On the second floor of an old brick building in downtown Provo, Trevor Christensen attaches the flash to his camera and starts clicking away. It took longer than expected to paint the traditional Indian design on the model’s skin and now, with the sun gone down, Christensen finally gets to do what he does best.
This is the fifth photo shoot that Christensen, a 22-year-old Provo photographer, has done for a series of posters for Back Chat, a self-proclaimed “all male girl-rock band.” Along with band leader, Cody Rigby, Christensen has produced an eye-catching sequence of show posters that not only promote events, but also help establish the bounds of the band’s experiential realm.
“We want to have a cohesive experience, from our posters to our live shows through to our recordings,” Rigby said. “We want everyone to feel like they’re a part of the movement.”
According to Rigby, the thematic continuity of the posters, which feature the painted necks and collarbones of various models, is directly related to the themes and emotions of his band’s music.
To achieve his vision for the band’s overall aesthetic, Rigby began working with Christensen on show posters last year. Developing a viable working relationship came naturally for the two friends, with each partner filling in where the other lacks.
“Cody is a lot more on the emotional side and I’m a lot more on the technical side,” Christensen said. “He can say how he wants something and I get to interpret it. We really balance each other out.”
Both artists agree that their photo shoots require a lot of planning and preparation. Before they even lay a stroke of paint on their models or set up the studio, the duo conceptualizes posters using the popular social photo sharing website Pinterest.
“It’s good because Cody didn’t have a very large visual vocabulary at first and we weren’t connecting,” Christensen said. “But with this I can say, ‘Do you like this photo or this photo?’ And, ‘Let me tell you about the differences and why you would do this over this.’ It’s a good way of communicating.”
When the final image is ready, after Christensen has made the necessary edits and added the appropriate text, the pair works with friends to do a “media blitz,” plastering the city with posters and stickers as well as sharing the images online. Their insistence on spreading their message in both physical and digital forms helps them reach a broader audience.
“It’s kind of about getting to people the way that they want you to talk to them,” Christensen said. “Some people want to connect through Tumblr or Twitter and some people want to connect through Facebook. Some people want to see a show poster or be handed a flier because they identify with something physical more than something digital.”
As evidence of the positive reception of their work, consider the newfound plight of Christensen and Rigby.
“There are people who take down the Back Chat posters as soon as we hang them up because they want to put it on their wall,” Christensen said. “It’s kind of a pain for us, but it’s also the biggest compliment we could get.”
Back Chat’s latest poster promotes its show today at Muse Music Cafe. Doors open at 8 p.m., the cost is $7. Visit backchatmusic.com for more information and a free song download.