The story behind the photo

Shooting with Kerstin Maier

Every now and then I meet artists with whom it is a joy to collaborate, and photographer Kerstin Maier is certainly one of them, a girl for whom no ideas were too ludicrous or locations too uncomfortable.

I had the idea for the ‘Between The Golden Age & The Promised Land’ album cover shoot to be in a river, with me floating away fully clothed. This is really just an illustration of the first song on the album ‘Drunk On Summer’ which describes my last day at school before the summer holidays start.

I knew of a suitable river by an old mill in Sweden with some other good locations nearby, so Kerstin obligingly drove up from the south of Germany and we took a chance with the weather.

The two questions I get asked are; ‘Was it photoshopped’? and ‘Was it cold in the river’? Yes, I really was there, although the designer added some colour. It was August and the water was warm, it really was warm, tepid in fact, about 27C. The lakes and rivers get surprisingly warm in late summer, due to the very long days of clear sunshine. (I once noticed on a weather map that the Baltic was 19C inside the arctic circle.) I stayed in the water for about half an hour and didn’t get cold. Long enough for Kerstin to take a lot of pictures before climbing a tree and get the cover shot.

We found some other good locations including inside the mill..

And in Chris and Nina’s barn, the scene of many good parties.

The first shoot I did with Kerstin was in Germany at Blaufels, a famous mountain in Baden-Württemburg. It was October and I had played a gig the night before but we knew we had to make an early start to catch the light. We were up at about 05.30 and drove as far as we could then walked the last 2 Km in the dark carrying all the camera equipment and the cello with only iPhone torches to show the way. When we reached the summit we realised we were early, about an hour early, and just had to wait in the very cold dawn for the sun to come up. The cliff has a vertical drop to the town of Blaubeuren below, and to a magical blue lake, it’s quite a special place.

The photo is of course based on the famous painting By Caspar David Friedrich which is a composite of views in Sächsische-Schweiz in eastern Germany near Pirna. I played there a couple of years ago and had the idea for the photo then. 

Check out Kerstin’s website she also designed this website for me.

Also, late news, ‘Between The Golden Age & The Promised Land’ is now album of the month at Folk Words