Singer, actress, and jumpsuit master Solange Knowles released her album A Seat at the Table late last night, surprising fans with a set of 21 stirring tracks that feature a parade of R&B starlets, including previous collaborator Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange), Kelela, and Destiny’s Child alumna Kelly Rowland.
Referring to A Seat at the Table as a three-year project “on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing,” Solange shared a companion digital book on her website that expands the album’s themes through poetry and a collection of stunning photographs. The images are the handiwork of Carlota Guerrero, a Barcelona-based photographer and art director with a knack for capturing natural moments soaked in so much raw light that they come off spectrally – even painterly. Solange revealed she’d be collaborating with the 25-year-old Spanish artist three months ago while working on a video with the Tate Modern.
Before Solange started making guest appearances on Guerrero’s Instagram earlier this year, the photographer’s account provided a stream of quiet, evocative photos, bathed in milky light, that make lazy Sundays look like they belong in an art gallery. Her style has always emphasized femininity with the delicacy and candor she channeled into her work with Solange. In interviews, Guerrero has explained she was given an analog camera as a teenager and couldn’t stop shooting. “I take pictures because when I see something that harbors beauty I tend to get very nervous, and I need to do something with that energy,” she told Ignant back in January.
Guerrero has been at it for a few years now, shooting for clients like Mango, Nicethings, and Max & Co. In addition to photographing and art directing the digital book for A Seat at the Table, she also shot the album cover, which sees a minimally made up Solange staring down the camera with a pattern of tiny sectioning clips fluttering through her hair like butterflies. The self-taught photographer’s intimate and understated approach allowed her to capture Solange’s confidence, vulnerability, and intensity in one fell swoop.
The images of black men and women throughout the digital booklet are also a celebration of strength. Guerrero’s shoots are precisely stylized: She places small armies of models in front of sweeping canyons or in a pile of limbs on the floor to play with shape, contours, and movement. The scenes themselves aren’t accidents, but the spirit of pride and unfiltered beauty that Guerrero’s camera freezes in time is organic. Her resulting portraits are a complement to A Seat at the Table’s message of empowerment, self-love, and racial healing in an era of violence against the black community.
Solange mailed out physical copies of the digital booklet to 86 lucky fans, but Guerrero’s images are also available here and on her website. Take your time scrolling through these in all their glory.
A Seat at the Table is out via Saint Records/Columbia and streaming on Apple Music and Spotify now.