The Making Of Jay Z's "Blueprint 3" Album Cover

Here's an oldie, but definitely an interesting video. A few years ago when Jay Z released "Blueprint 3", I saw the cover art and immediately thought that it was done in photoshop. Why would they bother to do it as a physical effect? Boy was I wrong. The  artist Dan Tobin Smith did the cover as a completely physical effect.

So what do you think? Why do you think it was done this way? Ever tried to do something like this yourself?  Let us know in the comments below!

Also, if you're interested in seeing more of the artists work, check out his website HERE.

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10 Comments

Toronto Photographer's picture

Love that it was done "in-camera" I'm all about that. Assuming it took alot of patience and planning, but it resulted in a unique image.

Jens Marklund's picture

Respect. Otherwise it wouldn't be a photograph, would it?

Eu imi ajut sotzul in intreprinderea labei

katsuki's picture

I don't see the necessity of this. And I don't understand why it took so long to pile up the stack of music equipment. It might be planned and it might be "artistic", but it still looks like a pile of stuff. I don't see why it needs so many people to put it together in so many hours.

David Walters's picture

Agree 100%. I see things all the time that make me think "why in the hell would they do it like that" and this is a fine example. I see so many shoots and know so many people that spend an enormous amount of time on something "artistic" and it ends up being incredibly simple and you can't see the value of their time put into it. This is a great example because this is an album cover...the millions of people that will see it won't give a damn that it was done in camera...what a waste of time. Please someone make a valid argument with this. 

Jens Marklund's picture

I hate you.

Because in a time where things like this might be easily achieved through photoshop, the actual physical set up and existence of any surreal-esque photo has been taken for granted, so much even that people like you are wondering why. It's all about the process.

Composition, that's why.

His work is seriously tight. I was fortunate enough to observe him and his team at work lately at my place of work and his photography is very legit. Much respect and admiration to artists like Dan who don't cut corners. Ultimately I feel it all comes down to a true in depth knowledge of how a camera is going to work and behave in all environments.

Owen's picture

Hi, I'm the guy who made this video. 

I worked as Dan's assistant at the time of this shoot and shot the time-lapse (you can see me logging and loading the film with Dan at one point).

I can't speak for Dan about his philosophy, but it certainly seems to stem from the notion of 'doing things properly'. It's true that this idea could have been executed in CGI, and it's true you could have literally just 'piled stuff up' as one commenter suggested, but the end result wouldn't have been THIS. And THIS is what Dan wanted to see. As with all things aesthetic, you can't really justify the time and expense involved unless you already believe that it's important. Some people just won't see the sense in it... but for me, the fact that there are still people out there who do things 'for real', and for no other reason than it being what they envisaged in their minds eye is a wholly positive thing.

Sorry if that's a bit preachy, but I feel pretty strongly about it! For the record, I think CGI techniques are awesome and incredible in their own way too. It's not about shunning new processes or approaches - just using the one that best fits what you want to see in the final piece.
Over and out.