Record Store Day 2014 is April 19. The annual holiday, conceived as a way for people to celebrate a cherished and once-dormant musical medium, sees record stores nationwide stock collector’s editions, hold special in-store events and celebrate vinyl’s resurgence.
Eilon Paz knows about vinyl. The N.Y.C.-based photographer started photographing record collectors in 2008 after emigrating from Israel, and his hobby/labor of love gradually grew into full-fledged work.
Paz’s beautiful coffee table book, Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, is the official book of Record Store Day 2014, and features 250 staggeringly pretty full-page photos of record store collectors across the world, as well as 12 full-length interviews with various collectors. The book launches with an event Saturday at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn.
Here are eight portraits from the book, along with an interview with Paz. PEOPLE: What do you think draws people to records, and collecting them?
Paz: Well, for most of the collectors I’ve photographed – not all – but for most, it comes down to a love of music. And vinyl is just the chosen medium. Then comes the element of collecting the actual physical object. People collect many things – stamps, hats, bottles of wine. But I think the reason the collectors want vinyl instead of CDs is that it’s a physical object that’s big, beautiful and sounds good.
Paz: I was always a record collector myself, since childhood. When I immigrated to New York in 2008, it was at the beginning of the economic recession, and I found myself without any work at all. I just found myself walking around in record stores, and after spending most of my money in record stores, I thought, “Well, I need to make use of this time and what I’ve done, and make something productive.”
Paz: One of the first questions I ask people is, “Do you remember your first record?” and they answer right away. I don’t think you’d get the same answer if you ask, “What was the first MP3 you downloaded?”
Paz: Vinyl deserves your attention. It’s a little bit more work. It’s harder to collect vinyl. And that increases the value of it, personally.
PEOPLE: One of the things people frequently mention is how album art matters less. As a visual artist, do you have any favorite album covers or artists who’ve done album art?
Paz: Strom Thorgerson and Hypgnosis were, I think, responsible for my passion for photography. When I was 16, I was trying to hit on the beautiful girls in my class, using the camera as a tool. But when it comes to artistic inclinations, when I started making artwork and producing images, the album cover to Pink Floyd’s Animals was one of my first inspirations.
Paz: One of my favorite things about working on Dust and Grooves was being able to work with the people who created some really iconic covers. I photographed B+, a photographer in L.A. who shot the cover of DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing…... It was a great honor for me, to be able to hang out and interact with someone I look up to.
PEOPLE: Do you have a favorite record store in New York?
Paz: The first shop that became my home, where the project started, was Tropicalia In Furs, which was in the East Village. My favorite in Brooklyn – that’s still open – is Black Gold Records in Carroll Gardens.
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