In March 2021, I finally got to shoot something I had been working on for over a year! OVERLOAD was a concept I had been thinking about since the beginning of quarantine in 2020 & I wanted to creatively grapple with all of the emotions I was going through. During this time, I think we ALL learned a little bit more about ourselves and how we could be alone together. It was a difficult time with a lot of adjustments that took so many people out of their everyday routines. Ultimately, this photoshoot was created to represent the overwhelming feelings of sadness, frustration, fear, and anger I was dealing with & hopefully resonate with others who felt the same way.
How did OVERLOAD come to life?
Like with many of my concepts, this all started with just a mental vision. I was sure I'd seen something like this before with burning newspapers, but none of them were specific to the struggles of COVID. However, I was confident I'd be able to find inspiration on Pinterest.
This is definitively the shortest Pinterest board I've ever created, but it was mostly put together to show Kassie what the vibe was supposed to be.
My goal after this was to create a one of a kind background piece that would show the emotions I intended to portray. What I needed was NEWSPAPERS...and I needed a lot of them...
I started off with a pretty large canvas I got from Michael's. At this point, I knew I was going to ask Kassie to be a part of this and she was pretty small so I knew I didn't need too much room to work with. I cannot find the exact size I chose, but it was about the size of 3/4 of my body and I'm only 5'3".
While at Michael's I also came across some neon orange and yellow paint that I really resonated with & I picked those up as well to add more color to what would otherwise be a very colorless photoshoot.
In terms of newspapers, I asked for some coworkers to bring some into the office for me. At the time, my friend Nanya was able to bring me a large enough stack of newspapers to create my art piece and that worked out really well.
To create my backdrop, I ripped out individual pieces of newspaper with big headlines or photos I felt represented my mood and used Mod Podge to adhere them all to my canvas. Once I had laid down everything, I went over the entire thing with a layer of Mod Podge to make sure everything would stay protected.
The only prop I ended up purchasing were the flame sunglasses which you can find on Fox & Raine's website: Click here for the same sunglasses style
The Actual Photoshoot Experience
My friend Sarah was gracious enough to let us set fires in her backyard which I am very grateful for. Kassie agreed to this wild concept and met me there. I came prepared with more newspapers I purchased from Ralph's, a new lighter, a bucket of water, and a large box to prop up my canvas backdrop. Matt had created a great stand for it using a hinge and a piece of fence post wood from Home Depot.
Sarah helped us light newspapers while I snapped photos and once the fire was getting to dangerous to hold, we would drop it into our bucket of water that was on the ground right in front of her. It was basically a very simple process that worked out way better than I had expected it would.
The only thing that didn't go exactly as planned was burning the whole canvas at the end. It didn't light as well as I thought it would, but it definitely photographed well all the same. I'm currently using the photos as my phone wallpaper.
This editing process was a lot more difficult than I expected. I wasn't sure how I wanted to edit these as they all had varying lighting and I obviously had no control over the fire. However, I think a lot of these turned out really well & I love the final result. Here's a quick before and after for you to check out what I ended up doing.
The Final Photo
This photoshoot did end up being really therapeutic for me. It did help me creatively express how I felt about lockdown, COVID, and how everyone made me feel in 2020. I had a lot of fun setting fires with these incredible ladies & saying fuck the government in my OVERLOAD playlist. If you want to celebrate some anarchy, click here to listen to my antigovernmental song selections.
Please enjoy a full gallery of all of Overload. Some of these were never posted so here's your full behind the scenes look.