All posts filed under: Photography

Remembering the Anti-Nazi League march and carnival, 30 April 1978

Notebook: 30 April, 2018 | BRANDING | PHOTOGRAPHY Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism rally and concert in Trafalgar Square and Victoria Park. I was one of the thousands who gathered in the square on that day in 1978 and marched to the park. Here’s my recollections of the period and of that remarkable day from 40 years ago. Sometime in late 1977 I was drinking in a pub in Coventry with fellow art students. I had one of  the distinctive Anti-Nazi League badges pinned to my hairy blue mohair jumper. I was suddenly approached by a burly pub regular who tore the badge from my jumper and tossed it to the floor. We were clearly not welcome in that pub and we swiftly drank our pints and left… The Anti-Nazi League (ANL) had been founded in 1977 in opposition to far right racist and fascist organisations such as the National Front (NF) which were gaining in popularity especially amongst younger people. The ANL and its sister organisation, Rock against …

Magazine Canteen

Notebook: Friday 13 April 2018 | MAGAZINES | PHOTOGRAPHY In February this year there was sad news that the The Hyman Archive, the world’s largest collection of magazines, had gone into administration. The collection was started by James Hyman 30 years ago and contains more than 5,000 different publications and 120,000 different issues which are housed in a Woolwich warehouse. It began operating as a business in September 2014 and attracted various paying customers from academia and the media. There had been plans to digitise the whole collection to make it available online but I guess these have now all ground to a halt. Recently I stumbled across another big magazine collection called Magazine Canteen which is owned and curated by Warren Casey from a large ex-hotel in Cumbria. The collection is smaller than the Hyman Archive but still numbers around 30,000 magazines. Warren began collecting magazines 30 years ago, starting with Smash Hits and he specialises in titles that he is personally interested in such as fashion, music and lifestyle. Unlike the Hyman Collection, the majority …

Digging through the women’s magazine graveyard

Notebook: 23 February 2018 | MAGAZINES | TYPOGRAPHY | PHOTOGRAPHY I’ve been reading Paul Gorman’s ‘The Story of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture‘ which was published late last year by Thames and Hudson. The Face (1980-2004) was the brainchild of Nick Logan who later went on to launch the men’s magazine Arena (1986-2009) but I’d forgotten that it was Logan’s company Wagadon that had also published a bold and eye-catching but short-lived women’s magazine called Frank (1997-1999). I still have copies of Frank sitting on my magazine shelves side-by-side with two other women’s magazines from around that same period: Bare and Nova (The Second Coming). They were all edgy, unconventional and good-lookers but sadly none of them lasted for more than a couple of years or so in their crowded marketplace. Here’s what I liked about their designs and why I’ve hung on to copies of these magazines for over 15 years. Frank (1997-1999). Published by Wagadon Frank was launched in October 1997 as a ‘provocative, challenging, intelligent and witty’ women’s magazine and it carried a lively …

NYT mag masthead mash-up

Notebook: 12 January 2018 | MAGAZINES | PHOTOGRAPHY Some of the best looking and most effective magazine covers are a bit like the best of the old print adverts with a ‘less is more’ approach that uses just a couple of simple ingredients: a strong image and a well written cover line. The designer and editor work as a closely knit team in much the same way that a designer and copywriter might do in an ad’ agency. Think back to the well known George Lois Esquire covers from the 1960s and compare them with the famous Volkswagen adverts from the same period, or a Nova cover with the Saatchi pregnant man a decade later, and you’ll see what I mean.   In the 1960s and 70s I enjoyed the advert-like covers of Drive, The Sunday Times and Nova magazines and in the 1980s it was Time Out mag that hooked me in with its simple but striking covers.   These days it’s the covers that pop up each week on Twitter from The New York …

The NYT mag – less is more

Notebook: 13 January with updates 6 July 2017 | MAGAZINES On Sunday 1 January 2017 The New York Times Magazine ran a striking black and white photograph on its cover (by photographer Devin Yalkin). It was a close-up portrait of Sam Siatta, an ex US marine who after facing the horrors of war in Afghanistan, returned home to struggle with depression, alcohol dependency and PTSD. Alongside it a very small headline said simply: THE FIGHTER by CJ CHIVERS and three smaller headlines, carefully spaced apart down the left hand side of the photo stated: THE MARINE CORPS TAUGHT SAM SIATTA HOW TO SHOOT. THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN TAUGHT HIM HOW TO KILL. NOBODY TAUGHT HIM HOW TO COME HOME. It was brilliant journalism – a very simple but immensely captivating cover and a demonstration that with design, less is often much more – if a picture is striking then why clutter it with a large headline – let the picture do the talking, with a smaller, quieter headline adding to the drama. Some of my favourite NYT mag covers from 2016/17 are shown below and what they …

One for the coffee table

Notebook: 13 January 2017 | BOOK DESIGN I’ve just received my printed copy of a book I designed for Fairline Yachts for the London Boat Show. It’s a hefty 200-page publication which celebrates 50 years of Fairline and it’s stuffed full of sumptuous photos of Fairline’s luxury vessels. The company began life as a small boat builder in Northamptonshire in 1967 and they now export their beautifully designed and engineered boats worldwide. The book was put together in just one month from start to finish and I worked with the writer and editor Jonathan Arnold. Some of the layouts are shown below.

Tim Walker’s portraits for the Vogue centenary issue

Notebook: 18 August 2016 | PHOTOGRAPHY Just filing away some mags and in amongst them is the June 2016 centenary issue of Vogue which I bought specifically for a wonderful set of photos by Tim Walker with styling by Kate Phelan. Tim Walker has worked with Vogue for over 20 years and his photography is known for its sense of theatre and sometimes extravagant and magical settings. The feature consists of 26 portraits of actors, models, artists, photographers and other creatives who ‘capture the spirit of the Vogue century’ and the magazine has devoted a delicious 32 pages to them. Here they are in their entirety in running order. Note how the pictures have been carefully placed and ordered for good flow and pace – colour then monotone, singles then spread, black against white, full bleed then white border, and so on. Tim Walker has worked together with stylist and fashion editor Kate Phelan on many assignments and here they are chatting together about their most memorable shoots – I love the 1997 Glastonbury festival pictures…

A love for portrait photography

Notebook: 18 February 2016: PHOTOGRAPHY I’m a big fan of strong editorial portrait photography and a lovely little book called Read this if you want to take great photographs of people recently caught my eye. If you are a budding portrait photographer or are just interested in, and like looking at portraits of people, then this book is one to look out for. It’s written by Henry Carroll and was published last year by Laurence King and it’s full of loads of good tips and images. Here’s one of my favourite pictures from the book – Arnold Newman’s well known portrait of the composer Igor Stravinsky which Newman cropped to add to its impact. Igor Stravinsky by Arnold Newman, 1946. Cropped and uncropped versions During my time as art director at the publisher and content marketing agency Archant Dialogue, we produced a magazine for Olympus cameras. Each issue of the magazine would carry a photo competition which myself and my colleagues would judge. We’d spread all the pictures out on a large table and then slowly whittle them …

The Architects’ Journal

Notebook: 9 February 2016 | MAGAZINES | TYPOGRAPHY | PHOTOGRAPHY If you rummage around on the lower shelves at WHSmith you’ll come across a selection of industry and trade magazines such as The Grocer, Print Week and Campaign. Many of the sharper looking trade magazines are produced by the publisher EMAP – think of Drapers, Retail Week, Construction News, Nursing Times and of course AJ or The Architects’ Journal. AJ has a long history of clean, crisp, good looking design with its refined, understated layouts that let the pictures and architectural drawings do the talking. Years ago I applied for a job at AJ as the assistant art editor – I’ve always had a keen interest in architecture and I was excited by the chance of working on such a good looking publication – but alas I didn’t get the job. I remember being interviewed by the art editor Paul Harpin who later moved on to become group art director at Centaur and then creative director at Haymarket. Paul’s predecessor at AJ was Simon Esterson, so between the …

Working with photographers

Notebook: 16 November 2015 | PHOTOGRAPHY Photo shows the opening spread of a travel/car feature from Saab Magazine. The pictures were shot by the Melbourne based photographer, Jeff Busby I stumbled across this interview that I gave for Professional Photographer magazine back in 2009. There’s some good advice in here for young photographers just starting out on their careers. I’ve tweaked it slightly to update it and make it relevant to 2015. Throughout much of your career of nearly thirty years now you’ve specialised in art directing within the contract/customer magazine sector – how have you seen it change over that time? Magazine design and production has just got better and better over the years. But that’s not to say that there weren’t great magazines in the ’80s. I remember going for an interview at Redwood Publishing in about 83 or 84 for a job as art editor on Expressions, the American Express mag, and one of the first proper contract publishing titles – what attracted me was the strong typography and dynamic photography. The biggest change in customer …