ACHOF Featured Artist Portfolio – Photographer Paul Wakefield
When I do research for the ACHOF site, it is inevitable that I come across things that side-track me from the searches I do in order to be able to give you as much information as I can about the album cover artists featured within our ever-expanding database. A few weeks back, I was looking for some information on a prog-rock illustrator (quite honestly, I can’t recall just who at the moment) when one link led me to a video on YouTube showing the band YES in concert, which then led me to a Jon Anderson video, and hearing the singer’s alto-tenor on that video tripped a wire in my head that reminded me that I hadn’t heard the song “So Long Ago, So Clear” that the group’s long-time vocalist had recorded with keyboard virtuoso Vangelis. The track appeared on the composer’s 1975 album titled Heaven And Hell which, to those of you with working long-term memories will recall, included music that was used as the theme music to the popular Cosmos: A Personal Voyage television series.
While reading the Wiki entry on the record, it reminded me that the album’s cover image – a pair of “angelic”, winged hands floating above a keyboard on top of a fiery background – was one that had always impressed me, and so I set about tracking down the artist(s) who’d created the fantastic cover with the hopes that he/she/they’d be able to share a bit more about how it was made. Some additional research brought me to Paul Wakefield, who confirmed that this work was, in fact, his. Of course, as it always seems in Album Coverland, the cover artist had also been responsible for a number of other just-as-impressive album packages, including two of my favorite Supertramp images – those for 1974’s hit record Crime of the Century and its also-popular 1975 follow-up LP, Crisis? What Crisis?. Based on his broad-based portfolio, I knew at that point that I’d want to work with Paul to show off more of his work and let our readers know more about the artist and what he’s been up to lately.
Although Paul hasn’t worked on album covers in a while, I had reached him right after he’d received a prestigious award for a new book of his landscape images (titled The Landscape), and so he’d been hit with a number of requests for interviews, but my query – obviously not knowing that he’d gone on to become a landscape photographer of some renown – seemed to intrigue him and a subsequent series of emails back and forth between my office and Paul’s studio in the UK allowed him to dig into his personal memory bank (and file archives) to unearth some very interesting details about the productions, and the people involved, that created a portfolio of classic album cover images.