The iconic image we associate with the movie Jaws was painted by Roger Kastel, who has a few other blockbusters movie poster credits. Kastel was assigned the job of making the shark on the novel's cover more realistic for the paperback version.
To research his new assignment, Kastel went to the Museum of Natural History, whose photo department was his frequent source for reference materials. “They didn’t have anything I could use,” he says, “so I asked if they had a shark exhibit. They said they did but that it was closed for cleaning. It was lunchtime, so I went upstairs anyway, and there were all these different stuffed sharks, just laying on boards. I had my camera with me so I took a few pictures. The shark in my painting developed from there. I just tried to paint a ferocious-looking shark that was still realistic.”
By all accounts Kastel succeeded, although the graphic nature of Kastel’s image (its nudity, not the impending violence) got the paperback banned in Boston, Massachusetts, and St. Petersburg, Florida. “I thought that was the end of my illustration career,” Kastel says. “Boy was I ever wrong. Bantam loved the publicity. It was great for book sales.”
But that's just the beginning of the story. The original artwork became more and more famous -just before it disappeared. Read the whole story at Collector's Weekly. Link -Thanks, Ben!