Blind Faith's Original Artwork

Story of the origins of the Blind Faith album cover, from Bob Seidemann's (photographer of the album cover artwork) perspective:

I was being on the "scene" because it was happening. It was ground zero of the cultural revolution. How I managed it was by producing a handful of photographs for a small poster company I was a partner in. The company was founded by a raving poet with a hundred dollars and a picture of the face of Christ, supposedly an impression on the veil of Mary Magdalene. His name is Louis Rapoport, today he is news editor of the "Jerusalem Post". It was our first poster and it was a hit. My work consisted at the beginning of pictures of Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. They were impressionistic and successful.

I called Eric Clapton in London to ask if he would put me up for a while. He did. I stayed at his flat in Chelsea with a wild crowd of ravers. The party had been going on for some time when I arrived. Other residents of the never-ending, day-for-night, multi-colored fling were Martin Sharp, a graphic artist and poet with an uncanny resemblance to Peter O'Toole, and the wildest of ravers, Philippe Mora, a young filmmaker who looked like a cherry Peter Lorre, and their handsome girlfriends. I bunked on a ledge under a skylight in the living room. All of the London scene came through. It was wild and wooly all over.

A year passed and I had my own room in a basement flat in the same part of town with another bunch of hipsters. Not employed, I received a phone call from Polydor Records London Office. It was an assistant of Robert Stigwood, Clapton's manager. Cream was over and Eric was putting a new band together. The fellow on the phone asked if I would make a cover for the new unnamed group. This was big time. It seems though the western world had for lack of a more substantial icon, settled on the rock and roll star as the golden calf of the moment. The record cover had become the place to be seen as an artist.

I could not get my hands on the image until out of the mist a concept began to emerge. To symbolize the achievement of human creativity and its expression through technology a space ship was the material object. To carry this new spore into the universe innocence would be the ideal bearer, a young girl, a girl as young as Shakespeare's Juliet. The space ship would be the fruit of the tree of knowledge and the girl, the fruit of the tree of life.

The space ship could be made by Mick Milligan, a jeweler at the Royal College of Art. The girl was another matter. If she were too old it would be cheesecake, too young and it would be nothing. It was the beginning of the transition from girl to woman, that is what I was after. That temporal point, that singular flare of radiant innocence. Where is that girl?

I was riding the London Tube on the way to Stigwood's office to expose Clapton's management to this revelation when the subway doors opened and she stepped into the car. She was wearing a school uniform, plaid skirt, blue blazer, white socks and ball point pen drawings on her hands. It was as though the air began to crackle with an electrostatic charge. She was buoyant and fresh as the morning air.

I must have looked like something out of Dickens. Somewhere between Fagan, Quasimodo, Albert Einstein and John the Baptist. The car was full of passengers. I approached her and said that I would like her to pose for a record cover for Eric Clapton's new band. Everyone in the car tensed up.

She said, "Do I have to take off my clothes?" My answer was yes. I gave her my card and begged her to call. I would have to ask her parent's consent if she agreed. When I got to Stigwood's office I called the flat and said that if this girl called not to let her off the phone without getting her phone number. When I returned she had called and left her number.

Stanley Mouse (Miller), my close friend and one of the five originators of psychedelic art in San Francisco was holed up at the flat. He helped me make a layout and we headed out to meet with the girl's parents. It was a Mayfair address. This was a swank part of town, class in the English sense of the word.

Mouse and I made our presentation, I told my story, the parents agreed. The girl on the tube train would not be the one, she was shy, she had just passed the point of complete innocence and could not pose. Her younger sister had been saying the whole time, "Oh Mummy, Mummy, I want to do it, I want to do it." She was glorious sunshine. Botticelli's angel, the picture of innocence, a face which in a brief time could launch a thousand space ships.

We asked her what her fee should be for modeling, she said a young horse. Stigwood bought one for her. I called the image "Blind Faith" and Clapton made that the name of the band. When the cover was shown in the trades it hit the market like a runaway train, causing a storm of controversy. At one point the record company considered not releasing the cover at all. It was Eric Clapton who fought for it. It was Eric who elected to not print the name of the band on the cover. This had never been done before. The name was printed on the wrapper, when the wrapper came off, so did the type.

This was an image created out of ferment and storm, out of revolution and chaos. It was an image in the mind of one who strove for that moment of glory, that blinding flash of singular inspiration. To etch an image on a stone in our cultural wall with the hope that the wall will last. To say with his heart and his eyes, at a time when it mattered, this is what I feel. It was created out of and a wish for a new beginning. It was created out of hope and a wish for a new beginning. Innocence propelled by BLIND FAITH.

Originally from an advert to sell lithographs of the Seidemann artwork during 1999.

Visit the Seidemann Art Gallery web site

Read up on the young woman's rediscovery and comments she's made regarding the 1969 photo shoot and outcomes many years later
(articles in UK Newsies during past recent years)
Blind Faith Album & M. Goschen Articles - UK Newsies

Return to the BF Origins page

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Created 08 September 2001

Updated 31 July 2012

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