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Three times a lady
Just a couple of weeks ago, Belgium had its high mass of metal: Graspop Metal Meeting. I've been working for the festival many years now. I don't just see it as a photo paradise. It's also a place where I get to see and meet my band buddies. Three of those are Epica, Lacuna Coil and Arch Enemy. Epica performed on the first day and the two latter the second day. About a week before the event, I had dropped a line at Cristina and Alissa's door, asking if they were up to doing some photos together. I almost instantly got a positive reply. Timing would be an issue though, because both show slots were pretty close to each other on different stages. We decided we'd figure it out on the day, with the guarantee it was going to happen. Well, from my experience I know how stressful festivals can be. However, we were all very hopeful.
On the first day of Graspop, when I was talking to Simone of Epica, she told me Cristina had been talking to her about this shoot. Apparently, Epica had a day off at Graspop the next day, since they were in between shows (Graspop and Hellfest). When I asked her if she wanted to take part in the photoshoot, she eagerly accepted, as if she had been hoping for the possibility to arise.
Saturday was the day of the shoot. Cristina was there really early. We had a first talk at like 11am and we were both thrilled about the shoot that was going to happen later that day.
A bit later, Simone arrived and Arch Enemy's tourmanager Andre showed up as well. I talked to them about a possible timing. Since Alissa needed both some sleep and enough time to warm up, we decided to do it in between shows: after Lacuna Coil's set and before Arch Enemy would be heading to the stage.
So, finally, at around 6pm, it was shoot time! I had set all lights in the backstage studio in advance, so I could focus on one thing only: getting everyone together on time. As soon as Lacuna Coil had finished their set, the band, Simone and I jumped into the van back to the backstage. Alissa was going to arrive in about 15 minutes from the hotel, so that gave both Cristina and Simone some time to freshen up, change clothes, fix make-up etc.
Cristina went back into her dressing room and Simone headed for her tourbus. I was going to come knocking on their door as soon as Alissa arrived. So, about twenty minutes passed and Alissa showed up, in full stage gear. She was charming as always, almost stabbing me in the neck with the pointy ends of her awesome jacket ;)
I gathered Cristina and Simone and the three of us walked to the studio. The look on all the guys' faces backstage who saw me strolling along with these three ladies by my side ... priceless! :)
Once in the studio, there was only me, Cristina, Simone and Alissa. Andre was there as well, maybe because he wanted to have his picture taken as well? Next time my friend ;)
On shoots like these, I don't like to give too many directions. There was only one instruction I gave to all ladies: 'act as if you wanted to portray your stage presence'. And boy, they went for it!
It took us about ten minutes to finish the shoot. We talked for a bit longer. Alissa left, so she could prepare for the show while Cristina and Simone stayed a little longer, since they loved to have some more pictures.
Sometimes people approach me and ask how I do it that I get to do a shoot like this. Well, when you work with people a couple of times, you start building up a certain relationship. One could call it mutual respect. We appreciate and support each other's work dearly, so when a possibility like this emerges, it all happens so naturally.
I'll be releasing some more footage later. For now, this picture will have to do.
Talk to you later!