— Ed Burke, Visual Director at Parkwood Entertainment
“I first met Beyoncé 10 years ago. I was working in an art studio for a crazy artist who’s basically documented his life, his shop, for 30 years. I worked with him for a long time, and then a friend of the family called me up and said, 'Do you want to work for me?' I said, 'Yeah, sure.' He said, 'Go pick up a camera. You are shooting Beyoncé.' Never heard of her. So I walk into the place, and she walks past me. And I'm like ‘Hey,’ and she’s, like, ‘Hey,’ and her assistant at the time, Angie, said, ‘Are you Ed? That was Beyoncé.” So I said, 'Oh cool,' and I started shooting. That was the first time I shot her. From there, I was her videographer for seven years. I followed her all around the world three times. She's smart, because she realized the value of owning her own footage. So I ended up shooting everything. It was like this for 16 hours a day. She's backed off a bit. We still have a videographer, but the access isn't quite as crazy.
“I have learned a lot from her. I learn from her everyday. Mostly, it's how to take certain things that we bring to the table and make it her own. That's just amazing to me. She elevates everything. She elevates everyone around her. She's absolutely normal. I don't have a filter on what I say or do—especially creatively.
"[The video production] all started from the Super Bowl, and that was the most intense thing that I had ever done. From then it's been nonstop. After that, it rolled into the documentary and this visual album was a nightmare because she was on tour and we were shooting all around the world.
“She came up with the idea [of the visual album], and it was very, very challenging. It was very interesting how that whole thing came about because I never really saw a total vision for the album. Usually there is some sort of bond that brings it all together. For this, there wasn't. But what's interesting is I think that she's such a diverse person and woman—she has so many facets—if you put all of those elements together, it really is what makes her, which is what's interesting.”
Photograph by Ricardo Nelson