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Tuesday, 24 March 2015


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Images of mine have been used on quite a few LP and CD covers. It's very gratifying to be asked, especially since most of the covers I have done are for records I like.


I also made a CD a few years back in collaboration with a musician, Gustavo Jobim. Gustavo wrote some solo piano pieces and sent them to me, and I took photographs specifically in response to those pieces of music; and I took some photographs and sent them to him, and he wrote music for them. That was a great project, and something I would like to do again.


Several times photos from the series, "Churches ad hoc: a divine comedy" have been used in various publications.
On one book cover:

and on two issues of "Planning and Environmental Law"

I was (and still am) an avid John Coltrane fan, and as much as I liked the music on Giant Steps, I think I liked the cover even more.

Cover? Oh yeah!

Check this out:

Mine is the cloud background. Hahaha...

Seriously, though. That is what they wanted. That is what I had. That is what I got paid for.

Now, I should order a copy and see if it's any good...

I suppose you could call me a professional photographer. My camera(s) can get pretty expensive. This cover image is a 'macro' shot with a 60x microscope objective and some fancy-pants post processing (deconvolution) to clean up the signal. The image shows an endosome about 1 micron in diameter labeled with three different colored probes.


In my free time I use a GH2, which will be an EM-5 II when I save up the scratch.

Yup - http://www.amazon.com/100-Cool-Mushrooms-Michael-Kuo/dp/0472034170

Nothing fancy, and it did not put food on the table. But it sort of fed the ego for a few days.

Way back in college, I had some covers on the alumni magazine. I don't think I ever made the cover of the college catalog.

And I've had photos on the front page of various web sites; but not that many, once you exclude the ones I designed myself.

Just one- a CD cover for an album that a singer/songwriter buddy of mine did. It's fun to look back at it now, over a decade later, as everyone involved in the album & cover is in a very different place now.

This was very early in my "serious" shooting days, and in hindsight, I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. Unfortunately, the only version of it I'm finding online right now is pretty tiny... I don't have a larger version of it stored online anywhere at the moment.

I'm probably pretty lucky. I had a half-say in choosing the cover for a book I wrote about the Port of Los Angeles. My editor at University of California Press asked me for possible artwork and I submitted a photograph I had taken during my research while on a 900-foot cargo ship as it was being "parked" inside the port by a port pilot. I was about 10 stories above the water on the ship's bridge wing, and got a perspective you seldom if ever see of the port: the containers on the ship juxtaposed with another ship at a terminal (most pictures are taken from land). The title of the book, The Docks, fit perfectly on the bottom right and my by-line above in the sky.


Bill Sharpsteen

[That is a great shot. --Mike]

The first image I ever had published was on the cover of Lenswork (#73 - http://www.lenswork.com/previewpages/lw073preview.pdf). I had no idea it was going to be on the cover until I saw the finished magazine. I remember that day well...

I have always found album artwork an important part of the 'music product'. So much so, I have avoided buying things when I thought the artwork on the cover was bad, inappropriate or lazy. I would love to do one of my own.

Yes, a few. Perhaps as many artist/exhibition/installation catalogs as public publications. The only three to which I can readily link are:
Sculpture Magazine, Oct 2008
The Crown Fountain, Jaume Plensa, and
Agora, Magdalena Abakanowicz (Richard Gray Gallery).

It's satisfying until you see your cover all grunged-up on a bookstore shelf.

Suppose I should post the image itself.

Fall edition of Canadian Automotive Review, a trade magazine, digital edition here: http://www.purchasingb2b.ca/digital-edition-car/

I have been into music since before I started taking pictures, and I'd always hoped that I would one day get to combine those two passions. Enter my colleague Nicolai, who needed a cover shot and booklet for a CD that he was doing with a friend, also called Nicolai:

Highly satisfactory to see one's work published like that :-)

Note: The title track of the album is a relationship song based on an old Danish Nursery Rhyme about a little boy called Nicolai, whose head is facing the wrong way round.

The entire booklet can be found here.

I have been fortunate enough to have shot an album cover, in addition to a lot of the website images, for talented singer-songwriter Richard Lee. Props to Justyn Hall for the graphic design.

Richard's website, with more pics and -of course- his music, is here: http://www.richleemusic.com

this is a nice side benefit of photography, and L'internets search engines: being found.

the first was an iTunes only album: The Humming of Wires by Chris Rainier.

then a full album artwork on CD by Glissando With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards The Burning Sea:

There have been a few covers. But I've not been doing that sort of thing for quite a few years. This old CD cover for a now long-defunct band is the only one I can find right now. It's a little racy, so I'll just put in the link and everyone can decide if they want to look. It's pretty mild, but includes a nude from behind, not revealing much.


There's a blast from the past. Back around, say 1965, I was Commodore of the University of California Yacht Club, a far less august position than it sounds, and quite involved in photography.

I worked, with inadequate equipment, on taking close-up shots of people sailing small boats, some B&W, some color. A few came out rather well. One, a shot of a friend sailing his Olympic class Finn dinghy, ended up on the cover of the local Finn magazine. I think it was this shot.

I'm glad I'm limited to 470 pixels wide for this one, as it's a quick scan of a not so great 5x7 print.

A very low rent publication and poor reproduction. I believe I was paid $5, which was a lot more then than now, but still nothing much.

A bittersweet shot for those who knew Arnie, as the name of his boat, RUTH LESS, with the two halves separated by the rudder, was not actually about his competitive style, but about the loss of his wife to his life consuming involvement with sailing.

I had a few covers published in the late 70s early 80s in a trade magazine but I no longer have copies or tear sheets. Most recently one of my photos was used on the cover of this book.

I have a few covers. Here's my favorite.

It's a photo of the interior of Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, Chicago, more commonly called "The Bean." I shot it with a Canon 10D and 17-40L lens shortly before they polished the seams away. Just goes to show, you don't need a heck of a lot of megapixels for a cover.

Although I have had a few covers of bank annual reports/brochures (I am a banker I am nervous to admit) much more amusingly I had a photo published for the cover of a zombie novel called 'Monster Nation'. I have yet to read the book - notwithstanding the glowing recommendation of boingboing.net - although it was published 5-6 years ago at least. It was taken in Wadi Rum in Jordan just as a storm was gathering in the distance.

Apologies for the poor scan.

Back in the early 70's I did a record album cover for comedian Bill Dana, AKA Jose Himenez. I asked for copies of the final printed piece but got no response. I was told that the album was produced but never released because of politics or something equally dumb.

One night I was watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Bill Dana was a guest. Johnny held up MY album cover during the introduction and that is the only time I ever got to see the finished product.

Just yesterday I posted a cover, noting sadly that it *would* be the cover for our new CD if indeed we had any reason to make a physical CD. Instead it will just be a little thumbnail next to an iTunes download:


My images have been used on several CD releases... but all for my own band(s), so I don't really count those.

Here's a book cover that uses several of my images:

American Morons by Glen Hirshberg. It's also a very good collection of stories.

I have both designed record covers and had photos used on them (and gig posters). None of which I'm particularly proud of, alas. Though I'm fond of the spraypainted sleeves I did for the Shirkers 7" reissue test pressings:




When I was publishing a high-end audio magazine way back when, I shot several covers myself out of financial necessity, as I could not afford to hire a professional photographer for the early issues. The result were adequate, but nothing special, so I won't repost them here ... besides, I'm not sure it counts when the art director and photographer are one and the same!

As you might imagine, it was a happy day when a retired product photographer joined the magazine staff as a reviewer and offered to shoot the covers for a nominal fee as well...

Must say, I was quite relieved to discover this wasn't yet another instance of someone blatantly misappropriating a photographer's work!

A neighbour wrote a novel and I got to design the cover:


My first cover was on the South Korean edition of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross' book On grief and grieving. There were also some of my pictures in the book.
What was so great about this is that all the photographers who had pictures in that book were in an entirely different league: they were all Magnum members, among them Steve McCurry, Elliott Erwitt and Constantine Manos. A coincidence for sure, but still very nice.

One of my dearest images of my project in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, made it in wall-size into the water council meeting in Marseille. Besides the natural photographer’s pride the fact made me smile, that this image was created with a (nowadays meagre) Minolta 7D on a 6Mpix sensor.

Pittsburgh Magazine cover

I have many covers to my credit - annual reports, tourism brochures, and trade / consumer magazines - all done on assignment. However, there was one which got away.

The article in the magazine was about gangs in Pittsburgh. The cover assignment was to make a picture which represented a gang member. I pictured a real gang member (referred by my son).

Everyone in the art department, including the art director and picture editor, was delighted by the result. The cover was designed using the picture and sent out to press.

Literally minutes before the press run, someone "upstairs" saw the cover layout and wet their pants. The picture was deemed to be way too controversial and likely to insight political repercussions.

End of cover. Nevertheless, the picture did make into my portfolio and was widely appreciated.

I'm digging the Phyla book cover. I especially like how the designer laid the type out along the edge of the petal. Nice work...

I have a few covers that were placed by Millennium Images in the UK. (The book is on a table in the left half of the frame and the straight photo takes up the right half):

No Place for Heroes


Translation of the Bones

I have one on a current poetry magazine Black dog fights surf.

Only one book cover thus far, on a very nice collection of short stories by Courtney Maum.

The original shot is here here, in this collection.

I've had a few covers made from my photos. The first couple of book covers were in Australia and in Holland. Even though I live in Denmark! Since then my work has been featured on quite a few record albums and books - I've lost count. There's also been quite a few event posters. The only magazine cover to my name must be back when I was the graphic editor of a youth magazine. Its easier when you have all the saying :-)

Does this count? A home page photo on the Alaska Legislature app... heavily cropped now I noticed. Looked much better in version one.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

A couple of album covers for those close to me. One here:

Well, yes, sort of.

Not a photograph but a set of images we put together for a scientific study. The editor liked the graphics and suggested we go for the cover of the journal. I still have dozens of copies of the article with covers but have only found a single copy online showing the cover. It's small.

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Other photographs have appeared in magazines, books, and academic textbooks but, alas, no covers.

Here's Jay Maisel's cover photo of Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue vinyl album. Available at his site as a limited edition print for USD 2,400 (13" X 19").

I have the 1986 CD release which has an unattributed cover photo.

As a pc user, my favorite "cover" is Bliss by Charles O'rear which I thought was an
artist's illustration until I read about it in TOP.

Maybe its all about the Kudos. I turned down requests as I decided that the rates offered were ridiculous and the terms extended to cover reproduction on all possible media for ever(roughly speaking).
Their attitude was another photographer will agree and so it came to pass.
Its the money thing, again, there is always someone cheaper or thinking that the 'PR' / Kudos is worth it.

two covers, same building

Re. Mike's point about the "digital tsunami" for books:


The album covers of the ECM record label comprise one of my favourite bodies of visual "work". The photographic covers in particular, though by a number of photographers, have a consistent vision that I admire very much.

There have been two books on the subject, "Sleeves of Desire" (out of print) and "Windfall Light: The Visual Language of ECM".

A year and a half I was emailed by a Canadian textbook publisher and eventually one of my photos was placed on the cover of an Intro to Philosophy book.
And here's the original from my website.

There are lots of niches in this area and my only cover came in a rather specialised one. 25 years ago I was very interested in tropical fishes and after some correspondence with the editor of 'Practical Fishkeeping', I sent him an article about aquarium photography with a selection of Kodachromes. He printed the article with the photo below on the cover of the issue because it is a strong image, in portrait format with plenty of space for lettering.

I wish I could find my copy of the mag, but I am moving house at the moment, so I can't show the actual cover. I am proud of this close-up because it shows a mother cichlid, Neolamprologus leleupi, helping her fry to hatch - behaviour which is rarely observed and hardly ever photographed.

Joe Holmes, your photo looks stunning on that book!
I long thought that text and photos should be kept separate, in and on magazines and books, but I have to admit that in this case they work wonderfully together. (Partly of course due to the large dark area in the top half.) Well done.

Back in the day, mid 1970's, I had a cover on the National Geographic School Magazine. It was a shot of a Shetland pony looking forlornly through a split rail fence, both covered in snow. I have a tear sheet of it framed in storage back home but no jpeg so you'll have to trust me on this. :)
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

No cover, just wanted to thank you for the John Lehet image. Went to his website and love his work. Gorgeous images. Thanks Mike and John!

I ran track in high school. When I was done with my events, I would pull out my Canon FTb and photograph the other runners and field event athletes. (That FTb still exists and still works, but the way. I doubt I will be able to say that about any of my digital cameras 40 years later?)

My coach used to submit my photos from invitational meets to the publisher of Illinois Track and Field News. One of my photos of a sprinter breaking the tape at the finish line made the cover once. It was pretty exciting stuff for a high school kid. Wish I still had the newspaper.

Cornell University Law School poster in regard to national conference on The Constitution and Religion.

State of Illinois Bulletin on state prisons.

This was probably my first cover, New England Review, 1983, thanks to writer, poet, and editor Jim Schley, who has used my images more than anyone else, on covers -- mostly poetry.

That image was one of my early view camera images, on 4 x 5 infrared sheet film, 1981. It was one of the hardest to print images in the darkroom that I ever worked with. Thanks to that cover, I sold some prints, which gave me the money to set up my first darkroom of my own.

Now I print it on Epson Velvet Fine Art paper, and bigger than I could in the darkroom. The grain I wished wasn't there in the 80s I now find quite lovely, especially mixed with the textured paper.

The more modern interpretation of the image, which has been printed and reprinted and reinterpreted over these 25 years, is here.

I would love to show the covers of a couple of my books, but I'm afraid I'm just not computer-savvy enough to figure out how to do it!

I have had some stuff used for a few liner notes and stuff in the past, but I have only one album cover. A friend of mine runs a vinyl only experimental music label called Platinum Metres http://www.platinummetres.com/ I did the cover for the first release and one of the gate fold images.

Bad scan, but...
view it slightly larger.

Everyone asks me if I photoshopped the disc to have the words right side up. Nope. That part was just luck.

Also got the cover of a book called, really, "Autograph Penis". Everyone in the shot was clothed.

For Mark, have you tried finding an old copy of that Ferrari magazine?


I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned Karl Baden's Covering Photography site: http://idesweb.bc.edu/baden6/

If you're interesting in the topic, it's a great resource.

I recently got my first cover which is the "Greenville, SC and Upcountry Visitor's Guide" for VisitGreenvilleSC. Originally, I thought VisitGreenvilleSC was the county tourist commission, but I just found out that it is part of Michelin Travel and Lifestyle, NA. Michelin's North American Corporate offices are in Greenville, SC too hence the association I suppose. It is a nice little guide, and I have a couple of other photographs in it too. The guide actually has quite a few nice photographs of the area in it although all are quite small since the guide itself is small.

Since I just received my copies of the guide, I haven't had the time to scan it in to post the cover image.

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