One of the great virtues of vinyl records is the cover art. The cardboard sleeve of a record is a full square foot, which feels positively billboard-sized compared to a CD, tape, or the teeny-tiny logo on your phone. And over the decades, photography has stood out as the evocative album cover art form of choice.


Prince, Lovesexy (Paisley Park, 1988), photograph by Jean-Baptiste Mondino | (Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover, Aperture, 2016)

Photography has an uncanny way of capturing the tone of an artist and album, whether it's Prince in repose, John Coltrane swathed in cerulean, or a moody image plucked from the repertoire of such photographic greats as Elliott Erwitt, Guy Bourdin, and William Eggleston.

Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover (Aperture, 2016) showcases the interaction between vinyl and photography through more than 400 images across seven decades. Seen together, it's a vibrant history of photography and pop culture, from the moody photojournalism of the 1950s and the psychedelic playfulness of the 1960s to the sexual innuendos of the 1980s and cyber influences of the 1990s and 2000s. Dive in:

John Coltrane, Blue Train (Blue Note, 1957), photograph by Francis Wolff | (Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover, Aperture, 2016)

Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti (Swan Song, 1975), photograph by Elliott Erwitt | (Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover, Aperture, 2016)

Boz Scaggs, Middle Man (Columbia, 1980), photograph by Guy Bourdin | (Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover, Aperture, 2016, copyright The Guy Bourdin Estate)

David Bowie, Let's Dance (EMI, 1983), photograph by Greg Gorman | (Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover, Aperture, 2016)

The Raveonettes, Rarities/B-Sides (Self-released, 2011), photograph by Todd Hido | (Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover, Aperture, 2016)

Björk, Possibly Maybe (One Little Indian, 1996), photograph by Nobuyoshi Araki | (Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover, Aperture, 2016)

Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover | (Aperture, 2016)

**Visit Aperture.org for more information about Total Records**