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Sleeveface (also known as “LP Portraits”) is a participatory photo meme that involves placing a record sleeve in front of one’s face and taking a profile picture, which reveals a “hybrid face” of the subject and famous person depicted on the vinyl cover. See also: Money Face.
The term “Sleeveface” was coined in April 2007 by Welsh DJ Carl Morris after pictures were taken of him and his friends holding record sleeves to their faces while Djing at a bar in Cardiff, UK. His friend John Rostron subsequently posted the images online and created a group on Facebook, where it turned into a popular craze.
The official Sleeveface blog was launched by Morris and Rostron on January 21st, 2008 and the instructional YouTube video on “How to make a sleeveface” was uploaded on February 3rd, 2008.
However, the precise origin of the concept remains unknown. Prior to the launch of Sleeveface, numerous Sleeveface-style photographs were posted by Swedish filmmaker Daniel Eskils on Waxidermy forum in 2006.
The act of veiling one’s face with an album cover has been previously seen in album covers, with the earliest example being the cover art of the 1979 album “Slug Face” by John Hiatt, where he is seen holding a sleeve in front of his face. Similar idea was used for the 1982 album “Picture This” by Huey Lewis and the News, as well as cover art collages by visual artist Christian Marclay, whose work dates back to the early 1990s.
In late January 2008, the phenomenon of sleevefacing soon captured the attention of news media outlets and influential tech blogs like BBC, The Guardian, SFGate Blog and Boing Boing among others. The fad also took off on photo-sharing communities and social networking sites like Flickr, Facebook and MySpace among others. As of August 2011, the official Flickr group has over 4,000 photo submissions and the official Facebook group has at least 3,700 photo submissions. According to the profile page, contributors have been regularly organizing offline parties and meet-ups for sleeveface enthusiasts.
In late 2008, Sleeveface.com bloggers John Rostron and Carl Morris published their first book “Sleeveface: Be the Vinyl” in 2008, which showcases a compilation of sleevefaced photographs from all over the world. The news of the book release drew some degree of concerns over the commercialization of a common culture, as reported by Wired Magazine.
In February 2010, another single topic blog dedicated to Sleeveface curation was launched on Tumblr. Carl Morris also attended the 2nd annual Internet culture convention ROFLcon to explain his brainchild phenomenon.
On January 10th, 2012, The Washington Post style blog published an article on Moneyface and compared it to other photo-within-photo images and referenced the photoblogs Dear Photograph and Jason Powell’s Looking into the Past. Both sites often showcase composite images in which a photograph of an object or a landmark is placed within the frame of another image, typically taken from an identical angle, to match its current surroundings.
The Washington Post – Vintage Photography: Web Sites Offer a Chance to Time Travel