UK-based photographer Jasmine Aurora Poole creates images that captivate, haunt, and inspire. Poole’s love for stories and world-building plays out in the work she produces and contributes to stock websites such as Arcangel Images, which specifically caters to the book cover industry.
Poole submits images that tell stories. The real magic of Poole’s work, however, lies in the quasi-blindness of it all. No prompts, no briefs--just wild images in search of stories to call home. Here, we speak with Poole about the mystery of creating images for stories that have not yet been discovered. The key? Poole loves the world of stories, knows the book industry and the specific needs of cover designers, and makes space in her images for the other graphic elements a book cover needs.
What drives Poole’s passion for cover photography? Simple: “I love books,” Poole said. “My background is in drama performance and design - I first started out of a love for stories and creating worlds.” After she studied theater arts, Poole went on to graduate with honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Photography from the University for the Creative Arts. Through Arcangel, Poole found a niche for the story-drenched images she loves to make. “My photography style is very much documentary and fine art, but a lot of the time that doesn't have much of a market unless you sell prints - however, it generally fits into book cover photography pretty well,” Poole said.
Poole explained that the process of creating ‘stock’ imagery for book covers requires a photographer to pass through several critical gates. “You apply to an agency, and if you get accepted you can then upload photos. All images go through a selection process by the agency and will get accepted or rejected for various reasons,” Poole said. Poole shares a few of her hacks for getting the coveted go-ahead from the gatekeepers at Arcangel: “As for the creating process, it's a mixed bag. A few ways of creating:making up a story to create work around, using well know story tropes, studying book cover trends and creating accordingly, or creating work you like and taking a chance on it.” Poole also shares a few practical elements to consider when creating potential book cover images: “Creating images for book covers differs because you often have to think about copy space, where the designer can work their magic. Generally, concealing faces [in the photos] works better.”
Currently, over 600 of Poole’s images appear on Arcangel. We can’t wait to see Poole’s work on shelves as well as screens.
Mary Ryan Karnes is a freelance writer and a Master's candidate in fiction at the University of Southern Mississippi.