness; the contrast being reflective of Thom Yorke’s upcoming solo album, themed around dreams and dystopian visions.
However, as each artist has shared their stories through each issue, we’ve now decided to turn the focus on the photographers who’ve designed and conceptualised the visuals of our magazine. Below, we’ve asked our roster of Crack Magazine photographers to share the details of their visions, and walk us through the practicalities of capturing them.
Each image is being shown at our Crack100 exhibition, which runs from 10-11 May at Shoreditch’s Htown Gallery. Head here for more information.
Yavez Anthonio: I had a lot of freedom to be creative and suggest ideas. My work is mainly inspired by the 90s and 00s, and I wanted to shoot Charli in a heavenly dusk setting that would make her look like a goddess. It was my first time shooting a well-known person and I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous at first! [laughs]
[The shoot] went really well! The energy of the whole team was amazing and Charli was lovely to be around and shoot with. Which, for me, is important because I believe that good energy on set makes the final work better.
Michelle Helena Janssen: The concept for the shoot was finding a balance between masculinity and femininity, Christine turning into Chris. We found our inspiration in archive imagery of royalty and dignitaries. We had such an amazing vibe on set, she joked around and danced, finding common ground with portraying the different characters of Chris. We have named the chair she sat on the Christine chair. We shoot it so often in our studio, but it made a cover for the first time.
Henry Gorse: We wanted to make photographs which honoured the magic of Jeff Mills. We had half an hour to shoot a cover and eight images due to Jeff’s hectic schedule. I had this green balloon I got Jeff to hold his hand over, like he was in control of a whole galaxy or something; the photograph turned out pretty shit but it was this idea of elevation which carried the whole shoot.
Jeff was nice but firm, and when I asked if we could try something different his response was, “I’ve been doing this for three decades, I’ve mastered my own music, fashion and art, I know who I am.” I was like “OK, cool, let’s try this.” Charlotte James styled the shoot, and at one point she had Jeff in this black dress/gown/cape thing by Issey Miyake, if I remember correctly. I mean, it’s fucking perfect.
Emmanuel Olunkwa: For this shoot I was most concerned with isolating this character of Blood Orange and showing Devonté’s tender side behind his moniker. He is a performer but no one really talks about how he executes each album and idea – it is as if everything that he does is isolated or independent from one another. I wanted to give variety and texture to what I understood to be his character concept at the time, in this really stripped down way.
I was nervous. Dev got caught up in something else and didn’t show for hours, and then came and I had two hours to shoot him. So, I used the architecture of the studio as the background to convey this message and then let the story tell itself. It came together quite quickly and naturally.
Joshua Gordon: I’m always just trying to do something a little different with some emotion. [This shoot] was short and sweet, he had to run so we had 10 minutes.
Laura McCluskey: When [former Creative Director] Alfie commissioned the shoot we were allowed full creative control, so it was exciting to come up with ideas for it. I often shoot with stylist Helen McGuckin and we enjoy creating concepts that are built around a character. We wanted to shoot Jorja as a modern day ‘People’s Princess’ using powerful silhouettes. She’s often shot in sportswear and we wanted to create something iconic and regal. As soon as Jorja came on set, she was smiley and chatty and we talked through the looks with Helen. We had Lucy Cooper for set design and she created a beautiful backdrop with a throne-like plinth and theatrical curtains.
Jorja was a pleasure to shoot and her personality was easy to capture. A career highlight.
Ninja Hanna: The ideas for this shoot is connected to the character Fever Ray and the journey she’s been on between her albums. The shoot went smoothly, really no hiccups at all. Fever Ray is amazing to work with, a creative super-force that really inspired the whole team to put their best foot forward.
Jack Bridgland: I wanted to make this shoot fierce and bold. I used red lighting with powerful poses to relay this mood. It was the night of my family birthday meal, in which all of my family members attended, apart from me, ha! I knew Little Simz was a wicked artist and wanted to take the opportunity to shoot her for the cover. It was a quick but smooth shoot, the vibe was wicked.
Clementine Schneidermann: The concept [for this shoot] was conceived with creative director Charlotte James. We wanted to play with colours, flowers and put Thom in the centre of the set. We came across the conservatory of the Barbican, and we both really liked this place. It is a jungle in central London, high in CO2 where you can hear birds and really have the space to relax. Thom stayed for a couple of hours, and was very cooperative.
He is such an icon that it was intimidating at first to photograph him. But I quickly forgot that he was the lead singer of one of my favourite bands and took him as a ‘normal’ person.