We Are The Rhoads Get Expressive for Pandora
Photography and music are two very, very different art forms. Photography is entirely visual: even if it evokes sounds and songs it doesn’t deliver them directly. Music is entirely auditory. Again, if there is visual stimulation from music it’s not a part of the music, it’s a part of the experience. So when We Are The Rhoads were asked by Pandora to create their latest campaign it posed a unique challenge of bringing a visual language to music. “Image making is a two-dimensional output,” says Sarah Rhoads. “You really have to portray so much in just a moment in time.”
When Chris and Sarah Rhoads shoot they always use music in their process so it was no-brainer for them to lean heavily on music when communicating with their subjects. It helped them create a crucible of sensation. “This campaign was all about the different emotions that music can draw out of us,” says Sarah. “It was really fun to be able to work from that place for this campaign because it really freed us up to explore a range of different emotions that music makes us feel.” The music and styles that they chose really set the temperature in the room to get their models in the exact head spaces they wanted, to communicate exactly what they needed. “It was cool to actually be able to change the soundtrack, like actually put on some ‘chill vibes’ and embrace that different tone,” says Chris. “Something that we do when we direct is really get people into the character and it’s cool to see that translated even in print as well; that the change in tone really helps facilitate an end result.” The relationship that the Rhoads have with music is already critical to their style, so this blending was seamless.
In addition to the still campaign, they created a short film to highlight how this vision came together. But they wanted to offer something unique. “We wanted to bring in this real rawness into the imagery that felt almost cinematic,” says Sarah. “We wanted that through not just the images but also the film, so we decided to shoot it on actual film.” They reached for a 16mm camera and shot actual film. It was going to give them a look that has become popular, but usually something that’s faked. The Rhoads wanted to do it legit. “If we want to recreate this, why don’t we just shoot it this way?” says Chris. “It’s really cool to see the natural character of film. It’s so rarely done anymore, and it’s always imitated but it’s really cool to actually get in there and see how the colors reveal themselves just as they are instead of using post effects to affect and manipulate that.” They took their thousand feet of exposed film (yes, really, one thousand feet) (and used the same processor that Christopher Nolan used for Interstellar), and turned it into a video that gets to the heart of what the campaign is all about: Emotions. Energy. Music. And loving the relationship between expression and art.