I Recently Shot My First CD Cover

Before venturing into the world of photography, I had (and still have) another passion. I have always enjoyed going out to see a live band. From locals to international artists, and from classical to heavy metal – I just can’t get enough. Listening to a great song is one thing, but watching the bands perform that song…. That’s always been amazing for me.

Over the last twenty years (I know… old guy) I have been to well over a thousand live shows. I promoted shows in a few venues around town for a while. I worked as a stagehand and also as a guitar tech. I even managed a band for about five years, but that’s another story for another time.



I am very fortunate to have met and become friends with a lot of great musicians from New York to Florida, all the way to Texas and all parts in between. And now that I have taken to photography, I have the opportunity to shoot some of these old friends. I have been shooting live shows and some promo shots for a few of the groups in the Pittsburgh area.

A band that I have been shooting and one that I have known for the better part of ten years is Mercury. They are an energetic rock band from Pittsburgh, PA. I have shot a few of Mercury’s shows in the last year as well as the photo on their website’s home page. Back in December, a few weeks before the NHL Winter Classic hockey game at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, the band contacted me about a project they were working on. They were shooting a music video which was to air during the pre-game show leading up to the Winter Classic. I braved the elements along with the band and the camera man, and documented the entire day. I think we wound up with about 400 shots from four locations. What I didn’t know, was the ultimate destination of one particular photo from that day….

I was contacted a few weeks ago by Mercury lead singer Justin Morris. The band wanted to commission one of my images from the Winter Classic shoot for the back cover of their upcoming EP. I was thrilled, but that wasn’t all of the phone call. Justin told me that they wanted to use a photograph of mine for the front cover as well. The only catch here was, that I hadn’t yet taken the photo. He gave me the title of the EP – Three – and asked If I had anything in  my catalog that might work. I spent the next two days scanning and searching every file on my hard drives to no avail. I was going to have to go out and find a scene that worked with the title.

I went for a walk with a friend and photographer in search of the elusive “three“. We looked for ideas all over our old neighborhood. I even photographed some billiard balls at the pool hall, but it just didn’t seem to fit in with the band’s persona. We walked along the trolley (light rail transit) tracks and noticed a signal that had three lights in the fixture and a placard with the number 3 attached to its post. I figured “why not?” So I proceeded to fire off about twenty frames of what eventually became the cover photo.

So there it is…. The story behind my first CD cover. I was going to wait to post this until after the CD release party. But then I figured it might help to get a few of you out to the show. If you do decide to come, make sure to say “hi”. I’ll be the guy near the stage with the camera stuck to his face during the first three songs…

Mercury’s  CD Release party   3/26/11  @The Hard Rock Cafe  Station Square, Pittsburgh!


  1. Emily Rose March 17, 2011 at 11:18 PM #

    Rich, that’s super awesome! Congrats on the cover! I love the way it looks 🙂

  2. Rich March 17, 2011 at 10:32 AM #

    Thanks everyone…

  3. kevin Costello March 16, 2011 at 7:00 PM #

    Fantastic work, that cover is great. I hope this is just the beginning for you.

  4. Veronica March 16, 2011 at 2:23 PM #

    Kudos, Rich!

  5. Marian Bollman March 16, 2011 at 7:07 AM #

    Love the pictures and especially the wonderful story that goes with it…I worked with Justin Morris as a vocal coach in his high school days (he was already great!) and, since I do a lot of art work for people, I can really appreciate the artistic value of your photographs ! I plan to be at Mercury’s concert and I hope to see you there…

  6. Sohail Khwaja March 15, 2011 at 10:38 PM #

    Congratulations Rich. That’s a great cover.