For the record: Carroll Gardens photographer captures vinyl lovers’ collections

Deep (space) cuts: Brooklyn record lover Margaret Barton Fumo shows off the giant foldout cover for Hawkwind’s live album “Spaceritual.” She is one of 130 collectors documented in “Dust & Grooves”
Photo by Eilon Paz

Take this book for a spin.

A Carroll Gardens photographer is releasing a book of images that peer into the lives of vinyl fetishists — the record-collecting kind — and you can get your hands on an initial pressing during the book’s launch party at Dumbo’s PowerHouse Arena on April 19.

“Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting” chronicles 130 vinyl record collectors and their hoards, giving voyeuristic vinyl fans an exciting glimpse into some really saucy stacks.

“It’s like when you hear about ‘food porn,’” said photographer and author Eilon Paz, referring to the practice of taking glamorized photos of food. “People get a kick out of vicariously living through other people’s vinyl.”

Paz dreamed up the project not long after moving from Israel to Brooklyn during the depths of the Great Recession.

“There were just no jobs, so I found myself in record stores killing time, and then the idea hit me,” he said.

“Dust & Grooves” started as a pet project — Paz would photograph a collector and post shots to a blog — but soon vinyl fans were clamoring for encores. After four years of shooting, Paz parlayed the project into a book.

There was no shortage of source material, but Paz said he found that the record-collecting set fit a pretty narrow stereotype.

Mash-up: Brooklyn DJ Danny Akalepse blends two covers from his nearly 20,000 LP collection. He is one of 130 vinyl collectors documented in “Dust & Grooves.”
Photo by Eilon Paz

“They’re nerdy, a bit anal, mostly men, and most of them have cats,” he said.

Expect a more varied view from “Dust & Grooves,” though. Paz deliberately sought out people who didn’t fit that demographic — though finding female record collectors who wanted to flaunt their stuff was like looking for a needle in a record stack, he said.

“They don’t have this urge to show off,” he said. “With the men, it’s almost like they are showing me their trophies.”

But he has managed to amass a diverse collection of collectors for the book — young and old, men and women, the anal and the unfastidious.

About 20 of the book’s subjects will be spinning cuts from their collections during the April 19 launch — which also happens to be Record Store Day. There will also be a book-signing, a raffle for limited-edition vinyl, and an after party — but not before Paz, himself a collector, drops the needle on one of his favorite LPs — Quincy Jones’ “Walking In Space.”

“I think it’s just a perfect album in so many aspects — it just fits any mood,” Paz said.

“Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting” launch at PowerHouse Arena [37 Main St. near Water Street, (718) 666–3049, www.powerhousearena.com]. April 19 at 4 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
The record keeper: Carroll Gardens photographer Eilon Paz is releasing a book chronicling vinyl fanatics and their massive collections.
Photo by Laura Banish

More from Around New York