Cover Art

Guest host Pete Rosos invites you to imagine the cover of a favorite book, music album, or magazine.

Pete Rosos, a freelance photographer for over a decade, has worked at Fairlight Media Pool in Hamburg, Germany, and studied at Speos Photographic Institute in Paris, France. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pete is a regular contributor to local news blog, independent photography store Looking Glass Photo‘s blog, and photography collective

Abbey Road. American Beauty. Steve McCurry’s “Afghan Girl.” A General Theory of Love. These are just a few famous examples of cover art that uses photography to convey a mood and to suggest what we might find in the work itself. They have a quality that echoes a particular character of their respective subject matter, an essence that words fail to capture with simplicity.

For this week’s Photo Challenge, stimulate your creative process and imagine which of your images you would like to see gracing the cover of a book, an album, or a magazine. Would the image inspire us to take a peek through the pages, listen to the music, or buy a ticket to the show? Would it strike a chord with viewers, making them reflect on or revisit memories of places, people, and experiences?


Do you remember what it was like when you were twelve? If you’re a parent, have you had the chance to relive the glory days of being that age yet? Through my own experience as a parent to a twelve-year-old, I constantly get the sense my kid wishes that I could walk a mile in her shoes. What if she wrote a book to tell me how it really felt?

Knowing her as well as I do, the photo above would be the book’s cover. It channels the struggle all twelve-year-olds go through between who they were, who they are, and who they’re becoming. It’s an attempt at a façade, a mask of both hope and fear.

You can take several different approaches to this challenge:

  • Take your favorite album, book, magazine, or show and choose the image that best represents the selected work.
  • If you could make a mix album of songs for yourself, a friend, or a loved one, or write a story about a particular time or experience you’ve had, what would the cover art look like?
  • If a well-known publication came to you asking for a cover image to a particular themed issue they plan to run, what would the theme be (your choice), and what image would you choose to represent it?

If you’re doing an album cover, which album would it be? If you’re doing a mixed album, what songs would you use?

If your cover art is for a book, is the book fiction or non-fiction? Did you write it? If not, then who? What’s the title of the book?

Not sure how to add text to your image in a creative way? You could use a free online image editor, Like PicMonkey, as we showed in a recent tutorial on Image Widgets.

The cover art can be a simple image, or, if you’re looking for a more technical challenge, you can add elements like title, author, or song list to the image. It can be sad, happy, silly, or serious. The main points here are to dig a new creative well and to have fun while doing it. I’m looking forward to see what you come up with. Enjoy!

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  1. I’m REALLY digging this week’s photo challenge! I’ll have to get creative over the course of several days and post something. For now, I’ll provide a link to a previous post in which I took Rolling Stone’s August 2013 cover and replaced it with four variant covers.


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