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August 16, 2023

The Photoshoot for Madonna’s Debut Album Cover

This is the photoshoot for Madonna’s debut self-titled studio album Madonna. The album was first released in the United States by Sire Records on July 27, 1983. It was originally slated to be titled Lucky Star, after the track of the same name. The original album cover was shot by photographer Edo Bertoglio and the sleeve designed by Madonna’s friend Martin Burgoyne, but according to Seymour Stein, Madonna felt “it just wasn’t iconic enough.” The album was eventually titled simply Madonna, perhaps that this singular name could have star power. The album cover was shot by photographer Gary Heery and directed by Carin Goldberg.

The front cover shows Madonna with short-cropped platinum hair, wearing a number of black rubber bangles on her hands and a dog chain around her throat. Her navel is also prominent on the inner sleeve of the album. Madonna commented: “The picture inside the dust of sleeve of my first album has me, like, in this Betty Boop pose with my belly button showing. Then when people reviews the album, they kept talking about my cute belly button. [...] I think there are other unobvious places on the body that are sexy and the stomach is kind of innocent.”

Regarding the album photoshoot, Gary Heery recalled: ”[Madonna] arrived at my Broadway studio in New York with a small bag of clothes and jewelry, and no entourage. Then, in front of the camera she was explosive, like a great model, but with her own unique style. She came over the next day to see some prints and the proofs, and there was shot after shot to choose from. We agreed on every choice and whittled it down to the album cover images. I had no idea what I had just been a party to.”


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