Clay Aiken – Portraiture Is A Window To The Soul

Portraiture is a window to the soul. – Anonymous

We don’t often get news on Saturday nights, but last night (March 27th), Randy Hamilton from The Durham Photography Examiner published a wonderful article on Clay Aiken and the photo shoot for his new album, Tried and True. Articles from The are published all over the United States and take the name of the large city in the area.

Titled “Diary of A Professional Photography Shoot for Clay Aiken’s “Tried and True,” the article is a detailed account of the photoshoot on March 13th.  Besides the news of the locations,  Hamilton has added some wonderful pictures of some of the locations in the photo shoot.  Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned in reading the article is how “hands on” Clay was in arranging the pictures.   Wait……..maybe I should not have been surprised as it seems that Clay has been involved in the entire production of this album.  What a great change and how wonderful that Decca trusts Clay to do an amazing job.

The article is below, however, I trust that you all will visit The and leave a positive comment for Randy.  It is important that he gets credit and acknowledgement for this excellent article.  Besides…… need to see the wonderful photos that accompany the article.   EXAMINER

Diary of a professional photography shoot, for Clay Aiken’s “Tried and True
Local fans of Clay Aiken surely know he was in the area recently, recording a concert in Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium that featured songs from his new album, Tried and True. The album is scheduled for release on June 1, 2010, and broadcast of the concert is set for sometime this summer on PBS.

What fans may not know is that, while visiting his home town, Aiken searched for locations for the art for the CD package of his new album. Driving around Raleigh and Durham, he photographed locations that fit the theme of the upcoming album, the 1950s and the Rat Pack.
Among the locations in his pictures of Durham are a bar, a diner and several street shots. Others show parts of the American Tobacco Campus, including Bay 7 and the train car at the North end. Aiken also favored the Mecca Restaurant in Raleigh, a nearly perfect location for the images he had in mind for the package art.
Using his photographs to go by, it was necessary to scout the locations, to take additional photographs for determining their suitability and availability for the shoot.

With photographs of the interior of the train car at American Tobacco, the Mecca and others from a newly recommended site, the locations for the one-day shoot were set. The day would begin at Treyburn Country Club in Durham, with shots in the bar and on the golf course. Afterward, the crew would head to American Tobacco before finishing in Raleigh at the Mecca.
Upon arrival at Treyburn at 7am, NY photographer Vincent Soyez began setting up for the first shot in the bar. Soyez, who uses the Norman lighting system, said, “You’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting an elaborate lighting setup. I just set up the lights where I think they should go, take some test shots and adjust the lights until I get the effect we want.” For the Aiken shoot, the desired effect derives from the dramatic light and shadow sometimes associated with celebrity photographs of the 1950s.
Following Aiken’s arrival and wardrobe preparation, the shooting began with work around settings at the bar. After a couple of hours, the crew moved out to the golf course. Luckily, the preferred location was at the 18th green, making it relatively easy to transport equipment and set up the shot.

After completing the shots, Aiken bought lunch for the crew. One could easily see he was happy to be home and to introduce his NY colleagues to North Carolina barbecue, Eastern style of course. (And as it happens, his grandmother lives nearby. He described his visits to Bahama while growing up, with many Sunday mornings spent singing in Mt. Bethel Methodist Church.)
Following lunch, the crew finished with a few publicity shots, packed up and headed to American Tobacco.

Rain threatened the afternoon, but the crew managed to set up in the train car before the rain began, and by the time they had finished, the rain had stopped. They packed up again and headed to the Mecca in Raleigh, the final location of the day. The shoot wrapped up around 11pm.
While Aiken fans anxiously await the new music of his next album, photography fans might look for a copy to see how these locations, and Clay Aiken, are transformed by the work of Vincent Soyez.

[In addition to providing some of the location photography, Jason Hamilton also contributed information for this article.]

Are you excited??  Not only will we get excellent singing on this album, we will get amazing photos!

Randy Hamilton enjoys viewing and taking photographs, and he has twenty years experience as a writer. As Durham Photography Examiner, he combines his enjoyment of writing and photography, to inform readers about the many photo exhibits in and around Durham. He supplements reviews with articles on related subjects, and he invites you to comment on what you read here and to suggest topics you would like to see discussed. You can e-mail him at

Vincent Soyez: After working for 10 years in Paris, French photographer, Vincent Soyez now calls New York City his home.

Vincent works in many genres of commercial photography; music, advertising, and editorial.
His clients include: Atlantic Records, Australian Records, Sony Music, Def Jam, Spike DDB, AKA Advertising, ESPN, FHM, Fortune, Interview Fortune, Nike, Pepsi, Timberland, Mountain Dew, Maxim and The Source magazine.

Vincent is currently working on an exhibit of personal images taken while traveling through Cambodia, over the past year.

Vincent Soyez

As I was researching information, I came across the following two quotes about photography that I thought were interesting.  I hope you are amused!

“My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and entertain. “
Helmut Newton

When Jack London had his portrait made by the noted San Francisco photographer Arnold Genthe, London began the encounter with effusive praise for the photographic art of his friend and fellow bohemian, Genthe. “You must have a wonderful camera…It must be the best camera in the world…You must show me your camera.” Genthe then used his standard studio camera to make what has since become a classic picture of Jack London. When the sitting was finished, Genthe could not contain himself: “I have read your books, Jack, and I think they are important works of art. You must have a wonderful typewriter.” – Anonymous

Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain

17 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Portraiture Is A Window To The Soul

  1. I can't wait to see the pictures. Sounds like they are going to be beautiful and dramatic. (As if Clay pictures could be anything but) 🙂

    Thanks for a wonderful article.

  2. Thanks for the wonderful article Musicfan. It was great, and looks like the buzz will be happening now for the CD. Clay is so hands on with this CD…and he is so excited for it….Me too!!!!!
    Love the pics as well that came with the article.


  3. Cannot WAIT to hear and now SEE this CD!!! Clay Aiken seems to be very hands on during this entire project, cannot wait to for the results (is it June yet???)

  4. Nice article, great photographer. It is really interesting to know that Clay had such a hand in choosing the locals for this shoot. I love hearing behind the scenes tidbits.

  5. This is really exciting! I love seeing how much Clay is involved in this CD – not just with his amazing singing.

  6. Is it June yet? I am getting really anxious to see the photo shoot pictures of Clay Aiken by Vincent Soyez, and hear the CD..not to mention see the PBS special on my TV.<3

  7. What a great article! You can feel Clay Aiken's excitement and his love for this project. I can't wait till it's all finished and we can see and hear everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Loved to see the pictures of where he did the photoshoot. I have to say that I am expecting awesome photo's of Clay from the photographer Vincent Soyez. I went on his site and I was mesmerized by his work. Glad to see that Clay has so much to do with this cd. It is just getting more exciting by the day. Can.Not.Wait!!!!!!!

  9. Fascinating article and blog. I can’t wait to see the Clay Aiken photos from this shoot. Hope we get a calendar, also.

  10. Thanks for bringing this great article and accompanying photos to us. Now this is just one more thing we have to get antsy about!

  11. I love that Clay himself chose the locations for the photo shoot. I hope this means he'll have more creative control with Decca then he had with RCA.

  12. This album is going to be fabulous. Every detail is being worked on and it will be a winner.

    Thanks for the info on Randy and Vincent. It is so great to see all the positive things heading up to June 1st.

  13. I'm really excited about Clay's newest CD. Clay's attention to detail is just another facet of his amazing personality.

  14. It is especially exciting that Clay picked out the places he wanted to be photographed. I am so looking forward to viewing the pictures and listening to the new cd!

  15. Musicfan,

    Thank you for the thorough research that goes into all your blog entries. From the info we have, Clay Aiken's "Tried and True" album will be a masterful blend of music and visuals.

    Many thnx for your kind remarks in the Carolina blog. Have a great week!


  16. So excited about this CD and can’t wait to see all these amazing photographs made by such a talented artist of such a talented and amazing singer. There is no other singer like Clay.

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