After more than two decades, Grammy Award-winning artist Christina Aguilera revisits her roots with a brand new Spanish album entitled “La Fuerza.” As a part of her new wave of music, Christina (also known by her stage name Xtina) recently shot a music video for her single “Santo” ft. Ozuna. Chicago-based celebrity photographer Zoe Rain was hired by the record company, Sony Music Entertainment to capture photos of the reemerging pop star. Zoe’s images invoked the sultry energy and female empowerment that Aguilera is known for.
Several months ago, Zoe was invited by Christina’s manager to photograph the music icon as she headlined the Lady Land Festival, which took place last November in New York City. Since then, Zoe has photographed Christina on other occasions, including the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas. Following the Grammys, Zoe stayed an extra day to shoot the cover art for Xtina’s new single “Santo” while the singer was on set filming the video.
The shoot took place away from the casinos and tourists, in a dilapidated movie theater off the old strip in Las Vegas. The one-day shoot lasted over 14 hours, but Zoe found time to rest as the crew switched between multiple sets and the four separate outfits that the singer wore. Some of the featured images were candid moments taken during filming, while others were more intentional. As a scene would wrap, Zoe would use the lighting on hand and pose the subjects — creating an alluring aesthetic that contributed to the powerful feel that Christina evokes in her singing and songwriting.
Logistically speaking Zoe was at a disadvantage while shooting for this project as she needed to work with the continuous video lighting, which was very dark in this location. This meant she had to push her ISO past where she normally likes to be, just to make sure the images came out sharp. Both Xtina and the dancers were moving rapidly, so Zoe maintained a high shutter speed to avoid any motion blur.
Since she captured a lot of content while they were filming, Zoe had to be hyper-aware of where she was positioned to ensure she was not in the shot or standing in the path of a swinging metal crane. Despite having to situate herself amid all the other camera equipment and moving elements of the set, Zoe made sure to emphasize Christina as the focal point of each shot.
A long-awaited release, ‘La Fuerza’ is the first of a three-part album — featuring the feminist anthem Pa Mis Muchachas and recent single Somos Nada — and has arrived 22 years after the songstress debuted her first Spanish-language album, Mi Reflejo. Inspired by her Ecuadorian roots, Aguilera has set out to empower her devoted fans by encouraging them to take charge of their own lives with themes of motherhood, sisterhood, and friendship prevalent throughout the album.
“On a deeper level, this album means a great deal to me just because I’ve been able to embrace so many things about who I am and where I am now.” -Christina Aguilera in an interview with Hola! magazine
Having been in the behind-the-scenes world of musicians for quite some time, Zoe is thoroughly rehearsed in when to direct her subjects and when to allow them to freely express themselves. Her ongoing experience has afforded her the ability to not only blend into the background of a room but also confidently take control and direct a moment. Having that type of flexibility as an artist is what has crafted her imagery and style throughout the years.
As a musician/celebrity it must be incredibly difficult to feel comfortable and trust a photographer you don’t know personally. It’s important to make people feel comfortable as quickly as possible, otherwise it will show in the photos.
Photographer: Zoe Rain
Client: Sony Music Latin
Retouching: Lily Moffet
Agency: Original Creative Agency
Makeup Artist: Etienne Ortega
Hair: Jesus Guerrero
Costume Designer: Jose Rodrigo
Stylist: Anna Trevelyan
Designer: Sorcha O’Raghallaigh
Clothing Brand: Atelier Guarin