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

Lana Del Rey: Can She Live?

Issue: February/March 2012

Photographer: Glynis Selina Arban (@glyselarb)

Written By: Brad Wete

 

She initially wasn't going to do it; she didn't want to do it, and we were actually kind of surprised.

 

Brent Rollins: "The Lana Del Rey cover pretty much came off of the strength of 'Video Games,' so we were pretty excited, because it was like, this chick is going to be huge. I found it intriguing, because she was truly at the beginning of her career as an artist."

Gina Batlle: "For both of this issue's covers that was really exciting—introducing people who are just starting their careers."

Brent Rollins: "We started off the year with two artists who people are talking about. We were trying to figure out what to do with her, outside of the fact that her music is very melancholy. I look at different images for general inspiration, and the original idea was going to be her in a raincoat in the rain with water reflections, which didn't end up happening. Giving her a prop was good. It didn't seem out of character. We try to come up with covers that reflect the time of year that the cover is coming out, so that was our thought. She initially wasn't going to do it; she didn't want to do it, and we were actually kind of surprised."

Gina Batlle: "They pitched an idea to us."

 

Lana was standing in a tank like a kiddy pool, and we had this guy with a nozzle make it rain on her with a little bit of wind. It was all like a movie.

 

Brent Rollins: "She wanted to be Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. Now knowing more of what her influences are, I understand it, but I was like, huh?"

Gina Batlle: "We were able to convince her team that we had this awesome idea. The puddle reflection thing didn't really work out, but that's why we incorporated a lot of the mirrors you can see in the story."

Brent Rollins: "We talked to Glynis, the photographer, who wanted to prove herself this go-around and was more into it. She decided to stop shooting with strobes and started using movie lights, so the set gets hot, but the quality of light is a lot better; it's more cinematic. The raindrops were totally her style. Lana was standing in a tank like a kiddy pool, and we had this guy with a nozzle make it rain on her with a little bit of wind. It was all like a movie."

Gina Batlle: "She walked in and didn't know what was happening; because I don't think her team really communicated the concept with her. I was nervous, because this was my first cover. Was she going to walk off? We have the rain in the studio and she was very hesitant."

 

When you're a new artist, I understand the hesitancy with your image...you're trying to get people used to looking at you one way, and the thought of dressing a different way is difficult.

 

Brent Rollins: "Then it happened, and everyone was like, it looks fucking amazing. She was actually surprised that it was a woman photographer, too. We shot it, and it came out way better than expected. It looks like a painting; the backdrop was painted, but even the clothes look painted because of the light. This was her first American cover. Then of course the Saturday Night Live thing happened, and people thought the cover was some sort of metaphor for haters, but obviously we shoot the covers months in advance. When you're a new artist, I understand the hesitancy with your image, because you can't switch it up; you're trying to get people used to looking at you one way, and the thought of dressing a different way is difficult."

Gina Batlle: "We decided on this cover and photographer, because Glynis has a delicate, feminine sensibility. The result is just really soft and gentle, which I think plays well with Lana's image."

Read the Cover Story

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