A Woman’s Photograph: the Music of Still-Life

How do you choose to be portrayed? If we are what we wear, what we say, and even what we eat, we are rightfully a little overwhelmed.  What is the importance of a photograph, if any? What makes intention in photography of women so important? For me while doing a shoot this weekend in New York City, I decided to take a different approach, and throw it all out the window. Literally. We did an entire photoshoot in my empty apartment in Manhattan.

Sometimes I really like to pay attention to how I look – And occasionally, I don’t. As a writer who just cut an album, I have been running around, and you can tell. Whether I play a show that I just hopped out of a car for, or I just completely forgot to comb my hair, something has to give.  While on stage with my attire I pay attention, I don’t want to think too much about it, I mean image is only as we make of it… Right?

But what if you are actually making an image? And how do you decide who you are visually? And what if you change your mind? Me, I easily wade through my black o black wardrobe, but sometimes it is fair to say I just find it easier that way to blend in and let the music do the talking. To be fair – who is looking at me anyway? I recently have realized that I give myself way too much credit, and that the general public is way too wrapped up in stories of their own, to care about mine, or my image as a musician, and woman.  Maybe nobody cares what these photographs look like by me. Maybe I don’t need to dilute it at all.


Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez

Ani Difranco has a song in which se says, ‘People talk about my image, like I come in 2 dimensions / Like lipstick is a sign of my declining mind.’  It always makes me laugh – Because either way, dolled up or dirtied down, her words remind me of the frivolity of it all.  Instead of wandering through this world unsurprised, I hope there is a way to take the audacity out of my mind, and remember that I actually don’t know what everyone is thinking, and all of their perceptions, before I even meet them. How’s that for mocking my own self-consciousness?

So, a photographer and I shot in my apartment, next to my deflating air mattress, and my clothes rack with no clothes on it.  We shot, in my neighborhood, in clothes bought for $10 at my favorite consignment store — on my fire escape, on my dusty wooden floor, on the street. After all the work that goes into most professional photoshoots, it struck me at how simple this one easy – and that my desire to be liked, and looked at a certain way, had really gotten in the way of what I’m trying to do musically, which is just to tell stories.  It doesn’t matter how pretty my songs look. It doesn’t matter how strong they look either. By shooting in my empty Manhattan tenement, we got a lot closer to the truth of my story, than I ever have before – If you are anything at all, you’re definitely not up for interpretation. An image will always be unacceptable to someone… But you, are acceptable always.

SARA RACHELE, an independent songwriter from Decatur, Georgia, a hot-bed for local folk music, cut her teeth in the Atlanta scene cleaning out the cupboards at Eddie’s Attic in the early 2000s. Rachele returns to her hometown from her life in New York City to track her first solo record, a compilation of folksongs written while living in Manhattan’s East Village. 2014 brings her debut live-to-tape LP: Diamond Street, produced by Kristofer Sampson (New West Records) featuring artist J. Thomas Hall (Normaltown Records.) The record was completed in 48 hours, and thus aptly named after the studio in which it was recorded: Diamond Street Studios of Little 5 Points, Atlanta, GA. Rachele’s whispered croons and folk-guitar underpinnings have been compared to the likes of Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, and Mazzy Starr. Visit her website, Like her Facebook Page and Follow her on Twitter @SaraRachele



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