Devo (Nicolas Graebling of Rock On Wall and family/Courtesy Sleeveface)

Sleeveface has been around for a while now — there’s even a paperback book of the best images — but it has received renewed attention after being featured on Buzzfeed. The photos work like this: Take your favorite album, and put yourself in a scene resembling its cover. This could mean dressing up like David Bowie, or sitting by the ocean like Boz Scaggs. Then, line up your album cover, click and submit. It’s a fun challenge for photography nerds and music fans alike.

It also falls in step with what other photobloggers are doing at Dear Photograph and Looking Into the Past, which I featured in an August Style story. Jason Powell of Looking Into the Past attributed it to a nostalgia for a pre-digital era.

“I think because everything’s becoming so digital now, that physical photographs — actual pictures — are so cool to look at,” said Taylor Jones, founder of Dear Photograph. “It’s the fascination that people have with old trends becoming new . . .we wish we could live in that old age when there wasn’t any technology.”

Carl Morris, who runs Sleeveface with John Rostron, thinks that a sense of loss comes with the technological gains in digital photography and music.

“A lot of these ideas are related to time and memories. I think the digital era makes us think about time in new ways,” Morris said. “Photographs connected to music, experiences, memories and so on are always with us, on the web and in our pockets.”

Just as physical photographs have become more interesting, album covers hold the same intrigue. In 20 years, we won’t be able to do the same visual trick with an MP3 jpeg, after all.

Want to dig through your own dusty pile of records? Any image can be a photo-within-a-photo, as long as it is cropped tightly enough that it can be anchored to a scene beyond the borders of the photo. But having a good record collection with gems such as these certainly helps.


Kraftwerk (Christophe Gowans/Courtesy Sleeveface)