Kanye West Took Landscape Photo Used on Album Cover Himself With iPhone

Kanye West Took Landscape Photo Used on Album Cover Himself With iPhone

With his latest album “ye,” Kanye West took it upon himself to photograph the cover artwork while en route to its listening party in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

If you’re a fan of hip-hop, last night you might have tuned into the live stream of West’s album listening party hosted in the middle of a field among the mountains of Wyoming. It’s certainly one of the more unique venues to have had an event like this, and the beautiful location apparently inspired West to take up his iPhone camera and get his own landscape images. In fact, his wife Kim Kardashian West revealed on Twitter that it was one of Kanye’s own photos that was used for the album cover.

Kanye West's "ye" album cover.

While I’m sure Lee Morris would come down hard on West’s photo using the Fstoppers rating scale, I think it’s fascinating to see this shift in creativity for all people. Everyone is a photographer, and I know some professionals who don’t like that, however the accessibility into our craft pushes everyone forward. I like the fact West took appreciation for what was in front of him enough to shoot a photo, and enjoyed that image so much he made it part of his legacy.

Lead photo by Jason Persse and used under Creative Commons.

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48 Comments

Previous comments
Robert Nurse's picture

I’d be curious as to what you all find lacking. Precisely? One of my peeves in photography, especially at my level, are critiques without substance. People struggling with the art form can’t improve without useful feedback. Here’s what I see::

- Crooked horizon
- The path/road should have more prominence if it’s going to be visible and it too is crooked
- The fence could have started from the lower left corner and used as a more effective leading line to the mountains
- Foreground is colorless/lifeless. Add some color, perhaps?

Alex Armitage's picture

Robert, I was actually just giving Lee a hard time and being very sarcastic. Specifically in relation to his critics/ratings in the "Critique the Community" series. Never meant to be taken seriously :)

Nick Pecori's picture

From a photographer's perspective, yes, it is a pretty bad photo. But the trend currently in his music/fashion/streetwear culture is the understanding that "ugly is good". His clothing line and sneaker designs fall in line with his photo. Just the way it is nowadays.

He probably used an app to write the message on it and that app screwed with the definition.

Or he's cheap and was running out of cloud storage and switched his phone to low res to have more space?

Anything is possible with this guy. But then again, that's a litteral case of "Don't judge a book by it's cover".

Mr Hogwallop's picture

I am not sure what your point is Lee. Is your bright sharp shot better for his album cover? His gloomy photo matches the words more than your bright shot...They both have mountains but...

It's not a "bad" photo any more than a B&W photo is a bad photo. Weird comments from a bunch of people who are in a "so called" creative endeavor. It's almost like Annie Leibovitz took that shot. ;)

Nick Pecori's picture

Really enjoyed Kanye's live stream yesterday, it was different and the setting of Jackson Hole was serene. You can't knock him for pushing his genre in different directions, doing it his way, and not apologizing for it. We should all strive to be that way as artists.

Awwww?!? They took down the video!

(probably on copyrights violations)

Alex Armitage's picture

WHAT. Omg thanks for pointing this out. Wow

I’ve listened to his music and by the look of his image I’d say he’s equally talented in both disciplines. Not much there. I believe the writer of this post doesn’t understand the arts. Mr. West can put what-ever he wants on his album cover but this image doesn’t represent much. Does nothing for the iPhones photography capability or the scene itself. As a snapshot it must have some personal value for Mr. West but to call him a photographer on the strength of this image is quite the disservice’s to all who come to this site to learn about photography. I’m surprised the editors allowed this article to be published.

Ryan Mense's picture

Your mom takes a photo of you. You show a friend the photo your mom took of you, and they ask "Who was the photographer?" Are you telling me you're that wound up about this that you would skirt the question, go on a tangent about how there was no photographer because your mom doesn't practice the art of it, and then storm off in a rage? Get real.

People just be hating, fun to ready all the comments. :) everyone can take a photo but the question is do you like it or will someone pay for it? if you make money taking photos then it makes it hard to get more clients, but if you do it as a hobby its a great way to get into photography by using a iPhone. everyones style is different, if you make money from photography, either you go out of business or you step up your game and change the way you do business. a great photo isn't the only thing that clients look for, and a great photo is relative to the client. if you are a doing it for fun, then the goal is to have fun and love the photos that you are taking. you would want to share it with family and friends. either way technology is getting better, but that doesn't make you a better photographer, it might help out a little, but many other factors to consider. btw was, i don't think the cover photo. its not my style, its looks flat, like a cardboard box color, just a snapshot, not a great photo in my opion. have great day and happy shooting! Aloha!

Anonymous's picture

Amen. People are frightened of change. It makes them feel better to demean others because they think it elevates them, when in fact it makes them look like pathetic.

Photograph what you want and how you want to.

Jay Jay's picture

Don't want to sound like 'that guy', but after several large newspapers making the news in the last few years letting their photo dept go in favor of handing out iphones for staff to use instead, to sports illustrated and several other high profile magazines using covers from cell phones.... is this article even newsworthy? Or rather, is kayne west taking a photo of something on his phone and using it as an album cover justify an article about it? I'd love to see a poll on this, but then again, i already know what the results are probably going to be. ;) (Nothing against your writing, which in itself is great... just the subject matter)

Last month, I enjoyed listening to the Fleetwood Mac channel on Sirius/XM. I learned that John McVie photographed the album cover for "Bare Trees"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bare_Trees
To me, it's clear who the more talented group or artist is. Who is Kanye?

Jaden D.'s picture

So his album cover was made with a phone... so what! How did I get sucked in to this time-vampire of an article? Ugh 😖

user-189304's picture

Seriously, it's his album and he can do whatever he wants with it.

Rex Larsen's picture

These are interesting times for photography. It’s more popular than I’ve ever seen. Often pros are hired to produce images that look like amateur snapshots. Projects are marketed as special because they were shot with cellphones. After hurricane Sandy a pro was hired by Time Magazine to cover it with a cellphone.
It seems like anything goes. I’ve seen magazine cover photos that are not in focus. Crappy or very average photos are often selected for publication when the subject is famous or a celebrity. Many images are called photographs but are more creations of computers and software. Interesting times indeed.