Joni Mitchell, Blue, the original cover photo by Tim Considine. Released June 22, 1971.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this photo, which came from the photographer’s own website, with the caption, “The album cover for Blue – the way it should have been.” Questions include the date, since Joni looks younger here, and indeed, while Blue is from 1971, this photo is from 1968, taken at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.
Other questions include whether the microphone missing from the version featured on the album cover was removed by Tim because he thought it looked better, or added by the label, and whether this was originally a color or black and white photo. When asked about all this a couple of years ago, Tim replied,
It was indeed a black & white photograph originally, shot with an experimental instrument film rated at the then unheard of ASA (ISO) of 6000. And, yes, it had the microphone in it. The truth is, I hated the way it was rendered on the cover, an artistic decision by the art director, who processed it as a daguerreotype, thereby, in my opinion, heightening the contrast enough to remove all the softness and subtlety of the original image. So I made my own versions, both with and without mike for prints that are sold to collectors around the world. The version on this site is without the mike, but one with the mike included is requested just as often.
So there you go. An amazing photo for an amazing album, with thanks to Tim Considine for clearing up the story of its origins!