For You: 1991 – No More Dreams
When I paired the artist name “1991” with the album cover, I tried to connect the dots on why so many 90s alternative rock albums had those super filtered-out images that would either depict the band members just staring at the camera somewhere outside or maybe just a child doing something childlike. My conclusion was that the filtering actually meant a little more to the musicians and the album cover artist; these images were developed manually, or more specifically, by hand. After fucking with the photo until it became washed out or somehow esoteric, the artist said “yes, this will do for the sound or soul of this album.” There was trial and error, and a type of curation.
Not to be nostalgic about those days, I think to the modern filtered-out images of band members and children: there a stronger lack of deliberateness; just like an Instagrammer will idly switch through the two dozen or so filters just to get the right tone for the square image, the “trial and error” instead becomes much more automated, and thus demoted to a less interpretive place within the viewer’s mind. I am cannot ask so much as to why the album cover’s photo was fucked up in such a way as it is as accidental as tripping over an image and its resulting look. I guess like searching for a keyword on Google and just picking whatever came up third.
Maybe in reality the manual and automatic processes are the same; they are still chosen to be suitable for the album cover and are thus curated in the scarcity of the singular image of the album itself. And maybe I am romanticizing the developing room and the sudden eureka moment that might have happened when the right image came into being. I must take my thoughts with a grain of salt, especially when I realized that “No More Dreams” came out in 2016, long after my rose-tinted ideations of 1991.