EDUCATION | EXHIBITIONS: ONE LP EXH@BCU/RHYTHM CHANGES: One LP Exhibition at Birmingham City University

The One LP Project - Rhythm Changes International Conference: Jazz Utopia  

School of Media and the Faculty of Art, Design and Media, Parkside Building, Birmingham City University.  

14 April - 28 May 2016 


One LP is a unique and critically acclaimed portrait photography project that explores the inspirational qualities of jazz recordings and the impact that they have on people’s lives. Each portrait features the subject holding a recording that is of fundamental importance to them. The photograph is accompanied by a short interview that explores the meaning and value of the selected album. 

Concept and development 

One LP is a project that commenced in 2010 as a response to conversations with musicians about their relationship with the work of other artists encountered via recordings. In particular, conversations had focused on the albums that had profoundly moved the subjects. As a conversation is of course transient – usually committed only to memory - I was eager to find a format that would adequately document my interactions with the artists. The One LP series is the outcome - something that excavates layers of memory, influence, being and uniqueness. Perhaps more poetically, One LP has come to represent a journey into another’s soul: the album that each artist selects is a part of them: their past, present and future. 

The project, conceived in the jazz world has been extended and now includes around 350 people in a spectrum of occupations in the creative milieu - artists, academics, broadcasters, musicians, writers and photographers. 


The premiere One LP exhibition was held in New York at the ARChive of Contemporary Music in 2014. The portraits were subsequently shown in Los Angeles during the Britweek arts program.  

The exhibition at Birmingham City University is the most comprehensive to date and reflects the status of jazz as the most diverse of musical genres. The artists featured here range from innovators whose provenance reaches back to the birth of the jazz genre and moves through to those at the cutting edge of contemporary composition and performance. The exhibition also includes subjects whose passion for the music inspires them to excel in their respective fields: here we feature world famous jazz club and specialist record store owners, concert directors and record producers, promoters, agents, journalists, historians and photographers. 

'British photographer William Ellis is perhaps best known for his impeccable photos of jazz musicians. Truly cool interactive exhibits like this that combine multiple art forms don’t come around often.' - Time Out New York 

Looking forward 

One LP is a mature and ongoing project. However, initiatives to broaden its remit are welcomed. I am open to discussion regarding new collaborative assignments and projects in the UK and overseas. William Ellis 


William Ellis was born in Liverpool in 1957. Developing his distinctive style encompassing portrait, performance and still life images of musical instruments via study and appreciation of a widerange of artists and fellow photographers. 

His breakthrough into jazz came with the opportunity to photograph Miles Davis in 1989. William has since worked with many of the world’s leading musicians. His work is exhibited extensively at international level: it is held in private collections worldwide and those of major institutions including the National Portrait Gallery London, the Archive of Contemporary Music in New York and the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City MO. William’s photographs have been used in the JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month) Outreach program in the United States initiated by the Smithsonian Institute. They also appear regularly in print/online publications, and are used by record companies in artist promotion. One LP is featured on the leading website 

Commission One LP 

The One LP Project is available as a bespoke art event and can be integrated into existing programmes or operated as a stand-alone event. The latter is usually based on an exhibition that can complemented with a range of optional activities, including for example, individual One LP portrait and interview sessions, presentations, seminars, methodology and practitioner workshops, and discussions relating to portrait and music photography. 


“Beautiful images.” - Herman Leonard 

“One LP is a marvellous idea, superbly executed. The range of subjects (human and musical) is wide indeed, often surprising, sometimes touching, always interesting. May it go on and on." - Dan Morgenstern, Director Emeritus, Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies, NEA Jazz Master 



Sincere thanks are extended to the following for their kind invitation, assistance and generous support in hosting the exhihibition at Birmingham City University: 

Professor Tim Wall, Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Arts, Design and Media 

Professor Nick Gebhardt, Professor Tony Whyton and colleagues at Rhythm Changes 

Sarah Raine, Project Coordinator, Rhythm Changes 

John Hall - Exhibitions Manager, Parkside Gallery 

Ixchelt Acevedo - Exhibitions Assistant, Parkside Gallery 

Darren Elliott - Digital Print Manager 

Dr Lawrence Green, Director of Research, Art and Design 

David Leaver - One LP Project Consultant - MA (Oxon) 

One LP Project - Acknowledgement 

"You've got to dig it to dig it, you dig?" - Thelonious Monk