Sinead just gets better and better each time I work with her. It’s a case of her building up trust as well as me understanding more of what Sinead likes and dislikes in a shoot. Working with Sinead this time again meant that we had more time for laughs and messing about which again is reflected in the images. It was also nice to see Sinead in a dress. Yes, this shoot gave me the chance to see a playful woman dressed to impress. This could be the real Sinead, the one she really is behind closed doors when nobody is expecting great statements and she does not feel she has to carry the cross for every suffering soul out there.
Sinead O’Connor rose to fame with her version of Prince’s song ‘Nothing Compares to You’ in 1990. A song that still sounds as powerful as it did back then and with a video to accompany it that carries as much of a punch as it did in the 1990s.
For those of you who are not familiar with Sinead’s video of “Nothing Compares to You” – it is a video close-up of Sinead’s face singing the song. Her piercing eyes turn to a teary sadness as the song moves to its final cords. Sinead’s shaved head and beautiful eyes presented us with a non-traditional beauty that has later become fashionable.
Sinead still has the same beautiful eyes but somewhere deep down there are now traces of life experience and passed troubles. She has carried the banner against women’s suppression in religion, opposed other religious opinions, fought against war and child abuse and fought for her right to become a Rastafarian amongst many things.
Sinead created controversy when she in 1990 was ordinated as a priest despite being a woman with a Roman Catholic background. Her traumatic upbringing in the Catholic religion has been evident in her actions, describing the Vatican as “a nest of devils”. She is also known for having sung a version of Bob Marley’s song “War” where she altered the lyrics to protest against sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. She tore up a picture of the then Pope, Pope John Paul II while singing the word ‘EVIL’.
Sinead’s life has been a life of uphill struggles. From having been at the notorious Magdalene Laundry as a teenager to having raised a flag against the sexual crimes that have taken place behind the Roman Catholic’s closed doors, to fighting for female’s rights, lesbian rights, against war and child abuse – all before it became a media trend to do so, she’s now come out from a dark place and is trying to re-establish herself as a much loved artist in music.
I can’t help to think that her movement to Rastafari is an escape from the institution of the Roman Catholic Church into something which is considerably less institutionalised and more about individualism and the higher self.
It is impossible to describe what it meant for me to work with Sinead O’Connor. My feelings were a mixture of an element of fear as I know she is opinionated and the axe could possibly turn in my direction but mostly a feeling of respect for someone who has dedicated her life to fight for what is right although it means you face a life of opposition. But we also have to remember that Sinead is a musician, and a damn good one too. The song “Nothing Compares to You” has of course gone down in the history books, but she has been recognised for many other songs and musical collaborations and at the moment she is performing for smaller audiences at churches around the country and abroad. The concerts are small and intimate and are supposed to contain all the emotions and power that you can possibly imagine. To not shed a tear is not an option…