Off The Record: Rio

The First Album

The first official album cover for my “Off The Record” project has been completed and was unveiled today – appropriately enough – in London during my program at SWPP.  I decided to start the project off with an iconic album cover from a British band that helped define 80s music – Duran Duran.


When we were first kicking the idea around, the idea of doing Rio came up immediately.  My “Off The Record” partner, Julie Spero, told me she knew just the right person to model for it.  Going forward, most people will be choosing their own covers.  But we had to start somewhere and kind of did this one backwards by choosing the model that fit the subject.  Casey Donato ended up being the perfect fit.  She is a photographer herself, so she had an easy time acclimating to the process.  She also had that exotic “Rio” look.

Creating The Cover

Duran Duran's "Rio"

Duran Duran’s “Rio”

Honestly I decided to start with Rio because I thought it would be an easy one to get out of the way quickly before I left town.  I could not have been more wrong.  Simply “blowing out” the highlights did not create the right look.  It took me several hours of trying different techniques before I stumbled onto the right recipe.

Once I had the technique down, I faced my second dilemma- how to make it look like Rio but still look like Casey.  I had to create a balance between emulating Patrick Nagel’s iconic style, while retaining Casey’s features.  It took a while, but I think I finally nailed it.


When Casey first arrived I realized that she had several tattoos and we were worried it would spoil the Rio look.  The plan was to simply clone them out in the final cover.  However, as the image progressed, it became clear that I needed to leave them.  They gave the portrait a moremodern look and imparted part of Casey’s personality.  Honestly, I can’t imaging it WITHOUT the tattoos now.  They really complete the piece.

Lourcey Rio Off The Record Portrait

Your Turn

Well, the project is officially underway, now it is YOUR turn.  I’ve had several people send me cover ideas – we just need to get the details planned and proceed with the sessions!  If you have an idea, you need to come up with the location and the costumes.  Julie will take care of your hair and makeup – and I will provide you with a 12×12 “album cover” to commemorate your participation.

So get the creative juices going and start gathering your outfits.  Its time to get this thing rolling!

Casey with her Rio album cover

Casey with her Rio album cover


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