Music Photography by Joe Papeo

Published: Chris Cornell “Songbook V1” Album Art

Town Hall, NYC 4.13.11 – I traveled in to Manhattan to Town Hall for a show I was very much looking forward to.  Chris Cornell, front man for hard rock band Soundgarden, solo and acoustic.  Yeah, it had me intrigued as well.  We were told to shoot songs 7, 8, and 9 only.  When Chris came out on stage I did what every photographer does, I assessed the lighting.  And the lighting was rough.  Sure it gave a good mood for the type of show Chris was about to put on, but as a photographer, this was really going to test my cameras low-light abilities.


I shot it that night, quite a few shots at ISO 6400 or even 12,800.  Almost all with a 70-200 on a 5D2 or a 40D.  Some with a teleconvertor.  The 2 above shots were 2 I published.  The top one from the 5D2 at iso 6400 and the bottom one from the 40d at iso3200.  I liked them enough, but I know they weren’t winning any awards.  I also knew I did my best and that most photographers would have cashed it in or published less than premium work.  So I was happy to have produced somehting I considered good.  I was also surprised when I was asked by Chris’ management to use a couple on his Facebook site.  I obliged not knowing what would come of it.

I have had a good relationship with his management since then, and covered Soundgarden at The Prudential Center over the past summer.  Then one evening in September I am in my car and my phone rings.  It was Universal Music.  They were calling to follow-up on the images they wanted to use for the upcoming Chris Cornell “Songbook” release due November 21st.  I had mentioned that this was something I hadn’t heard about and that’s when they asked if they could license 2 of the images from Town Hall for the release.  After going over the details, the paperwork was sent and the  artwork was being designed.

You can see just how different these are in use.  While the images are mostly the same, the backgrounds have been replaced and images have been merged with 2 other images.  4 images in total are being used for this spread, and 2 are mine.  During the initial phone call they mentioned I might get the cover but I knew I wouldn’t.  I actually knew the cover image they would use before they even sent me the tear sheet.  I remember seeing that image and knew it would make the perfect cover.  Below is the artwork in 3 parts so you can see the images.  The entire fold-out of the artwork is at the top, but I split them to give you some perspective.

You can click here to order the Chris Cornell “Songbook” CD, and I highly suggest you do.  Seeing him at both Town Hall and The Wellmont Theatre, they were probably 2 of my favorite shows of 2011.  You don’t realize just how good a voice Chris really has until you strip it down and take it out of the arena.

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Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 40D,

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS, Kenko 1.4X PRO 300 Teleconverter

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3 Responses to “Published: Chris Cornell “Songbook V1” Album Art”

  1. […] Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ 11.22.11 -I’ve shot Chris Cornell 5 times at this point.  4 times on his solo tour and once with Soundgarden.  Oh wait, I mean 5 times this year.  And 3 times it rained.  Hard.  For a guy whose roots lie in Seattle.  On this night it was a 3 hour journey to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre.  Even Chris was late.  I then walked about a mile in the pouring rain to get to the theater.  But wow was it worth it.  Touring in support of his just released live solo album from the same tour this Spring, Cornell made everyone forgot just how bad the weather was outside.  This night marked the first night Chris and his brother appeared on stage together.  This tour is in support of his new live solo release, Songbook, which also happen to feature some of my photos. […]

  2. Not a huge Chris Cornell fan, but really enjoyed seeing him live with Soundgarden and Audioslave over the years.

  3. Hey, that is really cool! I like both your originals and what they did.

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