Yung Lean is your typical shy teen rapper from Sweden who had been amassing a cult following on Tumblr for years sharing candy-colored cheesy gifs, wacky memes, and all types of lo-fi goodness, along with his music . Now, a couple weeks out from his album release date, he was in New York for a show and P&P was looking to create a compelling digital piece on him. That proved to be a much more elusive task when he showed up late to his own show — and prior to leaving early — sat for a few pictures in the dark, only two of which were usable. With Lean on a plane back to Sweden and time running out, the team was leaning toward canceling the feature altogether. Additionally, his outlook and subsequently his aesthetic had taken a much darker turn, in sharp contrast to the pixelated pastels of his vaporwave past. In his most recent video, he was wearing black nail polish & a floral dress, digging a grave.
I met with the Complex photo department and we decided to source tour photos from Yung Lean's team. What they sent back was mishmosh of random snapshots from various cameras. Nothing stood out.
With the majority of the team inclined to cancel the feature, I pitched an approach based on Yung Lean's recent transformation.
I took a hands-on approach to repurposing the bland photos they supplied us. The resulting imagery spoke directly to his transition from digital to darkness.