Eilon Paz bought his first record—Paul McCartney’s Pipes of Peace—at age nine. “It was 1983, and my family was living in Mexico City. I rode the bus to the ‘Gigante’ superstore; I took my time before paying. I remember the excitement of getting back home and opening the gatefold, admiring the photography artwork, and finally, playing it,” he tells Co.Design. Collectors are a rare breed, and those who are forever seeking out the sweet sounds of vinyl are a particularly passionate group. For the past four years, Paz has traveled the world capturing these individuals in their natural habitats—at home amongst their spoils, or digging—for his blog, Dust & Grooves (a nod to Dusty Grooves, his favorite shop in Chicago). Now, the photographer has launched a Kickstarter campaign to transform the site into a book, forever preserving its contents in print.
Music has long been seen as a means to bridge divides and bring folks together and Paz began Dust & Grooves as a photo project at a particularly poignant time. “I had just arrived in New York from Israel and I had no friends or family here. I guess my urge to share images and stories with others was a way to overcome my loneliness in the big city,” he says. From his initial two interviews with the “highly respected” Cosmo Baker and Mr. Finewine, a vast confederacy began to reveal itself. “Even the most reclusive collectors have some kind of network, or a person who guides and helps them reach their prized records,” he says. “Same goes for me. I use my subjects’ connections to expand my own and to gather more information.” Along the way, Paz has been introduced to Dante from Philadelphia, who only searches—but searches hard—for Sesame Street albums; Philip Osey Kojo, an 80-year-old in Ghana whose player had been broken for three decades (once they got it working it was a true revelation); Bobwall, a Frenchman who recalls the introductory crackles on a Return of the Jedi 45 as a "moment of magic"; and more.
Part of the plan with his Kickstarter is a road trip across the nation, meeting even more distinctly disparate but ultimately like-minded folks along the way. “The vinyl collecting world is a microcosm with all kind of different characters, styles, intrigues and politics. I discover this every day I work on this project,” he says. And while there’s a nice connection between the physicality of a book and the tangibility of vinyl, Paz isn’t opposed to adding in some new media interaction to the Dust & Grooves experience. “I am pretty romantic when it comes to analog life, but I don’t reject the digital options we have today,” he says, though there will always be an emotional disconnect between the two. “I can’t really remember my first MP3 download and I’m not exactly sure what I have in my MP3 library.” Long live vinyl.
Support the Dust & Grooves campaign here.