Baron Walton: I Really Love Shooting Album Covers

All images by Baron Walton. Used with permission.

Photographer Baron Walton is a truly creative type of photographer and he partially attributes this to being extroverted. “I develop a concept that I pitch to the artist/client,” says Baron in an email to the Phoblographer where he continues to state his work being concept driven. “It’s a form of visual communication that tells you something about the artist – even if you are not aware of them, you will understand something about their style.” We’ve all heard stories about how difficult it is to photograph artists on tour; but Baron has learned how to make the most of it.

Here’s his story!

I’ve shot artwork for brands such as Boeing, F.I.F.A, Nike, etc. But, I really love shooting album covers – and have been lucky to shoot some of the music industry’s legendary acts, including multiple Grammy Award Winners and the occasional Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. I have also shot some significant world leaders, including a number of Australian Prime Ministers and former U.S Vice President Joe Biden. Regardless, I consider myself to be a music/entertainment photographer.

I was listed as one of the Top 5 Emerging Photographers in Capture Magazines 2016 Annual.
As a graphic designer, I found I was always more drawn to the photographic image. It took me a long time to cross over, as photography seemed like a very technical pursuit. When I finally did crossover, I didn’t look back. Although my design background and photoshop skills influence the type of images I make now.

I’ve always been a fan of hiphop music. In the 90’s I was a kid obsessed with the culture. In 2011, Chuck D from Public Enemy gave me my first opportunity to shoot a group. Those images were used in their 2012 album artwork – The Evil Empire of Everything. I was hooked. I am now a member of Chuck D’s creative agency – mADurgency.

I’m Australian, but have now moved to the small island of Bali, in Indonesia – to a town set in ricefields called Ubud. Pro gear is very difficult to obtain here, and even Denpasar (the island’s largest city) has very limited options. I’ve learn to improvise, and carry gear that is light and durable. I cannot rely on getting damaged gear replaced, so I try to keep a backup of the essentials and innovative. I have made lightstands from bamboo – and they are fantastic.

I shoot on Canon 5D M3 – with L-series lenses. In not obsessed with gear, but rather the image – and how I can make it happen with what I have.

I am an extrovert, so I like to meet people and get to know something about them. At the moment I am trying to work on more projects that ‘mean something’, and communicate a message of importance.

Lots of photographers influence me. Some are famous, some are friends and unknowns. Most of my inspiration comes from artists, directors and comic books (comic book artists really understand lighting). But I love Irving Penn portraits, Liebovit’s light and Cunningham’s extraordinary commitment.. Ernie Paniccioli has been dedicated to hip hop photography for four decades – he is also an influence.