By Katy Cowan
The joy of purchasing a record with a beautifully designed sleeve. The care and attention placed on removing said record from its protective case. The satisfaction of placing a needle on a record and hearing that first crackling sound. These were all the wonderful things about vinyl that we experienced up until the early 1990s before CDs became the dominant force, and later still – digital downloads and live streaming shifted us further away from the humble black disc.
But despite technological advances, there has been a recent resurgence in vinyl over the past decade. Statistics have shown that record shops account for more than half of all record sales, reaching its highest level since 1991. These sales, produced by independent labels, only constitute a 3% market share in the UK, but if they’re compared to the 50% decrease in overall music sales, vinyl can be seen as a format that is rising in popularity.
In his series Vinyl Culture, London photographer Jordan Stephens wanted to explore the current landscape that surrounds vinyl by looking at record shops, collectors, and the individuals whose lives revolve around vinyl records.
Here are just a few snippets from his project, which includes interviews with the people he photographs. In the main picture is Elly Randall, who co-founded the Vinyl Library with Sophie Austin – the first ever lending library, based in Stoke Newington, London.
She said: “With the library it’s rediscovery. I’ve discovered so much from different genres, I like knowing where things come from, and learning about different artists. That’s the amazing thing about vinyl; on the computer you’re just clicking tunes and you have no knowledge of where they come from really. With vinyl you see the artwork, you recognise names and labels, it’s a totally different experience. Only now do realise how important it is keep that tactile engagement with music.”
Jordan Stephens is a cinematographer and photographer based in London. He graduated from Falmouth University studying Press and Editorial Photography. His experience spans between the film and photographic industry, and clients include Huck Magazine, Guinness and Microsoft. Discover more at www.jordanstephens.co.uk.
Via Behance | All images courtesy of Jordan Stephens
Storefront, Drift Records, Totnes, Devon, November, 2013
Rupert Morrison – who runs the record shop Drift, Totnes, Devon
Alan Scholefield – Honest Jon’s record shop in London
Jean Claude – music producer, DJ and owner of IfMusic, London
Mandy Camp – Jam records in Falmouth, Cornwall
Tim Derbyshire – On The Beat record shop, Tottenham Court Road, London
On The Beat record shop, London, November, 2013
Rob Messer – Record collector and dealer