consumer magazines


1960 … ghost cop! by James Vaughan
Via Flickr:
artist- Charles Sarnoff

Wrote My Way Out (Reader x Chris Evans)

A/N: This was sorta inspired by Hurricane from the Hamilton soundtrack. It always inspired me. Includes a non-actor Chris Evans.

Summary: Reader is torn between choosing the future her parents’ want and what she loves. A chance meeting at a local bar inspires her. (au!Chris)

“Y/N, this is a nice hobby but you need to focus on something that will get you a steady income. You need to focus on getting into medical school. Have you even submitted applications?” Your mother was pacing around the living room as you sat in the center of the sofa, wishing it would engulf you.

This had become a routine speech of your mother’s every time you came home for the weekend. You had done what she wanted you to do; you went to a university with a high med school acceptance rate, you joined all the clubs on campus that med schools liked, you even began researching at the largest and most prestigious medical school. You weren’t happy.

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1958–Scripto satellite by James Vaughan

<br /><i>Via Flickr:</i>
<br /><i> ( all images-click for larger sizes )</i>

Meet Andre Hueston Mack, 1st black winemaker. Black consumers took the initiative to “buy Black” over the weekend, but it’s likely that many of us don’t know all of our options. Social media led the way for Black small businesses to advertise their products, but we’re certain a large group of wine connoisseurs aren’t aware of Andre Hueston Mack and his Mouton Noir Wines brand. To throw in another Black history fact: the first black winemaker in the country, Andre Hueston Mack owns Mouton Noir Wines, which is sold in over 40 states and 12 countries, selling over 30K cases of wine a year. Mack is looking to take his spirits to a higher level with a new brand in 2016. “The common myth is that African Americans aren’t well-educated about wine, but in truth, we’re like everyone else. We like what we like – high or low,” Mack says. “A $100 bottle of wine can taste as awful as a $2 bottle, and the opposite is true, as well. If you know what you like, buy it. But don’t just buy it because it’s expensive.”

Mack founded Mouton Noir in 2007 with no money and no investors, leveraging only his resources from his days as an award-winning sommelier for Michelin star chef/restauranteur Thomas Keller at both French Laundry and Per Se. Always one to think outside of the box, Mack created the first culinary coloring book in 2014. Determined to change the way Blacks viewed wine culture, he looks for opportunities to educate others about the history of wine culture so that it isn’t viewed as exclusive.

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I adored issue 23 of The Wicked + The Divine. Full disclaimer, I did my degree in editorial photography (with a lot of emphasis on fashion) so this issue is right in my wheelhouse but that’s not all that spoke to me in this issue. 

I also happen to be a fan of the conceit of comic issue as magazine. It changes the frame of reference for the audience. In traditional sequential art you are the audience at one remove from the world, observing through the fourth wall. Much the same way as in film or theatre. In traditional prose you are either in the head of a protagonist or in the ether of a world. But a magazine, that’s ingenious. Magazines are consumed by people who share the world with both the creators and the subjects of the publication. Issue 23 stops being a narrative told to us about a world and becomes a set of narratives that include us. Much the same way people were induced into repeating ‘fucking Tara’ and becoming part of the meta but in a subtler (and kinder) way we are now a part of the Wic Div world as readers. We are consumers of Pantheon Monthly, self identifying as fans and consuming news about them as if they were part of our world. Add to that the inspiration to have real world writers contribute. Putting their recognisable and wholly authentic voices as part of the narrative makes the world feel that bit more tangible. Reading Laurie Penny’s account of meeting Woden and her account of travelling with Milo recently are not that different and that makes it ‘truer’. 

As an experiment with the form of comic books, it’s a success. 

The art, though. Here I come back to my degree. The art, the fashion photography. I swoon. Firstly it’s spot on. A1, bullseye, hit the target. From the attention getter publicist shots of a young Eleanor ‘you don’t know her but you will’ Rigby to the montage of getting-to-know-him Baal shots they’re beautiful. Lucifer isn’t there yet, her photos are a bit raw and rote. Morrigan wants to build her myth so she’s surrounded by the visual language of theatre, masquerade and burlesque. Amerterasu is the peacemaker and optimist, sunshine and beauty. Woden is Woden, whether he’s spread legged or in ‘challenge my mascuilinity’ pink. Or whether he’s done up as a cyber pimp. He doesn’t give a shit and he’s quite happy to have those images put on him. Baal is desperate for profile. His shots are amazing, the ego and charisma channeled in the full face portrait and the different sides of his personality in the montage shot are a man who wants to be admired, respected and feel if not approachable then appreciable. He’s the one who wants to send a very clear message ‘we are in control’. 

Yet while every bit of 'photography’ in this piece is excellent at cutting into the character of the subjects it all sends another, visceral and I think very key message. There’s something you can achieve with the magazine format that speaks to the heart of ‘Gods as celebrity’ in a way that no other issue has. While Baal’s interview message is very clearly ‘we are in control’ every single ‘photo’ in the magazine tells us something. They were styled, art directed, lit, posed. A team of people set up every image to convey the Gods at their best. And the Gods at their best are just that. Styled, directed and controlled. For all their power if they want to be relevant to us, the audience, they need us, the writers, the makeup artists, the art directors, the photographers. They shine brightest when we polish them. 

Update: I forgot to add. There’s something perversely brilliant about Persephone, our heroine and the motive force for the most recent arc, being reduced to a reference and a back-page ad. And that there’s something that really speaks to my point about the Gods being controlled and manipulated about both she and Baal appearing in advertising. Gods as celebrities, all-powerful objects for consumerism’s betterment. 


Josh Kline, ’Sleep is for the Weak’, 2011, three cafetières filled with Red Bull, DayQuil, Coke Zero, Vivarin, Dentyne Ice chewing gum and Ibuprofen

Composed of mass-marketed products, this homemade yet utterly artificial combination carries a quiet threat of the next iteration of hyped consumables to come.” - Frieze Magazine

In today’s installment of #SundayStories - why do all magazine covers look similar? 👩👩👩

It’s no great secret that, most of the time, magazine covers hold to a very strict, time tested formula which is proven to sell with consumers. While sales may be up, the down side is that we are left with basically the same format for a cover image, month after month, for most magazines. Consumer psychology comes into play when dictating what can and can’t appear on a cover. Firstly, the model nearly always has to connect with the reader through direct eye contact to draw them in. That means looking squarely at the camera and so you will rarely see a cover model looking off to the side of away from camera. Cover stars are also most often smiling, which is another way of inviting a potential reader to pull the magazine from the stand and buy it - You’ll hardly ever see a cover star exuding any emotion other than pure joy on a magazine. Another “rule” of covers is that in order to maximize the recognizability of the cover star and sell that magazine you’ll most often only see the cover subject from the waist up (or even just their face) making a full body cover far more rare. For the same reason black and white covers are also less likely than full color, as are covers with complex backgrounds.

Over my career I’ve done a few hundred covers and 99% of the time I’ve had very little say regarding what image makes it to print. For this #VogueKorea cover I shot a few years back, I was personally asked which image of the hundreds we shot I’d like to see on the cover. I picked one that broke all the rules - I was looking off camera, I was pictured full body and I was in black and white. According to the laws of advertising this was, in theory, a bad cover… but I loved it. I thought it was an interesting pose and photo and I was so proud to see it actually published. Often I think we in fashion can rely to much on formula, forgetting that our industry should be about trying something new and more inventive. Are you stuck in a rut? Go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is.