Double take

A British photographer has launched an appeal on Kickstarter to raise £15,000 to make his book about reggae album art a reality.

Alex Bartsch’s proposed publication takes an in-depth look at 42 reggae album covers shot in London between 1967 and 1987.

Among the artistes whose albums were captured are John Holt, Al Campbell, Pat Kelly, Smiley Culture, and Peter Tosh, all of whom have strong followings in the United Kingdom.

“The idea first came to me when I bought the Brixton Cat LP by Joe’s All Stars. I live in Brixton and took the record down to the market where the cover photo was shot, holding it up and re-photographing it at arms-length, matching up the LP to the background,” Bartsch told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper. “The second cover was Smiley Culture’s Cockney Translation 12-inch, which was photographed in Battersea. From then on I was hooked.”

On Friday, Kickstarter had raised £22,636 for the project, which has a December 6 closing date.

Bartsch is teaming with Al Newman of One Love Books to publish his pictorial. Newman has published the well-received Clarks In Jamaica, Sound System Cultureand In Fine Style: The Dancehall Art of Wilfred Limonious.

Jamaican artistes like Holt established themselves in the UK during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Because much of their music was distributed by British labels such as Trojan and Jet Star, a lot of the production took place in that country.

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