Jonathan Mannion Tells All: The Stories Behind His 25 Favorite Album Covers

#25. Young Jeezy, The Recession (2008)

Other works include: Boyz N Da Hood (Boyz N Da Hood), The Inspiration

Jonathan Mannion: “I didn’t do Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101. I did The Inspiration and The Recession. For The Inspiration, we ran all over the city and got some great shots for Atlanta. We really got a chance to vibe, as he was coming into his own.

“He’s another person who’s really amazing to shoot. He continues to impress. I know the angles that he looks great in, and I think I’ve elevated his perception, visually. As the styles have evolved, we’ve evolved with them.

 

I told him, ‘You are a star. I want you to be more than that. I want you to lead this movement.'

 

“We had shot together before for the Boyz N Da Hood album cover. The night before we were supposed to shoot that, he got tucked away for a day, for speeding or something. I didn’t get to shoot him until the following day, and shortly thereafter, we shot The Inspiration.

The Recession was a little bit more of a concept. I wanted to showcase Atlanta, because it was going through some tough times, as we all were. I shot things like really rough hands, and I positioned the money in the guys hands to show the release date of the album. Really subtly, we’re always thinking on different planes.

“We were really just running around, shooting dope pictures and getting people involved. We were shooting the city and getting little kids and puppies, and capturing this moment, when people were struggling.

“There was a homeless guy writing biblical scriptures and we took pictures of pages of the book to remind people where the foundation was. We went to these places to showcase the state of the city, while still having a real moment of reflection.

“Because a lot of this was about what you could call B-roll images that dictated the feeling of the whole package, that was one of the moments that I realized that this album was going to be special.

“During the shoot, he told me, ‘It’s cool. Whatever you want to do, we can do it. But I want to be a star.’ I told him, ‘You are a star. I want you to be more than that. I want you to lead this movement. My motivation behind shooting you is to allow you to be the leader of this next wave of empowerment, because people look at you as an answer.’

“That’s when we got the shot of him in that black ‘64, with all of his boys holding up the black American flag. That was him saying, ‘We’re leading the charge. Come follow us, and you’ll be good.’ It became a completely different moment.

“My hope is to always make moments bigger than they are. I want everything to be a movement. I want people to say, ‘Fuck. I feel that shit. That’s who we are. That’s what we do.’ My motivation is always to tell a great story.”

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