Sleevefacers Become The Album Cover British DJ Carl Morris was just "horsing around," when he held up a Paul McCartney record to his face, grafting the famous Beatle's head to his body. Since then, the idea, dubbed "sleevefacing," has flourished into a new art trend, Web Site and book that includes pictures of people sleevefacing across the world.
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Sleevefacers Become The Album Cover

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Sleevefacers Become The Album Cover

Sleevefacers Become The Album Cover

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ALEX COHEN, host:

Finally today, a trend called sleeveface. The sleeve here refers to an album sleeve or cover. When you hold it up to your face and take a photo, you make sleeveface. Carl Morris is a DJ living in Cardiff, Wales and one of the authors of a new book called "Sleeveface: Be The Vinyl." He told me the phenomenon started as a bit of a fluke.

Mr. CARL MORRIS (DJ; Co-author, "Sleeveface: Be The Vinyl"): Sleeveface was born when I was just messing around, really, horsing around. I picked up a record, which happened to have Paul McCartney's face on the cover, and I held it in front of my face. So my face was hidden, and Paul McCartney - his head was, sort of, magically grafted onto my neck.

And a friend of mine took a photo of that, and we thought that that would be quite a fun use of time, really. So, we've been going through our record collections and discovering different records that we could use and started a website called sleeveface.com.

COHEN: It's really been taking off. You've got this book, and you've got the website, sleeveface.com. What are some of the best ones that you've seen so far?

Mr. MORRIS: Somebody in California, actually, has done one with a Carpenters album that involves a picture of a car. The album is called "Now and Then" by the Carpenters, and they've matched it up with a car. It looks pretty special.

COHEN: There's a bit of an art to all of this. You've created an instructional video explaining it. Could you give me some of the basic rules of how to sleeveface?

Mr. MORRIS: One thing that sort of emerged naturally as a bit of a rule that we follow is that we never tweak the images, and we never use Photoshop or any software to change the images in any way. But other than that, there's a lot of versatility and experimentation. I dare not set any rules, really because if I tried to set some rules, then somebody would probably break them and create something new and interesting.

COHEN: I think there's one in your book, it's the cover for the soundtrack of Hair. And then, the person who sleevefaced it is then holding, for some reason unknown to me, a giant, brightly-colored plastic water gun.

Mr. MORRIS: Yes. I mean, there probably isn't a reason.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MORRIS: It's just whatever was available to hand. And that's part of it - is the happy accidents as much as the planning. Just make it look interesting, and you can sort of deduce little things about these people, even though you can't actually see their faces.

COHEN: Some of the ones that you see are ones where people basically dress up in such a way that you'd see what the rest of the album cover might look like if it extended beyond. But some of my favorites are the ones that just use contrast to make things humorous.

There's an example, page 11 in your book. It's Barbra Streisand's "Greatest Hits, Volume II." It shows her head in profile, and someone has sleevefaced it with their dogs. You've got Barbra Streisand's head on a black Labrador, I believe.

In a similar one, there is Gil Scott Heron and his album "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." And the album cover's got this really serious shot of his face. And then the person who sleevefaced it is wearing these pink Hello Kitty socks, which kind of makes the whole thing look ridiculous.

(Soundbite of laughter)

COHEN: What are - what do you think are some of the tricks that you can employ to make the best sleeveface shots?

Mr. MORRIS: Costume is certainly one that we've embraced, where, if the artist on the sleeve has got a black T-shirt, then, if you wear a black T-shirt, it will help to reinforce the illusion and make the illusion more believable.

People have been using props as well. For instance, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel has got the two of them standing there. But if you hold that directly in front of your face, it's very difficult to make it look believable. So you need to get a photographer and then another friend to hold the sleeve at a distance, and then the perspective will help, you know, to have it lined up and believable.

COHEN: Carl Morris is a DJ and the man behind sleeveface, the book and website. Thanks so much, Carl.

Mr. MORRIS: Yeah. Thanks, Alex.

COHEN: If you'd like to see how we here at NPR West fared when we took our own sleeveface photos, or if you'd like to send us one of your own, go to our blog. It's npr.org/daydreaming.

(Soundbite of "Bridge Over Troubled Water")

Mr. ART GARFUNKEL: (Singing) Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay thee down.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Day to Day is a production of NPR News with contributions from slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand

COHEN: And I'm Alex Cohen.

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