The Decemberists shoot, Portland Oregon. June 23, 2006. Period styling. Press shots for Capitol Records.
A 14 hour day. The Decemberists had just signed on with Capitol Records and were getting ready to release their new cd, The Crane Wife.
Autumn de Wilde (the photographer) had flown in most of her crew from LA, and brought some of us up from Seattle. I had worked with Autumn on several other shoots for Barsuk Records, along with some of my favorite people in Seattle assisting and styling. My good friend Jenny Jimenez was Autumn’s assistant, Anna Lange (owner of the Pretty Parlor) was the assistant wardrobe stylist, and I was assisted by Jenni Hensler. The first location was the John Palmer House, a historical victorian estate on Mississippi Avenue. Rooms and decor befitting the band and it’s sound.
Here is the video of the shoot:
The sounds of obscure instruments filled the house, along with the banjo, guitar, and Colin Meloy singing. It felt like a party. Everyone was tinkering with something. The stylists were busy steaming vintage costumes, Autumn was busy framing different shots, and Jenni and I kept up with powder and lip balm. One shot featured a Geisha inspired look (the Crane Wife is a Japanese folk tale). We put Jenny Conlee in a black wig, used a white airbrush foundation by Temptu, and a MAC lipstick called Lady Danger.
The down time was spent in the kitchen with amazing food from the caterer (McMenamins), or out in the back yard laying in the grass.
The second location was the Crystal Ballroom on W. Burnside, a historical dancehall built in the 1920’s. The floor upstairs is built so that it bounces when you walk. A Huge backdrop of Mt Fuji was hung from the Balcony, and the prop stylists had brought these amazing hand made umbrellas. My favorite was the umbrella raining coins on the inside, shown in the photo above.
After a long day of shooting and hanging out, the crew was exhausted and starving, as were the band. We got the gear packed up, and headed back to home base at the Jupiter Hotel. There was a cool restaurant/bar called the Doug Fir next door, so we ate a huge late night feast without having to go driving around. We all got our second wind after dinner, so with four girls sharing a room, there were pillow fights and loud laughter until 3am.
We left early the next morning back to Seattle, and listened to the Decemberists’ album Picaresque on the way home. Jenny J. also played me a cd of a band she plays with called Night Canopy, I loved it. A few months later I walked into Sonic Boom Records on Capitol Hill and saw one of the images from the portland shoot on the cover of a magazine called The Big Takeover.
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