From Soundcheck to Album Cover: Buffalo Tom's 'Skins'

A picture shot during US rock band Buffalo Tom's London soundcheck becomes the cover of their next record. Cue one very happy film photographer.

What do you say when one of your favourite bands asks you if they can use one of your pics as the cover of your next album?

Buffalo Tom is an American college rock band from Boston, Massachussetts. They formed in the late 80s and released a string of albums through the 1990s; a power trio with a bookish bent.

Their 1995 album, ‘Sleepy Eyed’ was one of my favourite records of 1995 – a year which also gave us the likes of Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’, Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Grand Prix’, and PJ Harvey’s ‘To Bring You My Love’.

After interviewing them for their 1998 album ‘Smitten’, I became friends with bassist Chris Colbourn. Over the following decade I caught up with the band intermittently in London and Boston.

By the time they recorded a new record – 2007′s ‘Three Easy Pieces’ – I was already embroiled in my soundcheck project, shooting bands on black and white film as they rehearse for the night’s show. So when they announced they were playing London’s Scala in the summer of 2007, I headed down with a bag full of Neopan and Tri-X to shoot the soundcheck.

Little did I know that a shot from that day would end up becoming my first album cover.

Skins Album on All Music

Nowadays, when I shoot the bands at soundcheck I keep it very simple – a Nikon FM2N with a 50mm lens and a Nikon F100 with an 85mm lens, on Fuji Neopan rated at 6400 (photographic projects work best when they have a uniform feel).

But at the time, I was also taking along a Voigtlander Bessaflex, a new M42 mount SLR (made by Cosina in the mid-2000s), which was loaded with Tri-X film.

As the BT boys – Colbourn, singer/guitarist Bill Janovitz and drummer Tom Maginnis – soundchecked, I crept around the stage, taking shots as unobtrusively as I could. As Tom started checking his kit, I rattled off a few frames on the Bessaflex, and caught him reaching out with a stick with the focus tight on the cymbals.

Scanning the negs, I chose it as one of the shots to upload to the Flickr set of the day’s sessions, and thought little more of it.

Fast forward to 2010, when Chris mailed me to say the band were wrapping up work on the follow up album, ‘Skins‘, and that the band liked the shot and wanted to use it as the album cover.

As a fan it’s flattering, but also because the band’s albums have included some truly iconic images. The cover of ‘Let Me Come Over’, their breakthrough album, is a classic image of an Aboriginal stockman by Michael O’Brien, while Sleepy Eyed’s surreal cover – a girl holding miniature skulls to her eyes – is by Magnum photographer Abbas. That’s humbling company to be in.

The album also came with a set of fine art postcards, also featuring shots I took at the Scala and during their European tour in late 2007.

I’ve shot them several times since – on another tour through Europe in 2011 and at their 25th anniversary shows in Boston later that year – but nothing will quite beat that feeling of first walking into a record store and seeing my picture staring out from the record racks.

Check out my soundcheck/concert shots of Buffalo Tom here.

For more information, check out: Buffalo Tom on Wikipedia, Skins Album on All Music, and Voigtlander Bessaflex TM on Camera Quest.

written by stephen73 on 2013-02-27 in #lifestyle

More Interesting Articles

  • Chasing The Sun: Oasis 1993 - 1997 Exhibition

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-05-02 in #news
    Chasing The Sun: Oasis 1993 - 1997 Exhibition

    Manchester based band Oasis rose to fame in late 1994 with their debut album "Definitely Maybe" which went straight to number one in the UK charts. They went on to have eight UK number one singles, eight number one albums and whole host of awards, dramas, fights, fall outs and new members in between. Chasing The Sun: Oasis 1993 - 1997 was the first Oasis exhibition of rare and iconic photographs, artifacts and memorabilia from the early years of the band. Some of these photos were take by Tom Sheehan who had his own exhibition at our Lomography Store East.

  • LomoAmigo: Tom Skyrme from Swim Mountain

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-07-14 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo: Tom Skyrme from Swim Mountain

    Tom Skyrme is a musician from East London who has been shooting on film since he was a kid. His psych-pop band Swim Mountain will be playing live at the Lomography x Nixon Exhibition in Soho on July 24th. We caught up with Tom ahead of this gig to find out what makes him tick.

  • Top Photo Uploaders of 2014

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-12-27 in #news
    Top Photo Uploaders of 2014

    We'd like to thank everyone for continuously capturing precious moments on photographs and sharing them with all of us. Each of your photographs and albums brought happiness and inspiration to everyone in the community. These lomographers take the spotlight for their ceaseless passion for photography and for their generosity in sharing every step of their analogue adventure. Meet our top photo uploaders of 2014.

  • Shop News

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Lomo'instant LomoAmigo: Martin Smith

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-02-17 in #people #news #lifestyle #locations #lomoamigos
    Lomo'instant LomoAmigo: Martin Smith

    Martin Smith is a London based film photography fan who was one of the first people to receive the Lomo'instant from the Kickstarter Campaign. Since then he's been avidly shooting around town. Martin chatted to us about his love for instant photography and showed us some of his excellent shots. Read on for the full interview.

  • Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    written by fadjaradiputra on 2014-11-07 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    Adi, Ekeu, and I did a lomowalk around downtown Bandung last Saturday, the beginning of November. We planned to use our Lubitel cameras with only one roll of film each. We were inspired by the One Roll of Film Project by four Tokyo-based photographers with their Hasselblad cameras. This is about the one roll of film I shot with the Lubitel 166U, which made me love shooting in medium format even more.

  • A Salute to the Masters: The Sirius Space Mission to the Third Planet (A Tribute to Peter Mitchell)

    written by sirio174 on 2014-05-06 in #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: The Sirius Space Mission to the Third Planet (A Tribute to Peter Mitchell)

    Imagine an alien space mission from a planet of the Sirius Star System to an abandoned industrial zone of Como, a city situated in the North of Italy. The alien photographer named sirio174, used a powerful futuristic camera, called Lomo Lubitel 166U loaded with a Kodak Portra film roll. Yes, no digital, because the future is...analogue! During his journey, he learned the most common language of our planet -- English -- and he wrote this article for us. Read more after the jump!

  • Shop News

    Get 20% off on the Lomography Experimental Lens Kit

    Get 20% off on the Lomography Experimental Lens Kit

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras.

  • A Bit of Boston in the Heart of Vienna

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-03-05 in #gear #lifestyle
    A Bit of Boston in the Heart of Vienna

    The brand new Lomo'Instant Boston Edition hit the shelves around the world this week. In an attempt to celebrate the home of the ol' bean and the cod, we ventured out in search of some classic Boston flair. While we couldn't find a baseball match or a proper clam chowder, we did have a blast chasing red brick walls and spicing up our photo shooting with some iconic American flavors!

  • Teufelsberg: The Architecture of Espionage

    written by wil6ka on 2015-03-04 in #world #locations
    Teufelsberg: The Architecture of Espionage

    The spying globes on Teufelsberg are the not-so-secret insider tip for Berlin’s urban ruins and interesting freak show architecture. Even if you’re reluctant, one thing's for sure: the “Devil’s Mountain” is just plain awesome. The torn-up globe structures of the former military territory are just waiting to be conquered by lomographers… so what are you waiting for?

  • Awesome Albums: NeueHeimat by masha_njam

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-03-04 in #world #lifestyle
    Awesome Albums: NeueHeimat by masha_njam

    The thing to do after settling in your new homeland? Memorize its silhouettes and shadows in the form of showcase-worthy vignettes.

  • Shop News

    Belair Camera

    Belair Camera

    Love medium format? This Belair baby will never fail you to satisfy your cravings for taking photographs in 120 format! Choose among the different variants of Belair cameras that will suit your tastes!

  • Marcus DeSieno on Merging the Old and New, Manifesting the Unseen, and Exploring the Vastness of the Universe with Photography

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-03-04 in #people #lifestyle
    Marcus DeSieno on Merging the Old and New, Manifesting the Unseen, and Exploring the Vastness of the Universe with Photography

    Marcus DeSieno is a Tampa-based photographer who specializes in merging early and modern photographic processes for his body of work. In this exclusive follow-up feature, DeSieno opens up about his process and gives a detailed walk through on his odd yet undeniably fascinating series, "Cosmos," which was previously featured here on the Lomography Magazine, and "Parasites."

  • Photo of the Day by mrmaart

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-03-04 in #world #news
    Photo of the Day by mrmaart

    Biking is good for the heart especially if you're doing it with someone you hold dear!

  • LC-A 120 with Coco Alexander

    written by mindofmyra on 2015-03-04 in #people #lomoamigos
    LC-A 120 with Coco Alexander

    Our beloved friend Coco Alexendar took the new LC-A 120 to the park, a concert, and into the snow. Find out more about Coco's approach to photography and what she likes to do beyond photography!