Punch Up Your Decor with Photographic LP Album Artwork!

In my basement photograph gallery/workplace, I don’t rotate my prints as usually as I ought to. To minimize my guilt a bit, I maintain the gallery “more energizing” with a rotating exhibit of suave LPs. And I didn’t want to purchase costly album frames or hammer nails within the wall to do it.

Graphics and Tales Over “Worth”

It’s well-known that bespoke drawings and work by well-known artists have pushed demand and costs for some classic albums to nice heights. Coming instantly to thoughts are the Beatles’ 1st-state Yesterday and Immediately “butcher cowl” and Andy Warhol’s “banana” covers for the Velvet Underground & Nico. Different examples are too quite a few to record.

However since that is 35mmc, I’ll focus right here on LP albums with photograph covers. They could not but get pleasure from comparable costs and “collectability,” however MoMA’s 2015 announcement that it expanded its LP-cover-design assortment with extra pictures means that this might change.

Historical past signifies it would possibly for albums that:

  • Bear pictures shot particularly for them by well-known photographers. (Whereas many albums characteristic Ansel Adams pictures, so far as I do know, they had been all licensed, and Ansel by no means shot for particular LPs.)
  • Had pretty restricted distribution and/or low survival charges. (Happily, all LPs are inherently restricted editions… with some extra restricted than others.) Normally, essentially the most “invaluable” albums are each restricted in provide and excessive in demand.
  • Have attention-grabbing design, format or manufacturing strategies. (One other Warhol reference right here… to his “peel” and “zipper” covers.)
  • Are inherently uncommon for different causes. For example, “mono” variations of albums usually mastered in stereo– and vice versa— could also be in additional demand than their frequent variants. However this isn’t at all times the case.
  • And as you’ll quickly see, an excellent backstory may also help!

Digging for Treasures

I show albums extra for his or her music, graphics or attention-grabbing backstories than their market worth or collectability. I by no means intentionally purchased with these in thoughts. However once I started this text, I questioned what number of potential collectibles I’ll have snagged through the years with out even understanding it.

So I spent a number of pleasing evenings peering by way of a loupe on the photograph credit for 400 albums (not a giant quantity by audiophile requirements). The next pictures show a few of my higher finds.

NOTE: The next albums aren’t within the opening picture. I wasn’t accustomed to their photographers, and need to analysis them additional.

However right here’s what I discovered for 4 better-known shooters:

Pete Turner

5 of my LPs have Pete Turner covers. He apparently had a particular relationship with jazz producer Creed Taylor, so a few of his covers may have been bespoke… whereas others could have been licensed from inventory. Under are two regular albums and one gate-fold that Turner shot for Stanley Turrentine:

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NOTE: The gate-fold album within the center and the conventional album to its proper are each “SALT SONG” and have the identical tracks. The gate-fold got here later, and I surmise it might have been launched as a result of Turner’s photograph was too darkish on the sooner sleeve. However I could possibly be improper.

And listed here are two Turner gate-folds for Deodato and Hubert Legal guidelines. Humorous how a lot they seem like flat-screen TVs! (I as soon as had extra Turner LPs… however gave some to a buddy.):

Records 3

Francesco Scavullo

Francesco Scavullo shot these covers for Barbra Streisand, Judy Collins (each back and front portraits), Gato Barbieri and Donna Summer season (a tri-fold album):

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Scavullo was a well known photographer each in (and past) the music biz.

Richard Avedon

I used to be happy– however not stunned– to seek out 4 Richard Avedon covers: for Simon & Garfunkel, Cher (back and front portraits), Barbra Streisand, and Stan Getz&Arthur Fiedler:

Records 5

And a Shock!

However my most shocking discover was this 1950 Pablo Casals “Prades Pageant” cowl  by the nice Margaret Bourke-White (her credit score line is alongside the upper-left edge):

Records 6

In keeping with the above hyperlink, she was “the primary photographer for Fortune, the primary Western skilled photographer permitted into the Soviet Union, Life journal’s first feminine photographer, and the primary feminine warfare correspondent credentialed to work in fight zones throughout World Battle II.”

I’m wondering what number of different outdated, simply missed, albums Margaret and her mid-century friends blessed with their immense abilities? They could tick many packing containers of future collectability.

Realistically Although

Even blessed with a bespoke Bourke-White cowl, and with most likely few different copies on the market, the above album should be greatest handled as a dialog starter over cocktails at my gallery wall! The favored Discogs music database helps this, indicating that collectors lately paid from $2.25 to $15 for the album. Demand continues to be low for such data.

And that will properly apply to the opposite albums on this article. Sure, MoMA is exhibiting extra photograph covers. However that could be extra for his or her graphic curiosity than their financial worth. Nonetheless, LPs don’t have to be value loads to enliven a room!

However Don’t Low cost Quirky!

One Gutsy Streisand:

Traditionally, some albums turn into widespread– and even perhaps collectible— merely as a result of they’re quirky or have a cool backstory. Listed here are three that I discovered in my stacks:

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This Streisand gate-fold album’s entrance picture was shot by Baron Wolman… whose photograph archives are within the Rock & Roll Corridor of Fame!

In November 1973, my household witnessed what to at the present time has to be one of many bravest dwell tv specials ever. Titled Barbra Streisand and Different Musical Devices, it was reportedly broadcast to “enhance Streisand’s picture and sound” (no matter that was purported to imply).

Her supervisor determined to make it a “world music” occasion, which ought to have been advantageous. And Barbra reportedly requested that she be accompanied by “a few of the world’s biggest musicians.” As a substitute, she received:

  • One well-known musician (Ray Charles) plus the “world’s biggest musical-saw participant”
  • A 150-piece orchestra that included gamers of the Darabuka, Ching Ya-Grin, O-daiko, Koto, Chippewai tom-tom, Axatse, Boo-Bams, Twanga, Elephant Horn, Jingle Stick, cow bells, wind chimes, bagpipes, Swanee whistle, handclaps, fingersnaps, and a hand-crank organ
  • An entire family’s value {of electrical} home equipment (massive and small)
  • A “heavenly refrain”
  • And dialog written by, amongst others, Larry Gelbart (of Mash fame).

Should you’d like to listen to this impressed madness, a 30-minute video (of the later CD) is on YouTube. Should you can survive Barbra’s traumatic opening workouts, what follows is unusually cool… with some gorgeous preparations in what quantities to a really prolonged medley.

NOTE: “The Sweetest Sounds,” “I’ve Received Rhythm” and “Glad to be Sad” are particularly good numbers… with the latter maybe unintentionally apropos of what Barbra was going by way of!

Sadly, the above vid features a couple so-so items that aren’t on the LP, and omits the TV broadcast’s rousing closing quantity: “The World is a Concerto/Make Your Personal Form of Music” (the place many home equipment get their say). However thanks once more to YouTube, right here it’s.


  • Most critics panned the printed and album.
  • It was reportedly “Streisand’s lowest promoting studio album of her complete profession.” (Translation: Possibly comparatively uncommon.)
  • And it was “one in every of 4 studio albums launched by the singer not to obtain certification from the Recording Trade Affiliation of America.” (Why???)

But it surely’s additionally well-known as a result of of all that! And it’s essentially the most boisterous, energetic, weird, and on the similar time wildly artistic LP in my assortment. So mix a cocktail, decrease the lights, launch the above movies, crank the amount… and listen to her nice pipes conquer wind machines, teakettles, hair dryers, telephones, toothbrushes and washing machines!

And Gitarzan’s Manilow “Cowl”:

One other singer/songwriter whose moods I like is Barry Manilow. Listed here are the fronts of his “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling” album (with pictures by drummer, photographer, and album designer Lee Gurst) and (“Gitarzan”) Ray Stevens‘ parody/tribute “The Feeling’s Not Proper Once more” (with pictures by his personal studio):

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I believe I get what’s occurring! And listed here are the backs:

Records 8

Stevens’ songs and preparations are nice on their very own. However they’re additionally SO Manilow. And the spoofed covers are genius.

How did Manilow reply? Reportedly, by telegram:

“I’m knocked out by the report. It’s essentially the most flattering factor to occur to me in a very long time. I hope it’s a extremely huge hit for all of us.”

Once more, regardless of such albums’ financial value (or lack thereof), think about the cocktail conversations that such quirks can launch… particularly with the LPs spinning within the background!

Extra Analysis Wanted

My albums revealed many different photographers (and jacket designers) who had been new to me. I plan to analysis them and maybe do a future replace.

I hope I’ve impressed you to loupe your personal LPs… and proudly show your favourite finds. To “make your personal sort of music/sing your personal particular music”!

And About My Show Desk…

I didn’t purchase the opening photograph’s show desk in HomeGoods. I constructed it. And if you happen to’d wish to make one, it’s not arduous.

Years in the past, I rescued plenty of steel storage-cube panels from our city dump. And I’ve used them to create a number of helpful items of small furnishings– together with this desk. It’s low sufficient for me to prop report albums towards the wall with out blocking my framed prints:

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To make it, I cinched collectively ten panels utilizing very brief cable ties, and clipped off the ties’ tails. (The remaining plastic loops seem like white dots above.)

NOTE: Two of the panels are smaller than the others and fasten to the slanted black panels simply beneath the desk high. They elevated the desk’s stability and created two journal/e-book slots (seen in use within the opening photograph). An alternate desk may be constituted of plastic milk crates or boards throughout bricks/concrete blocks. However I believe mine is extra “mod.”

I may simply lengthen the desk, however as-is, it properly helps:

  • 4 regular albums
  • Two regular and one gate-fold album or
  • Two gate-folds

And although they’re not within the opening picture, I retailer my cameras’ battery chargers within the bottom-right triangular bay. It retains me from shedding them, and makes it straightforward to shortly cost something by way of a close-by outlet.

–Dave Powell is a Westford, Mass., author and avid newbie photographer.

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