Jaden Smith Reflects on Creating an ‘Emotional Nightmare’ For His ‘Photograph’ Video

Jaden Smith
Alan Torres

Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith has never been one to shy away from expressing himself through his art. His first two albums, SYRE and ERYS, are the perfect representations of a new, young artist -- bold and full of potential yet unpolished. In his latest effort, CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3, Jaden shakes off the kinks and shows growth, especially with the colorful, summer-like feel of the album. 

In the music video for "Photograph," the next single off CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3, Jaden takes a step away from the cheery vibe of his last visual, "Cabin Fever.” Putting on his director's hat, he tugs on his viewers' heartstrings with a marvelous display of sadness and hopelessness. 

His newest clip features him in the middle of a beach, pondering a broken relationship as he wanders across the yellow sands holding a photograph of himself and an ex. Viewers then see Jaden go through the motions, like screaming into the sky, letting the suffocating waves crash into his limp body, sinking himself to the bottom of the ocean and more.

"I wanted to show another side of the album and wanted to show another side of me and my musical journey," Jaden tells Billboard. "I don't really do music videos to songs like this on the album. I really wanted to take the time to make a music video for one of these types of songs so people can see me in that light as well." 

"Photograph" is one of the more emotional and personal records on the 17-track project. It's a song based on a true story around the time Jaden was 17, and how he wanted to capture what he calls an "emotional nightmare" in paradise.  

 "I really just wanted to make a piece of art that reflected how I felt at certain times being there in the Bahamas," he details. "You go there to have one type of experience. This music video shows how it feels to be in a place that's supposed to be so relaxing and so beautiful, but like, experiencing that completely by yourself and seeing the other side to that. Somebody is waking up in paradise alone, and it kind of turns into an emotional nightmare."

Like a true artist, Jaden also has an underlying meaning in this work of art as well. According to the 22-year-old, the video also represents the neglect mother Earth receives from her inhabitants. 

"I love being underwater, and I'm obsessed with being underwater," he reveals proudly. "I'm a water sign, and this video is huge for me because of how much I care about the ocean and it’s almost like a cry out for the pain that mother Earth is going through like what we're doing to the oceans." 

He continues, "It's like a thing for us to be like ‘Hey, the Bahamas is so beautiful, and the oceans are so beautiful, let’s protect this world.’ But then there’s this other emotional story, this underlying story that has to do with CTV3 and our stories."

With the new visual, Jaden is expanding his craft and showing his artistic growth. Critics have always said he needed more work to do in terms of his music but he doesn’t read into what they say. 

“I want to put this video out and see how it makes people feel because people always say something, but not always say how something makes them feel,” he relays.