A truly great band press photo — an image that, ideally, simultaneously depicts the key subject, creates a compelling and memorable visual and is suitable for mass distribution — is strangely a rare find.
But in a picture tethered to the January release of Local Natives’ Hummingbird, the Los Angeles four-piece and photographer Bryan Sheffield have managed to work some magic.
During his three-day shoot with the clever, playful Indie Rock/Pop band, Sheffield captured several images, but one of the group floating in cold water in Malibu, Calif., is particularly affecting.
Local Natives are seen from pecs up, engulfed in what is presumably the Pacific Ocean, wearing pensive expressions and with no single off-screen object hooking everyone’s attention. The tint is faded and the colors drift toward the dusky, dark end of the spectrum. Mixed sensations — happiness, nostalgia, melancholy, uncertainty — hang over the scene. The whole thing is so striking that you’re instantly praying that the pic has some actual meaning to it. Thankfully, vocalist/guitarist Taylor Rice is able to deliver.
“Coming off of people (knowing) us from Gorilla Manor, the last few years for us have been super intense,” Rice says, referencing his outfit’s 2010 debut record. “There’s a level that’s pretty obvious in that the amount of success we got went far past what anybody even allows themselves to dream. We had all these incredible experiences, but we also had a lot of very surreal and difficult times as well. Hummingbird really embodies that dichotomy and that’s why, for me, that photo does capture that thing."
Local Natives play 8 p.m. Monday, March 25 at the Madison Theater in Covington. Tickets are $18. madisontheateronline.com.