Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Jam, The Modern World, and Paul Weller's Jumper

I wrote a piece about The Jam's This Is The Modern World in the new Uncut special edition about Paul Weller. Along the way, I asked the sleeve designer Bill Smith a few questions, and he was good enough to send me this.
I was responsible for all the Jam covers – singles and albums, from In the City through to Absolute Beginners. For the cover of This Is the Modern World I wanted to produce a very Post-Modern image, with some small nod to Situationism. The photographer was Gered Mankowitz, a photographer who was working with the Stones and Hendrix in the ‘60’s and many other pop stars from then through to the ‘90’s. I wanted an urban/modern setting for the band that firmly rooted them into London culture, so we found the location for the shoot under the Westway near North Kensington. The Mod influence was very much down to Paul, he had seen Pete Townshend wearing a jacket or something with arrows on, so we put the arrows using gaffer tape onto his jumper. Having used the suits for the first In the City shoot, we quickly moved into the more Mod/Carnaby Street look from then on. The shoot was done using daylight and then added flash to give heavy shadowing and emphasise the concrete monoliths of the Westway support columns and the feeling of claustrophobia from the road above. We were all pleased with the resulting images.