Contributing photographer Lisa Predko, in her own words in an Instagram post, noted she “was SUPER excited” to shoot Chicago’s own Towkio for the cover story in the Reader last week. Bonus: for the shoot he would be “WEARING AN ASTRONAUT SUIT!!!:) 🙂 :)” she noted.

Inspired by Towkio’s song “2 Da Moon,” Predko started thinking about ways to create a moonscape in the studio. With limited time, she decided a better solution was to hop in the car and drive to her parents’ place in Benton Harbor, Michigan, to photograph the Lake Michigan winter beachfront. (Walking on the sheet ice is not something she recommends.)

After shooting the lakefront, she imagined what Towkio would do on the moon. “An alien dance party only made sense!” she said on Instagram. So she enlisted assistant Taylor Cairns to put on a zentai suit and dance. The aliens on the cover are multiple images of Cairns in different positions (kinda like how actor Deep Roy was used to portray all 165 Oompa Loompas in the 2005 remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

Predko had a lot of help putting it all together. Tom Michas and Cairns helped set up the studio and lighting, while Karen Brody did Towkio’s hair. Michas put all the images together in Photoshop.

Here are some of the images—all shot by Predko—that went into the cover:

A frozen Lake Michigan (the moon crater was added in Photoshop)
This one wasn’t on the cover, but here are the two friends who joined Lisa on the trip to the lakefront: Amber Halaka (left) and Isil Cinar.Credit: Lisa Predko