I’ve been trying to coordinate a road trip to New York to shoot the cover for a friend’s upcoming album; so I’ve had the big city on my mind a lot these past couple of weeks. I like sometimes basing what you’re reading over a certain geographical area. I find after a few, it can give you a sense of what the place is like, albeit, nowhere near as authentic or intense as visiting. Still, it’s good to do your homework first.
I instantly recognized Adrian Tomine’s style from his regular cover illustrations of the New Yorker magazine, which drew me in when I first saw it at Bookmark. ’New York Drawings’ collects lots of his sketches from around the city, and really does a nice job of letting you look inside the artist’s sketchbook, plus show you some of his less-published work. Most of Tomine’s work deals with the theme of human connections in a large city.
In the (sort of) same vein, ‘Blown Covers’ is a collection of New Yorker covers, “you were never meant to see.” And is a collection of really great prints, sketches and anecdotes from artists and editors about various controversial NY’er covers; and of course includes many that never made it to print. Really funny if you’re at all up to date on current affairs and the going-ons of the last decade in the socio-political arena. I found my copy at Atlantic News.
And, saving the best for last (for me, anyway), ‘The New York Times Magazine: Photographs’, edited by Kathy Ryan. Okay, this is one I’ve wanted for awhile and finally got up the chutzpah to just go and buy the outrageously expensive thing. It’s going to sit on the shelf next to my equally outrageously expensive and heavy copy of ‘Magnum Contact Sheets’. This is great because not only does it have photos from TONNES of the great photojournalists from the last 50 years or so, but it also has the stories behind the photographs, as told by Kathy Ryan, the current Director of Photography for the NYT Magazine. It’s neat to get a glimpse of how the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of the publication is created. I had never really thought before about the incredible speed with which a weekly publication has to constantly refresh and reinvent itself. Ryan really gives perspective into this aspect, and talks a lot about the challenge of having to push out such quality content on such a regular, never ending basis. That written insight combined with the high level of talent that the photographers featured in this book possess make it all in all a really inspiring read for me, not to mention a pretty badass coffee table piece.