London based photographer finds locations for famous reggae vinyl covers

Alex Bartsch’s photographs retracing reggae LP covers’ original locations are now published as a book.

Alex Bartsch is a London based photographer and a true reggae fan. He was first introduced to Bob Marley as a child and got so inspired that he spent 10 years of his life traveling around London searching for original locations of the most famous reggae vinyl covers from 1967 to 1987.

It all started when Bartsch purchased the Brixton Cat LP from Joe’s All Stars (Trojan Records, 1969). He took the record back down to the market in Brixton, where the cover had been shot, held it up and rephotographed it at an arm’s length, matching-up the background to the LP.

“It often starts with the information on the record sleeve but many of them don’t offer much to go on,” Bartsch said according to demilked. “I have learned through doing this project that a good place to start is the area where the label was based. Sometimes it was just outside the door of the record label.” Although most of the locations haven’t changed much, the photographer discovered that some of them have disappeared or were probably turned into supermarkets, flats, and became impossible to find.

While many locations were easy to find, others took some “detective work.” For his Retracing Reggae Record Sleeves in London series, Bartsch cycled all over the city, creating a map of London’s reggae music heritage. The determined photographer recalls, “To achieve some of these shots I had to hitch a boat ride across Regents Canal, climb onto a rooftop near Old Street, ask to enter someone’s front room in Hampstead, access a back yard in Wembley, and venture on to the Westway in west London.”

Alex collection now has 42 pictures, with which he was able to publish an incredible photography book.

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