After recognising some locations from old reggae album covers in his collection, Alex Bartsch began a bit of a project. He decided to retrace the covers to their original spot, then take a photo of the LP at arm's-length, blending them in with their surroundings.
Bartsch's photos force the viewer to consider the passing of time, as all records date back at least 30 years. It's interesting to see in many of them that so little has changed, bar, say, a little bit of paintwork, or a new hedge. It makes the original images feel more relatable to the viewer — as if London's rate of change isn't going quite at the rapid pace people fret about.
The book contains over 40 covers in areas as diverse as Penge in south east London to Harlesden in the north west. It paints a fascinating map of London's reggae heritage.
Bartsch funded publishing the photos in a book through Kickstarter and the crowdfunding move was remarkably successful. He was only aiming to raise £15,000 but ended up with nearly twice that — £28,877. Most supporters will receive a copy of the book but one guy shelled out £400 for the top reward: a half-day private bicycle tour around some of the locations with Alex himself.
Covers: Retracing Record Sleeves in London is available for pre-order via its publisher One Love Books.