Connections: W. Jesco von Puttkamer and Joni Mitchell

In the dedication on the inside gatefold of her album The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Canadian singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell thanks “National Geographic Magazine,” amongst others, but doesn’t explain why. Here’s why:


The photographer was explorer W. Jesco von Puttkamer, who documented the plight of “Brazil’s Beleaguered Indians” for National Geographic‘s February 1975 issue.

Joni Mitchell’s The Hissing of Summer Lawns was released in November 1975. In her notes, Mitchell tells us that she “drew the cover and designed the package with research help and guidance from Glen Christensen, Elektra/Asylum Art Director.” She thanks National Geographic Magazine and others, as I’ve already said. She does not, however, mention W. Jesco von Puttkamer by name.

Of course, I realize that 1975 is a long time ago, but it was only today at a garage sale that I purchased the National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our World (1979) for a buck and instantly recognized the reprint of W. Jesco von Puttkamer’s photo on page 72 as one of the primary reference sources for Joni Mitchell’s drawing.

3 thoughts on “Connections: W. Jesco von Puttkamer and Joni Mitchell

  1. That’s great to know! I liked the artwork, but had no clue.
    She should have mentioned the photographer, though.

    Thx for sharing.


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