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Kai Schäfer2018-10-06T15:44:16+00:00

Project Description

Kai Schäfer is an acclaimed German photographer with a passion for vinyl records and iconic turntables – two items close to our own hearts here at Snap Galleries.

His celebrated ‘WORLDRECORDS’ project has been creating waves in his homeland and I am delighted to introduce Kai’s work to our clients.

Kai’s monumental artworks create a talking point in any room in which they feature – particularly in large formats, which can be up to 82 inches / 210 cm wide. Each artwork features a key album or single on a classic turntable, photographed from a direct overhead position using a special lighting system designed by Kai to reveal rich details in the vinyl and the turntable. 

You can commission a piece with a record of your choice teamed up with a classic turntable. If you have a favourite record, please talk to us about customisation options. Alternatively, you can select any of the existing combinations of vinyl and turntable that Kai has already photographed, which are offered in small limited editions. We show a selection of these on the website.

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds – on Thorens TD 124II
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Janis Joplin – Mercedes Benz – on Braun SK 61
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Kai makes his work available to collectors in small limited editions in a choice of two physical sizes.

The large scale versions are typically made with a height of 140cm (55 inches), with the width in proportion, depending on the proportions of the turntable that is being photographed. To give you a couple of examples, a Transcriptor turntable measures 140cm x 143cm (55 x 56 inches) and a Technics SL 1210 has dimensions of 140cm x 179 cm (55 x 70 inches).

That’s a general rule of thumb – there are exceptions. For example, a particular favourite of mine, Janis Joplin’s 1971 Columbia B side ‘Mercedes Benz’, is presented on a beautiful Braun SK61 turntable. This is a long, thin record deck, only suitable for seven-inch singles and comes in at a show-stopping 209 cm x 100 cm – or 82 inches wide by almost 40 inches high.

Kai also offers each piece in a life-size version – 1:1 scale, which will vary in size according to the size of the actual turntable. If you click on the ‘BUY THIS’ button under any piece you will be able to see the exact dimensions for that item. 

The large format and life-size 1:1 versions are supplied as Diasec mounted prints. The large size can also be made as a print on special fabric over a dimmable LED lightbox. You can read more about these framing styles as you scroll down the page. Each artwork is signed on the reverse and supplied with a certificate of authenticity.

The Doors – The Doors – on Dual 1010
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The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – on Thorens TD 124II
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Installation featuring The Beatles All You Need is Love on Braun SK 61
The Beatles – Abbey Road – on Dual 1219
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The Beatles – All You Need Is Love – on Braun SK61
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The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers – Dual 1219
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The Rolling Stones – Aftermath – on PE 33 Studio
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The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main St – on Dual 1219
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Customisation

Here’s the fun part. The entire world of recorded music is your playground. If you have a favourite record, Kai Schäfer will create a customised large format artwork for you on the turntable of your choice. You then get to enjoy something deeply personal, every day.

Please get in touch with us if you are interested in a bespoke commission for your wallspace.

Installed artwork
The Beatles – Hey Jude – on Transrotor AC
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The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun – on Braun SK61
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“A deeply personal, almost religious experience. Thank you, Germany. Thank you, Kai Schäfer.” 

Peter Hook – Joy Division, New Order.

Miles Davis-  Kind of Blue – on Rek-O-Kut B12-GH
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Buddy Guy – A Man And His Blues – on Transcriptor
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Serge Gainsbourg – Initials BB – on Braun SK61
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Installation of artworks in the 1:1 scale size (with a large format Nina Hagen picture disk on the right)

Diasec mounting

Diasec mounted prints are supplied ready to hang in a frameless frame where the image extends to the edge of the artwork. They do not require additional framing. They have a subframe on the reverse and can be hung straight on the wall. Because of the subframe, the installed artworks appear to ‘float’ a few centimetres away from the wall, creating a 3D effect.

We have examples at the gallery for you to view up-close, appreciate the beauty of the Diasec mounting/frameless frames, and judge for yourself the impact of the dramatic large-scale artworks. The Diasec process bonds the photograph directly and permanently to an acrylic sheet, backed with an aluminium-based substrate, giving it structural rigidity. In simple terms, it is like a sandwich with the photograph as the filling in the centre. Because of the light penetration and refraction of clear acrylic compared to normal glass, the colours are more brilliant and the image sharper than with standard glass in a traditional frame. Colours just pop, as the finished artwork has a very high gloss finish and UV protection.

Kai’s large format pieces can alternatively be supplied as prints on fabric, which cover the surface of a dimmable LED lightbox. This lightbox is supplied with a power lead and requires a power socket to illuminate the artwork internally. A metal frame surrounds the lightbox and the image extends to the edge of the frame.

Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run – on Dual 1219
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Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA – on Technics SL1210 MK2
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Kraftwerk – Autobahn – on Revox B790
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Kraftwerk – Tour De France – Harman Kardon Rabco ST-7
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 Led Zeppelin IV – on Braun – installed example
Led Zeppelin 4 – on Braun
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Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti – on Dual 1219
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David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars – on Dual 1219
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David Bowie – Heroes – on Luxman PD-310
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Kai Schäfer explains the origins of the WORLDRECORDS project:

“In 2007, I bought an apartment that was the bel étage of an old villa built in 1851. It had huge walls and I wondered what kind of picture might fit in the space. At around the same time a friend gave me a mixtape that meant a lot to him and asked if I could make a picture of it. I did – and after a few weeks, I thought that I should try to photograph my favourite record on a turntable.”

“I knew that this would be more more difficult, technically, than to shoot a mixtape, because of the reflections in the vinyl, so I had to build a special kind of lighting system. The result was the first of the WORLDRECORDS pictures. It was only years later, in 2010, when I realised that my friends really loved the picture, that I decided to make a whole sequence of these photographs. This was the beginning of the WORLDRECORDS series.”

Queen – Night At The Opera – on Dual 1219
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Pink Floyd – The Wall – on Dual 1219
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Neil Young – Harvest- on Braun PS500
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Traveling Wilburys – Traveling Wilburys Vol 1. – on Dual 1219
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“Each groove, label and tonearm is hyper-accurate, tangible and, somehow, subtly audible. This project will fascinate me all my life. There are still so many great albums that are worth photographing.” Kai Schäfer

The Clash – London Calling – on Dual 1219 – installed example
The Clash – London Calling – on Dual 1219
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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Armed Forces – on Revox B790
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Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures – on Braun PS 500
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New Order – Substance – on Ariston RD 40
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“WORLDRECORDS is a tribute to analogue acoustic art – an homage to the warmest, perhaps most sensitive type of sound carrier. In a way, it is also a private time machine to the spectator. The music is an impulse to remember snippets of your past, a release of former thoughts and feelings. The soundtrack of your life.” Kai Schäfer

Johnny Cash – The Songs That Made Him Famous – on Garrard 209
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Eagles – Hotel California – on Sony PS-8750
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Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon on Dual – installed example
NWA – Straight Outta Compton – on Harman Kardon Rabco ST-7
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Dr. Dre – The Chronic – on Technics SL 1210 MK2
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Jay-Z – The Blueprint – on Technics SL 1210 MK2
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“Besides professional photography, my focus always has been on music. This photo series is dedicated to all those who share with me the pleasure of remembering a great song, a particular album and that very special personal moment involved.” Kai Schäfer

Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt – on silver Technics SL 1200 MK2
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Sting – The Best Of 25 Years – on Dual – installed example
AC/DC – Highway to Hell – Accutrac 4000
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AC/DC – Back in Black – on Dual 1219
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Motorhead – Ace Of Spades – on Technics SL 1210 MK2
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The White Stripes – Elephant – on Technics SL 1210 MK2
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The WORLDRECORDS project has covered

AC/DC : T.N.T  |  AC/DC : Back in Black | AC/DC : Highway to Hell | Beach Boys : Pet Sounds | Beastie Boys : Licensed to Ill | Beatles : Abbey Road | Beatles : All You Need Is Love | Beatles : Here Comes the Sun | Beatles : Hey Jude | Beatles : Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band | Berliner Philharmoniker/ Ferenc Fricsay : Ludwig van Beethoven/ 9. Sinfonie | Blondie : Parallel Lines | Bob Marley : Legend | Bruce Springsteen : Born in the USA | Bruce Springsteen : Born to Run | Buddy Guy : A Man and his Blues | Cat Stevens : Tea for the Tillerman | Clash : London Calling | Cure : Three Imaginary Boys | Cro: MTV Unplugged | Curtis Mayfield : Superfly | David Bowie : Scary Monsters | David Bowie : Heroes | David Bowie : The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars | Def Leppard : Pyromania | Depeche Mode : Violator | Die Fantastischen Vier : Fornika | Die Toten Hosen : Opelgang |. Dr. Dre : The Chronic | Doors : LA Woman | Doors : The Doors | Eagles : Hotel California | Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong : Ella & Louis | Elvis Costello & The Attractions : Armed Forces | Elvis Presley : Mystery Train | Eminem : The Marshall Mathers LP | Extrabreit : Welch ein Land- Was für Männer | Fehlfarben : Monarchie und Alltag | Frankie Goes to Hollywood : Welcome to the Pleasuredome | Frank Sinatra : In the Wee Small Hours | George Benson : In Flight | Gerry and the Pacemakers : You’ll Never Walk Alone | Guns N’ Roses | Appetite for Destruction | Henry Mancini : The Party (Soundtrack) | Herbert Grönemeyer : Bochum | Herbie Hancock : Maiden Voyage | Ideal : Bi Nuu | Iron Maiden : The Number of the Beast | Jamiroquai : A Funk Odyssey | Janis Joplin : Mercedes Benz | Jay Z : Reasonable Doubt | Jay Z : The Blueprint | Jimi Hendrix : Are You Experienced | Johnny Cash : The Songs that Made Him Famous | Joy Division : Closer | Joy Division : Unknown Pleasures | Klaus Doldinger : Jazz Made in Germany | Kool and the Gang : Emergency | Kraftwerk : Autobahn | Kraftwerk : Die Mensch Maschine | Kraftwerk : Tour de France | Laura Nyro : Eli and the Nineteenth Confession | Led Zeppelin : Four Symbols | Led Zeppelin : Physical Graffiti | Leonard Cohen : I’m your man | Leonard Cohen : The Future | Lilac Angels : I’m not afraid to say “Yes”! | Little Richard : Here’s Little Richard | Martin Böttcher : Lufthansa Cha Cha Cha | Madonna : Music | Metallica : Black Album | Metallica : Master of Puppets | Michael Jackson : Off the Wall | Michael Jackson : Thriller | Mike Oldfield : Tubular Bells | Motörhead : Ace of Spades | Miles Davis : Kind of Blue | Muddy Waters : Best of Muddy Waters | Nas : Illmatic | Neil Diamond : Hot August Night | Neil Young : Harvest | New Order : Substance | Nina Hagen Band : Nina Hagen Band | Nine Inch Nails : The Downward Spiral | Notorious B.I.G. : Ready to Die | N.W.A : Straight Outta Compton | Orange Juice : You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever | Paul McCartney & Wings : Band on the Run | Pink Floyd : Dark Side Of The Moon | Pink Floyd : The Wall | Placido Domingo : Perhaps Love | Police : Reggatta de Blanc | Prince : Purple Rain | Prince : Sign o ́ the Times | Queen : A Night at the Opera |Rio Reiser : Rio 1 | Rolling Stones : Aftermath | Rolling Stones : Beggars Banquet | Rolling Stones : Exile on Main Street | Rolling Stones : Sticky Fingers | Serge Gainsbourg : Initials B.B. | Siouxsie and the Banshees : Siouxsie and the Banshees | Sting : The Best of 25 years | Sonny Rollins : Way Out West | Traveling Wilburys : Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 | Udo Jürgens : Griechischer Wein | Udo Lindenberg : Sonderzug nach Pankow | U2 : Rattle and Hum | U2 : The Joshua Tree | Vasco Rossi : Albachiara | Velvet Underground : The Velvet Underground & Nico | White Stripes : Elephant | Wilco : Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

About Kai Schäfer

Dusseldorf-based photographer, Kai Schäfer, has devoted himself to his major photo-art-project ‘WORLDRECORDS’ since 2010. For this series, he creates photographs of the great albums in popular music history on classic turntables, many of which have become legendary themselves. Kai has developed and patented his own special light for his photographs. This light blurs the borders between photography and painting, thus creating a very unique effect.

Kai Schäfer bought his first camera at the age of 15 and trained under René Staud. His many projects include a portrait series at the World Athletics Championships in Stuttgart in 1993; various features for highly regarded magazines; and a photo series with Gabriela Sabatini in South America in 2004. From 2000 to 2007, he photographed the Tour de France and in 2011 he accompanied Neil Diamond on his tour of Germany.