Under The Cover:
The Weather Station
The Weather Station is the musical alias of Canadian singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman. Ignorance, her fifth album, is her most ambitious output yet, and sees Lindeman exploring the climate crisis and what it means for the future. Here, she talks to Hook about the process of creating the record's artwork:
I knew that I wanted the cover to be complicated, and organic—like when you look at a marsh, or a pond, and there's a lot of complex forms. Another thing I was really caught up on was darkness; there's a painting I saw at the Art Gallery of Ontario by Brueghel the Elder, where the underpainting of the painting is black, and then there are these rich colours on blackness. Those were a few things I had in mind, and I knew that I wanted to be on the cover, but I didn't want it to be a portrait of me: I wanted to feel like I was just a prop or a part of the landscape. I had made this mirror suit—originally I thought I might wear it on stage, but then I realised it's not comfortable—and I might blind the audience. It's just shards of mirror glued on a suit. But it becomes this odd mystical, physical object; when I situate myself in the landscape wearing it magic occurs. I took a bunch of photos with my friend, the photographer Rima Sater, and I discovered that with this suit, I could blend into my surroundings, especially in a forest setting. We didn't get the cover that day, but we got a lot of cool photos.
After that I reached out to a photographer named Jeff Bierk, who is an artist I really admire. He had taken some really beautiful photos of a friend of mine and I had always wanted to take photos with him, but this was the first time he had said yes. The way he photographs people is with real dignity, so I wanted that quality. His style really informed the final outcome, he took it to a place that I didn't even know was possible. We took the photo in Hyde Park, which is just a big city park in the west of Toronto, but they let parts of it grow wild. Jeff was the one who came up with the lighting technique—it was midday when we took the photo, but he took it with a really strong flash and a really fast exposure, so it looks dark. I think it is a pretty good depiction of the sound of the album because it's dark, but it's light, it's like night, but it's day, it’s dramatic, but calm. That ambiguity is the exact feeling I wanted, and is a part of the theme of the record. When I saw the photos, I was instantly reminded once again of these old masters paintings. That perspective of the blue skies through the trees is my favourite part, because it doesn't feel real—it’s perfect.