In 1987, Prince released Black Album, which he impulsively recalled after just a few sales. Just months later, he released Lovesexy, which caused controversy before fans and critics even had a chance to listen to the music. The front cover, shot by photographer and director Jean-Baptiste Mondino, depicted a nude prince, on a bed of flowers, with what appeared to be a phallic stamen pointed toward his chest.

The cover art for Prince's Lovesexy album Image via The Quietus The cover art for Prince's Lovesexy album
Image via The Quietus

Some shops refused to sell the album, whilst others covered it in a black wrapper. Although the album was not Prince's greatest success, he had set a precedent for musicians blurring the lines between music and the visual arts.

005-jean-baptiste-mondino-theredlist Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Man Looking at the Origin of the World, 1998 Image via The Red List

Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Lana Del Rey, 2013 Image via The Red List Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Lana Del Rey, 2013
Image via The Red List

As well as Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Prince's on-stage and music video persona, an androgynous performer with a whole lot of funk, was captured by many, as photographers adored shooting the star.

Herb Ritts, Prince, Minneapolis 1991 Image via Herb Ritts Herb Ritts, Prince, Minneapolis 1991
Image via Herb Ritts

Herb Ritts, who is currently being celebrated for his photography of such music legends as David Bowie, Madonna and Tina Turner in an exhibition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, shot Prince in Minneapolis in 1991.

Herb Ritts, Prince, 1991 Image via Herb Ritts Herb Ritts, Prince, Minneapolis, 1991
Image via Herb Ritts

Herb Ritts, Prince (Hat with Chains), Minneapolis 1991 Image via Herb Ritts Herb Ritts, Prince (Hat with Chains), Minneapolis 1991
Image via Herb Ritts

Mats Bäcker, who has also shot controversial and iconoclastic artists in action such as Iggy Pop, Grace Jones and Mick Jagger, in his Raw Power series, captured the essence of Prince's stage presence during a performance in Stockholm in 1986.

Prince, Stockholm 1986 Mats Bäcker, Prince, Stockholm 1986 Image via Mats Bäcker

Grace Jones / Nightclubbing Göta Lejon, Stockholm, 1981 Mats Bäcker, Grace Jones / Nightclubbing
Göta Lejon, Stockholm, 1981 Image via Mats Bäcker

The power of Prince's influence has inspired many of today's contemporary pop artists to push the boundaries in their music videos and album cover art. Albums such as Katy Perry's Teenage Dream and The Strokes' This Is It have drawn influence from Prince's depiction of nudity and collaborating with visual artists.

The Strokes Is This It album artwork, which also caused outrage, with some record stores refusing to stock it. Image via nevermindthebuspass The Strokes Is This It album artwork, which also caused outrage, with some record stores refusing to stock it.
Image via nevermindthebuspass

Will Cotton's artwork for Katy Perry's Teenage Dream album. Image courtesy of the artist, Mary Boone Gallery, New York and Ronchini Gallery, London. Will Cotton's artwork for Katy Perry's Teenage Dream album.
Image courtesy of the artist, Mary Boone Gallery, New York and Ronchini Gallery, London.

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