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Californication

Discussion
Mar 23, 2011
by: SeanD

One of the most interesting projects of the year thus far has been to illustrate a music lyric or literary text using photography. As someone deeply interested in music, I was eager to start this project as soon as possible and began listing ideas for songs I could use - but I was faced with a problem; most of the subjects in the songs I chose were somewhat difficult to capture using photography. After brainstorming and narrowing down my selections, I decided on a lyric from one final song, took dozens of photos and edited them to create one image that fit the one I had imagined:

Amongst the songs I had considered was "Californication" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, from the 1994 album of the same name. The track comments on the increasing emphasis that the world has on materialism and being what the media says is 'perfect,' especially those images stemming from Hollywood and based on celebrities.  I had always liked the following lyric and thought it would be interesting to include in the project:

 

 

"Destruction leads to a very rough road
But it also breeds creation
And earthquakes are to a girl's guitar
They're just another good vibration
And tidal waves couldn't save the world
From Californication"

To capture this lyric through photography, I took a good number of pictures of my girlfriend, Starr, holding a guitar on my couch. Then, to capture the 'earthquake' portion of the lyric, I searched the sidewalks of my neighborhood to find any sufficient cracks or breaks in the concrete. Using the original image of Starr as a base and two sidewalk photos, I blended them using Picnik, and the above image was produced. I couldn't edit them just randomly, though - I had to adopt the sort of dark, grim tone that songwriter Anthony Kiedis gave it. So, I edited the photos so that they reflected the given mood of the song, and was actually quite satisfied with the final result.