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The art of the album cover

For the Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover

Fri 08 Apr 2022 – Sun 12 Jun 2022 at The Photographers’ Gallery (TPG) London

AQ highly recommends a trip to, The Photographers’ Gallery (TPG) London, at the gateway of Soho for a rare and special exhibition of 200 vinyl album record covers exploring the connection with the photographers and the visual artists behind the making of the album covers.

The idea behind the exhibition is described as, ”For the Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover celebrates the unique ‘object d’art’ that is the Album Cover and reflects upon its role in shaping and making artists – both in front of and behind the camera.”

Many of our readers at AQ will have owned many of the albums or have passing memories of the covers. Each of them has strong associations with the music. Before streaming, pre-Napster and up to the time of CD, the Album cover was our first meeting with the music/artist/band. Before Vinyl became hip and adopted as the new age music, a discovery was not a share or a social media post. Without smartphones, only cash in hand, we bought music from the mere impulse of a record cover.

It is also impossible to disconnect from our recollections of our first encounters with the vinyl album cover artwork. How we all fell in love with music from the photographs or graphics on the covers of the albums, to opening the gatefold and reading the lyrics to finally putting the vinyl on the turntable. This love affair with music is explored also by the exhibition between the photographers and the music. The culture behind the lens of the photographers is explored thematically with the musicians in front of the lens.

This is a wonderful opportunity to experience these unique juxtapositions of original  artwork, Vinyl covers, musicians and photographers, not only in a historical journey, as shooting the vinyl album cover as a cultural exchange between the art of the photographer and musicians. Often a symbiotic one. So essential to the identity of the album in our consciousness.

This trip through history is both a trip through the history of some of the most famous and iconic post-war vinyl albums but also the lens of some of the most important photographers of our time.