16 Behind the Scenes Stories About Complex's 2012 Magazine Covers

A$AP Rocky: Rocky Road

Issue: December 2012/January 2013

Photographer: Glynis Selina Arban (@glyselarb)

Written By: Joe La Puma (@jlapuma)

 

He was like, 'I told you I wasn't going to change.'

 

Gina Batlle: "Shooting A$AP Rocky again was awesome. The first time we shot him, we had a conversation about fame, and I remember talking to him about how has his life has changed and how exciting this is for him. One of the things he said was, 'I'm not going to be like those other people who get famous and turn into assholes. I'm going to stay the same.' People say that, but their situation changes. He came in and he was the same."

Brent Rollins: "He remembered me."

Gina Batlle: "He was like, 'I told you I wasn't going to change.' And I was like, 'Damn, you remembered our conversation!'"

 

You have to go into fame knowing all the forces surrounding you.

 

Brent Rollins: "You have to go into fame knowing all the forces surrounding you."

Gina Batlle: "He was very aware of what fame could do to him, so it was cool that he remembered everyone. He was nice, on time, talking to everyone, and he invited everyone to his show. It was cool."

Brent Rollins: "The cover image was actually one of the last shots. We were trying to re-conceptualize, because we had just shot him a year before, and his album was going to be coming out. It's tricky to do that, because it can look weird dressing someone up. We used Game of Thrones as a starting point so the other shots were a mix of humor and fashion, which was interesting. We didn't have a lot of time."

 

That's what makes it a great cover; it can be easily mocked and referenced.

 

Gina Batlle: "We had about three days. We were told that he had a day in New York or else we were going to have shoot him in a random place. All of these things get harder when it's not in a major city."

Brent Rollins: "Noah knows my work; he collected the early magazines I art directed because of the covers. He understands that it's always my goal for these covers to be special. There's something about seeing iconic images of celebrities that gets people excited. In every situation, we have avoided shooting straight portraits, because that's not really the direction we are trying to go in. You want to come up with a story that burns into people.

We didn't have much time to prep, and Glynis has a mystical characteristic to her photographs, so I thought it was a good match for her. I wish we had a crown just to play off of the royal part for the spread. The point is—the final cover is memorable. If someone takes a photo or uses a knife like he does, I'll know what they are referencing. That's what makes it a great cover; it can be easily mocked and referenced."

Read the Cover Story

blog comments powered by Disqus