Monday, February 16, 2009

Love, actually!

In days pre-digital I was a total magazine freak. I eventually culled my collections, pulling a few precious tear-sheets from publications like Town Magazine, Show, Architectural Review, Elle and I'll admit to still having a couple of centre-spreads from Lui. Unsullied copies of Twen, dating from the early seventies, I still treasure. Likewise a couple of issues of Nova.

Today I buy the occasional copies of Monocle and Wired. And I think I'll shell out for Love, just launched by Condé Nast.

Why? Mainly because I'm still a lover of that mix of words, images and design that the best of the avant garde magazines (and websites) can provide.

And yet... how amazingly polymorphous the media have become. Video is no longer solely consumed on a television set. A newspaper's website can be more profitable than its dead-trees version. Merchandising is an increasingly important revenue stream for musicians. The rules which governed Hollywood are being either reviewed or simply ignored.

In my effort to find out more about Love magazine I think I have discovered that there will be only two issues per year! (The cover dummies indicate a 'Spring/Summer 2009' edition so the assumption is that there will be an 'Autumn/Winter' edition later.)

Thinking about this periodicity I reflect that it is not far removed from the publishing schedule of my favourite authors, those who pen the paperbacks I consume on a two-per-week basis. Many of them manage to bring out a new title on an annual basis.

But, unlike a magazine, the paperbacks contain just words.

And yet for many authors the writing process includes collecting a wide variety of illustrations, sometimes as part of needed research, in other cases as 'visual cues' or sources of inspiration. Of course, since the writers have no ownership of their collected imagery the pictures cannot be included in their books... And, anyway, that would make a book look like a magazine, wouldn't it?

In the days when my clients included almost all of the leading model agencies in Europe and in New York, I could have recruited the photographers and models to 'illustrate' my manuscript. Unfortunately that's no longer an option.

I wonder, however, when a hybrid along these lines will hit the stores. A manuscript which is more than just the scenario for a bande dessiné, and with various photographers participating, each giving their bit of the story arc their own pictorial accompaniment.
What's not to Love about a concept like that?


In today's Guardian blog the lovely Jemima Kiss says, among other things,

"It's about the best collection of photography I've seen in a mainstream magazine."

Read the full post here.

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