Jon Lawrence, musician, songwriter, ethnomusicologist, lecturer and all round top geezer has asked me to design the packaging for his new CD. I’ve worked with Jon on music packaging a couple of years before, on a project called Albatross Bay, which, although restricted by a low budget, came together very well, taking advantage of the low cost production of the standard CD jewel case format, but with the addition of a hand stamped brown paper bag outer wrap.
After listening to a first rush of the CD, provisionally titled ‘Only the Sun’, I talked to Jon about my initial responses; that the songs I’d listened to had a really crafted feel; genuine and personal. A couple of tracks are really catchy too, with a playfulness in the lyrics. Jon had already stated that he was keen to get himself on the cover, and my first thought was to make a print image rather than use a standard photograph. Partly this reason was personal – I have been wanting to do some more directed printmaking, but also it seemed to fit the personal nature of the songs. I showed Jon my etchings (oo-er missus!) and monoprints and explained the processes. I suggested the monoprint route as it offered a much looser feel: Jon responded well to this but I feel he had some reservations. I suggested we take some images, which would give me something play with, and him, something to think about.
25 MARCH I took a series of photos of Jon with a guitar that he used throughout the recording. I took 20 images in all, with a view to shooting more as ideas progressed.
I met with Jon a couple of days after to discuss the results of the shoot and we both agreed that there were two images that were the strongest, with three or four more good for details of the guitar and ‘lost in music’ facial expressions. Jon was still keen on the monoprint idea but needed a clearer visual to get the full effect. I will be preparing a couple of quick trials in a couple of days to generate something a little more concrete to work from. I expect to make quite a few attempts to achieve the quality I’m after, so these early trials should give me some valuable information to work on with.