The artwork is credited to Ariola-Eurodisc Studios. The front cover of the first pressing pictures a photograph of Amanda Lear taken from the Bravo magazine and stuck on a wooden garage door, between various photographs of motorcycles, a mirror, a crucifix as well as the American, Swedish and Dutch flags. The second pressing featured a cropped nude picture of Amanda Lear, taken by Christa Peters for the Playboy magazine. German editions came with the full-size poster of the topless cover picture. French and Italian pressings of the album used an alternative photograph from the Playboy shoot on the cover.
The cover of Presley's "Trouble" was released as Lear's debut single in 1975. The French-language version of the song, "La Bagarre", met with a modest success in Germany in 1976, followed by "Blood and Honey" later the same year, which met with a major commercial success and was an international breakthrough for Lear in 1977. "Tomorrow" subsequently became a number 1 single in Italy and a trademark hit. "Blue Tango" and "Alphabet" were released in certain territories, but did not chart. Later in 1977, "Queen of Chinatown" was released as a single from the second edition of the album, becoming a hit in Europe and Lear's greatest chart success up to that point.
The album's promotional campaign was based on Amanda's "scandalous sex-symbol personality", surrounded by gossips regarding her alleged transsexualism, place of birth, which at the time was believed to be Transylvania, and her relationships with Salvador Dalí and David Bowie. A small concert tour was also arranged in Italy. It became a commercial success in Europe, especially in Italy, where it reached top 10.
I Am a Photograph was re-issued with alternate track listings and covers. The second West German pressing replaced "La Bagarre" with "She's Got the Devil in Her Eyes", which was an instrumental version of "Blood and Honey". On the following edition, "La Bagarre" was omitted in favour of the new recording, "Queen of Chinatown". American edition included an extended version of "Blood and Honey" while the 1978 East German release featured "Mother, Look What They've Done to Me", a Sweet Revenge album track. The album was released as Tomorrow in Brazil, yet again with re-arranged track listing, and as Pretty Boys in Zimbabwe and South Africa. In Argentina, the album was distributed as Soy una fotografía in 1979. The official CD re-release did not take place until 2012, when Gold Legion released the album in three different versions of the front cover, including the original topless poster in chosen editions. All three editions retained the track listing of the original LP release, adding four bonus tracks, including "Queen of Chinatown". The material has been remastered from original master tapes. In August 2014, the album was officially released on digital music platforms.
Contemporary music critic Michael Freedberg gave I Am a Photograph a four-star rating on AllMusic, praising its arrangements and calling it "an album not to be missed". However, John C. Hughes of Popdose.com referred to the album as "nearly unlistenable", critically reflecting on Amanda's vocal performance.