This past summer, photographer Caroline Pigou hit the road with New York indie-pop artist Emily Yacina and her support band, folk-rockers Florist, to document life on tour. Kicking off in Washington D.C., the group slowly made its way south throughout the month of August, stopping in cities like Pittsburgh, Athens, and Birmingham. From beginning to end, Pigou, who is known for her carefree, vintage-like approach to film photography, was present to capture the intimate experiences of young artists on tour.
CAROLINE PIGOU: [Emily Yacina and I] met through mutual friends in New York. Well, actually, a very dear friend of ours passed and we met at his wake. We bonded pretty quick and have been friends ever since.
[Emily] always likes to bring friends with her [on tour] and I told her that I was free [in the] summer so she asked if I would wanna go with her. I said, “Yeah!” I really wanted to shoot the experience.
Emily’s recorded music has a lot of synthy aspects and tones that make it otherworldly, so I was really excited to see her live because it's just purely acoustic and just her voice. Not only from my perspective as a friend and loving her music, but the audience's response just showed how enchanting her music is — coming from her voice alone. The intimacy she created in every space we went to was so different.
Her fans feel very connected with her, and she has such a relatable personality in music that it’s really easy to find people that are willing to let a bunch of strangers stay with them. She knew people in different towns because she had gone to a lot of these towns before and would stay in touch with people she would meet at shows. It was exciting! We had to go around, get to know people, and ask them [if we could stay with them]. We were touring with Florist, and they’re a 4-piece so there was a lot of us. One night, we did indulge and stay in a motel which was a lot of fun... A lot of crashing on floors!
Half of the time we had to get up straight away and go to the next place but we definitely made some cool stops. Outside of Birmingham, Alabama, we went to this weird sculpture garden where this priest rebuilt Jerusalem out of sea shells. Emily is obsessed with sea life and the ocean. Her favorite venue is this spot in Birmingham, which is actually a learning center for sea life and marine biology for kids. When I listen to her music, it has such a tone to it that’s so surreal and it kinda makes me feel like I'm underwater. I just relate her to the ocean and the beach.
The sea is definitely a huge theme for me because my father lives in the Bahamas, so I've kinda grown up around the ocean and boating. I think it's because [the sea] is where I spend a lot of my personal time, it just comes up that way. It's what I relate to. I shot a music video for [Emily] in the Bahamas and she was just really in her element when in the water. She spent hours out at this stretch of sand in the ocean, just looking and walking around. Those are my favorite shots of her because she just seems so natural.
In Kentucky, we were at a house show with country music and, still, time and time again, the audience would go quiet. [Emily] was worried sometimes because she’d be following a really pop-punk-y band, like where the crowd’s dancing a lot, and she’d be like, “Ahh, I can’t follow that!” But people immediately quieted down and were just captivated. It was really cool to see that across the board she could get people to relate and to listen.