After Adele's new album, 25, sold 3.38 million copies in the United States in the first week after its release, it was pretty much inevitable that the singer would get star treatment in Time magazine which popped her onto the cover of its Dec. 21 issue.
Her soulfully glamorous portrait was taken by Erik Madigan Heck, 32, a Minnesota-born fashion photographer whose own credits are pretty glossy. By the time he turned 30, Heck had snared Forbes Magazine's "30 Under 30" award, and an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography. Besides TIME, he has photographed for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, W magazine and British Vogue among others.
The photo shows Adele in a crimson jacket and scarlet lipstick – colors that Heck chose to echo the red border on Time covers.
"I feel she looks empowered and sincere," said Heck, who was in the Twin Cities visiting family for the holidays with his wife Brianna, a children's book illustrator, and their three-month old son Felix. "She doesn't look like she's acting for the camera. It looks like a real moment. She's definitely like an old Hollywood-looking beauty, and that picture is reminiscent of older portraiture. So it's nice."
It was Heck’s third big cover this fall.
“We shot Nicki Minaj for the New York Times magazine and Lupita Nyong’o for the Guardian in London," he said. "Adele was the hat trick for 2015. It’s been a good year.”
Born in Excelsior, Heck settled in New York City after earning his MFA in photography from Parsons School of Design at The New School. His early success was linked to his attention-grabbing Nomenus Quarterly, an exclusive folio publication he founded in 2007 that merged art and fashion into a very high end package.
Dubbed the world's most expensive magazine, Nomenus Quarterly typically cost $2,500 per copy for an "edition" consisting of a mere 50 copies.The boxed folios mixed, for example, the sculptural paintings of Anselm Kiefer and the photo-based paintings of Gerhard Richter with ads, designs,clothes and other projects by the likes of Rodarte and Ann Demeulemeester. For a guy who calls himself a "painter who uses photography," it was a savvy statement of his own aspirational aesthetic.
To maintain exclusivity, and doubtless to garner maximum attention, Heck sometimes cut his print runs to as few as 10 copies as he did for the Nomenus Quarterly released in June 2009. The tab on that issue was $6,500 per copy. A savvy marketer herself, Adele surely appreciates Heck's marketing moxie.