The Cure – 'Three Imaginary Friends' – on B&O © Kai Schäfer

Celebrating music history’s most iconic vinyl albums

From The Cure to The Clash...

[T]he most iconic physical form of music, vinyl records may be having a mainstream comeback, but they’ve been overwhelmingly loved for a long time. Celebrating some of history’s notorious albums, German photographer Kai Schäfer has collated some of the most distinctive creations and captured them in their natural form – spinning on a turntable. From David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Marsto Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, Prince’s Purple Rain and The Cure’s Three Imaginary Friends, WORLDRECORDS is a powerful homage to music, art and design.

Encapsulating the nuances of vinyl and record players, Schäfer’s project illuminates the diverse past of vinyl, and investigates the insane detail in them. Part of this is thanks to the photographer’s crafting of a unique lighting system which illuminates “the records in a way that suppresses reflections…the precise approach – down to the last detail – is a technical marvel, magnifying each groove and label with the careful consideration that most vinyl collectors adhere to”.

Prince - Purple Rain - on Technics© Kai Schäfer

Prince – 'Purple Rain – on Technics © Kai Schäfer

Schäfer’s project – which started back in 2010 – is on display now at HENI Gallery, and has been transformed into a captivating book which excitingly features a foreword by Peter Hook from Joy Division and New Order. Art and music writer Michael Bracewell also writes within WORLDRECORDS, describing it “as much a celebration of iconic turntable design as it is a statement about the history of rock and pop music and our relationship to it. In their own unselfconscious way, each of the WORLDRECORDS becomes a cultural historical statement, charting the way in which Pop became the defining symbol of the Mass Age.”

The Düsseldorf based photographer also explains that it “is a tribute to analogue acoustic art; a homage to the warmest, perhaps most sensitive type of sound carrier. In a way – that makes the photo series so special – it is also a private time machine to the spectator: music as an impulse to remember bits and pieces of one’s personal history, a release of former thoughts and feelings. The soundtrack of your life.” So take a peak into the project below…

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures – on Braun © Kai Schäfer

Joy Division – 'Unknown Pleasures' – on Braun © Kai Schäfer

Michael Jackson – Thriller – on Ariston © Kai Schäfer

Michael Jackson – Thriller – on Ariston © Kai Schäfer

WORLDRECORDS by Kai Schäfer runs from 1 June – 1 July 2018 at HENI Gallery 6-10 Lexington Street, London, W1F 0LB. The book WORLDRECORDS by Kai Schäfer is out now for further information and stockists click here.