A Nostalgic Look at the Era of Vinyl Albums and Turntables

The Photo Blog
June 9 2013 12:00 PM

A Nostalgic Look at the Era of Vinyl Albums and Turntables

The Cure, Three Imaginary Boys
The Cure, Three Imaginary Boys

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

Five years ago, Kai Schaefer had a big, empty wall in his new flat and needed something to fill it. He decided to make a photograph of a record.

Although Schaefer grew up listening to tapes, one of the first records he listened to was Led Zeppelin IV.

“I remember I was 12 or 13 and my father had the record Led Zeppelin IV,” Schaefer recalled via email. “I was not allowed to use the turntable but he recorded me a tape. My father owned a Walkman, which I was allowed to use, so I listened to the tape many times and I met a girl and we listened together … in my memory it was very romantic: ‘Stairway to Heaven’!”

Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman
Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

New Order Substance 1987
New Order, Substance 1987

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

Pink Floyd The Darkside of the Moon
Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

Advertisement

Drawing from Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” Schaefer began photographing some of the albums on the list. He’ll be showing more than 100 images at “World Records” at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles from June 8 to July 13.

Schaefer isn’t a collector of vinyl or of turntables but works with collectors who allow him to borrow their resources to make the images. To create the photos, over the course of a year, Schaefer developed a special homemade light, but he’s keeping the technical details to himself.

“World Records” is meant to pay homage to the era of analog acoustic art and to inspire the viewer to enter a nostalgic space when viewing the images. Schaefer wrote that although his taste in music varies, his favorite genre is rock ’n’ roll.

And he’s not done photographing records. “I think it’s the best idea I have ever had and now it’s also a passion for me to continue,” Schaefer wrote.

The Rolling Stones Aftermath
The Rolling Stones, Aftermath

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

Elvis Presley, Mystery Train
Elvis Presley, Mystery Train

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

Prince, Purple Rain
Prince, Purple Rain

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

Little Richard Here's Little Richard
Little Richard, Here's Little Richard

Kai Schaefer/Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

David Rosenberg is the editor of Slate’s Behold blog. He has worked as a photo editor for 15 years and is a tennis junkie. Follow him on Twitter.