The past inside the present

Camilla Akrans borrows some Thirties’ style for the New York Times.

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Horst Torso by George Hoyningen-Huene (1931).

“Horst” was Horst P Horst, Hoyningen-Huene’s lover at the
time and later a respected fashion photographer for Vogue.

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Divers by George Hoyningen-Huene (1930).

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Fashion shoot by Camilla Akrans for the New York Times, March 2007.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Decorative Age
Vintage magazine art II

In print

magazines1.jpgBattling through the Xmas post, two new volumes arrived here this week, from Black Velvet and Black Dog Publishing respectively. First up was Serpenti & Scale, the Italian edition of Snakes & Ladders by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. This has been available for some time in English, of course. The translated version features some of my artwork for the Moon and Serpent CDs by Alan and Tim Perkins in the lengthy interview section that precedes Eddie’s comic strip. Thanks to Smoky Man for that.

Inevitably overshadowing this was 100 Years of Magazine Covers which author Steve Taylor very graciously had sent to me. A heavyweight book in all senses of the word, with a solid cover, thick paper stock and tremendous design by Neville Brody. Taylor navigates the overcrowded field of 20th-century magazine design with great skill, managing to cover all the principal areas of magazine as news medium, fashion journal, literary forum and vehicle of cultural transgression, whether that be the Sixties’ underground, Seventies’ punk or the disparate worlds of gay life and feminism. Illustrations range from the elegance of early Collier’s and Vogue to the garish incoherence of today’s celebrity rags such as Heat. Given such a broad field of study there are bound to be omissions; I would have liked to have seen something from the New Worlds of the late-Sixties, for example, and maybe one of the Non-Format covers for The Wire. But they got Lilliput in there which is pretty impressive considering that magazine now seems to be largely forgotten. Essential stuff.

Previously on { feuilleton }
It’s a pulp, pulp, pulp world
A few thousand science fiction covers
Vintage magazine art II
Neville Brody and Fetish Records
View: The Modern Magazine
Vintage magazine art
Oz magazine, 1967–73

Vintage magazine art II

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In the days before colour photography most magazine covers were created by illustrators (as the New Yorker still is), a situation that’s left behind a rich legacy of wonderful artwork often far more stimulating than any of the magazine contents. This site has a great collection of early Vogue covers that show an amazing amount of variety and originality at play. Some of these early issues even break with the understandable stricture for a fashion magazine of having a female figure as the focus.

Looking over this selection, it’s impossible not to compare the rich designs of the 1920s with today’s bland uniformity. Vogue now looks like any other magazine for women, with an overly made-up (often celebrity) face filling the cover and the whole picture crowded with sub-headings and a general clutter of typography. UK Vogue‘s own cover archive pages show the gradual degeneration of a stylish flagship to a condition of cultural muzak over the passage of ninety years.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Vintage magazine art I
View: The Modern Magazine

Gray Scott

From war to fashion photography. Oh well… If there isn’t room in the world for art and beauty then what are we living for? Gray Scott‘s photographs use subtle Photoshop processing to make his models appear like showroom dummies. He’s also good with colour adjustment and blurring as well, creating some very effective pastiches of photographic styles from earlier decades. Loretta Lux takes a similar approach with her portraits.

(Safari users should be warned that the menus on Gray Scott’s site don’t work properly; I had to use Firefox.)

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Continue reading “Gray Scott”