Editor’s Note: This post was drafted on this date but not finished or published. I believe that at the time I was waiting for one of the photos from the shoot to add to it. I’ve retroactively published it as one of my last written accounts of Filmstar prior to the band dissolving in September of the same year.
Being in a band involves a lot of activities other than playing music – organizing cables, sending emails, promoting shows, and posing for photos, among many other administrative and hard labor tasks.
You might assume photo shoots are the most fun of all the non-music-playing options. I mean, who can argue with being glamorous and having a photographer follow you around for a day?
I’ll admit, that part is pretty fun. But as someone who occasionally manages photo shoots for a living, I know it’s not all lipgloss and striking a pose. There is a lot of organization that goes into a good photo shoot, and when it is lacking it the quality of your photos can become a matter of chance.
That whole diatribe is for another time.
On Saturday all of Filmstar convened at new drummer Brad’s house in Northern Liberties, along with longtime fan Jake (not Arcati Crisis Jake), who was our photographer for the day. I’ve resisted in appearing in band photos since I joined, as I’m still technically a contracted player and not a band member, but with half of the band from the prior photos gone I had to submit to finally stepping in front of the camera.
We started out in an underpass. I know – bands and their brick walls, fences, and urban decay. So tiresome. Except, this particular underpass was rife with colorful, artful graffiti – some of which was dedicated to the recently deceased artist Moebius. So, not your typical graffiti. We also lugged a massive old monitor cabinet with us from Brad’s house to sit on and pose around. A great shot can be just a single prop away.
After the underpass we were intent on finding some other picturesque NoLibs locations to shoot. We had a few favorite bars in mind, but hadn’t had a chance to call ahead and ask for permission.
We walked towards Girard Avenue, debating the best approaches to springing a photo shoot on an unexpecting bartender, when we passed a fantastical wonderland of vintage lighting. It was a lighting fixture warehouse, whose massive load-in ramp was marked with a felled art deco lighting fixture that was flanked with high-backed chairs bearing decommissioned chandeliers.
Glam Decay. The perfect playground for Filmstar.
It turned out that the shop’s owner was a former owner of JC Dobbs from its 80s heyday. You find these sorts of connections all around Philly. He regaled us with stories of a young Kurt Cobain and renting light fixtures to Angelina Jolie movies while we scouted his shop for interesting photos. Well, I mean, the whole place was interesting photos, but we were trying to find one that we would look good standing in.
Feeling quite ingenious and victorious after our impromptu location, we headed into the bars and did what any intrepid band of beer-appreciators would do in that situation – we turned our photo shoot into a bar crawl. In an effort to not have to ask awkward questions about photography, we simply ordered a round of beers at each one.
This had the added bonus of loosening us up a bit. Not that we weren’t loose and gorgeous in our pictures already.