NORMA JEAN | LUMINAERIES
With a little hard work, persistence and dedication, everything comes full circle and opportunities will eventually present themselves.
I’ve worked in the music industry, photographing bands large and small, on and off for the better part of 18 years now. Although this type of work is not at the very forefront of my portfolio/brand, I still love working with musicians, bands and artists to this day, having been an avid heavy metal music fan since I was a kid. The music industry is an interesting beast and I’ve discovered through the years that, like most clients, it really seems to be driven by the development of relationships and creating the best possible work that stays at the forefront of the game. Having worked with countless bands and record labels over the years, I have learned a ton, gained some valuable production experience and have made some life long friendships I never thought would have been possible.
For those who know me well, I’ve been a huge fan of the band Norma Jean since their 2002 debut release, Bless The Martyr and Kiss the Child. It was an album that stuck with me for years and carried me through many difficult and challenging times throughout the past decade. As their discography grew through the years, amidst line-up changes and an ever-evolving industry, the band has remained at the top of my list of favorite bands.
In 2013, I reached out to the guys in Norma Jean through their record label at the time to see if I could shoot some portraits of them while they made a tour stop in Milwaukee. I was able to work with them for about 30 minutes before their show and quickly developed a relationship with them. I was a major fanboy, full of nervousness and awkward conversation. But I was able to shoot some photos and kept in contact with them through social media over the next couple of years.
In January of 2016, I received an email from Cory of Norma Jean in which he asked if I would be interested in traveling to Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, MN where they were recording their next album and to shoot some promo photos for them. As a longtime fan, the answer was obvious.
Pachyderm is a renowned recording studio located outside of Minneapolis in a small town, best known for where Nirvana recorded In Utero, Throwing Copper from Live and Failure’s Comfort. Both incredible bands and killer records. Over the years, Pachyderm changed hands in ownership and was left abandoned in ruins and became home to squatters. The studio was then purchased out of foreclosure in 2011 and completely renovated to the exact condition at its inception.
In our early conversations leading up to our wintery trip to Pachyderm to work with Norma Jean, we decided that we would also shoot some video webisodes for the band along with the promo photos, to be released leading up the albums debut. We spent five days embedded with the band in the studio, shooting and filming some of the recording process. We quickly learned that we had shot enough content to create a documentary about the recording process of the album. The days were long, 10-12 hours. But the end result went hand-in-hand with the vibe and emotional intensity of Polar Similar.
Going into this project somewhat blindly, turned into one of the most incredible and memorable experiences Adam and I shared last year. Having spent a week with the band and production team, we walked away with great new friends and unforgettable memories. Everything about our experience at Pachyderm, from witnessing the recording process of Polar Similar to making new relationships and having some of our little influences shine through on the final album, was all I could ever ask for. We’re really proud of this project and are thankful for this time spent with great people.
And besides that, it’s the best Norma Jean record ever released and my favorite album of 2016. Check out the full 45 minute documentary below!
Client: Norma Jean
Label: Solid State Records | Tooth & Nail
A&R: Adam Skatula
Management: Tom Williams | Graphic Nature
Director: David E. Jackson
Producer: Jackson & Co. | Cory Brandan
Editor: Adam Koepke
Art Direction: Cory Brandan
Director of Photography: Adam Koepke & David E. Jackson
Additional Video Assets: Josh Barber
Still Photography: David E. Jackson
Producer & Director of Photography: Adam Koepke
Lead Assistant Still Photography: Adam Koepke
Video Production: Jackson & Co.
Record Producer: Josh Barber
Sound Engineer: Ben Turkovic
LUMINAERIES | The Making of Polar Similar (Full Documentary):
Below is the trailer for Luminaeries:
Below are the press photos we shot during the last day at Pachyderm (and included in the album packaging):
Below are some behind the scenes photos we shot while at Pachyderm Studios with Norma Jean:
See more of Jackson & Co.’s work at www.davidejackson.com!