December 19, 2016
Our favourite album of 2016.
Last week, we chose Solange’s A Seat At The Table as our top album of 2016. A record that has “all the hallmarks of an enduring classic and wears them with effortless style,” the vinyl edition finally dropped last week, and is every bit as refined as the music.
Working with Barcelona-based photographer and art director Carlota Guerrero, who also collaborated on music videos for ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ and ‘Cranes In The Sky’, Solange bends the soft, pale light typical of Guerrero’s work to reflect the personal and political themes that run through the record.
Shot on a Pentax 6×7 using natural light, Guerrero told FACT magazine: “Solange wanted a close-up portrait that said something like, ‘This is a conversation we are going to have, and you cannot avoid it.'”
For a record that meditates on blackness in contemporary North America, the portrait allows the natural volume of Solange’s hair flow down over her shoulders in a celebration black identity. “You know this hair is my shit, rode the ride, I gave it time, but this here is mine,” she sings on ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’.
“Neal Farinah, the hairdresser, put some clips in the hair to keep the waves,” Guerrero said. “They were not supposed to be the final art, but we liked it them so much we decided to shoot it, and then it became Solange’s favorite shot.”
On the record’s inner sleeve, Guerrero sets up a still life of peeled fruits and jam jars, a subtle reference to the table of the album’s title, and a nod to the relationship between skin and identity made even more explicitly in an image from an accompanying series of photographs.
As well as the vinyl, Solange over saw the creation of an art book with Querida studio, who also took care of the graphic design of the album. Showcasing Guerrero’s photography and lyrics from the album, the editorial project is available though the Solange website, a digital version of which is available to see here.
You can take a closer look at the record below and order your copy here: