Alicia Keys: Unlocking Alicia
Issue: December 2012/January 2013
Photographer: Gavin Bond
Written By: Rob Kenner (@boomshots)
Noah actually made a sketch of her in a window. It was supposed to be more natural.
Gina Batlle: "We had a meeting about how we were going to present Alicia Keys. We wanted to keep it simple but not dismissible."
Brent Rollins: "Her first single off of the new album, "Girl on Fire," was easy to riff off of, but she had already done a shoot with fire, so that was off the table. That put us in the position of going in a different direction, and this one actually came from Noah, in the sense that there have always been cover ideas we've wanted to do. '70s Playboy magazines have always had great covers, so keeping with the time of year, we were trying to show it raining outside. Noah actually made a sketch of her in a window. We wanted to present her not wistful and not "fashion-shooty"—it was supposed to feel more natural."
Gina Batlle: "I had a conversation with her team and what they envisioned for her new album. This is her first album after having a baby. We went into it looking at her other stuff. Previous shoots always had a lot going on with her, whether it was really intense styling or the concepts were just over the top. We thought, 'What if we strip her down—make it simple and just be like this is Alicia Keys.' We were fortunate that this was the idea they were pushing, too, so we were able to continue."
They built the set, and we didn't have much time, so we shot her in that window pretty much like the original sketch.
Brent Rollins: "The photographer, Gavin Bond, hadn't worked with us for a while, but it seemed like a good opportunity, because he is good at shooting women. He had actually shot with her before, so there was a comfort level already established. They built the set, and we didn't have much time, so we shot her in that window pretty much like the original sketch. The window was dropped in afterwards with the skyline. Before it was just the white light, and it looked good, but we just wanted to give it a little something. She's from New York and reps New York openly, so we found some examples of the skyline that Gavin shot at a friend's house."
Gina Batlle: "His friend lived across from this woman with these huge open windows."
Brent Rollins: "We had finished the shoot and wished that there was a window in it. We ended up dropping one behind her, and that was that."