What makes a cover iconic? Is it the bold attention grabbing headline or the celebrity adorning the front page in an eye catching display of creative direction. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the most prestigious art directors and be on the covers of my favourite magazines like Harpers Bazaar and I.D magazine. I love the thought process and creative focus that goes into directing a cover shoot and so I’ve collated my top 10 magazine covers of all time.
This Playboy cover was the first cover to feature an African-American woman. The model is Darine Stern and the photographer was Richard Fegley.
Rolling Stone; January 22nd 1981. Annie Leibovitz took this shot just hours before John Lennon was shot outside his apartment building, the Dakota, in New York city on December 8th, 1980. Leibovitz originally wanted to take the shot of Lennon alone but he insisted his wife, Yoko Ono, be in the pictures.
This face has now been used in magazines and posters across the world. The intensity in her eyes and almost frightened expression draws a juxtaposition to the vibrant turquiose that pulls you in. This 12 year old girl is instantly recognisable and on this cover, drew the important attention to unrest in the Middle east.
The image for this cover was taken in 1994 but used to mark the Princess’ death in a special tribute issue after her death two months previous. I’ll never forget the day I heard the news of her passing, I was in Wales with my family at the time and I came downstairs to watch early morning children’s tv. The news had taken over every channel and I sat there staring not quite sure of what was happening. My mum came down shortly after and as her eyes filled with tears we sat there in shock and sadness watching as the headline continually flashed up on our screen ‘The Princess of Wales has died’.
Journalist John T. Elsons most famous article for TIME magazine appeared 40 years ago, and largely defined his journalistic career. His report looked at the increasing secularisation of society. The decade of the 1960’s saw the emergence of secularising trends in intellectual life, the arts, and mass culture. And yet, Elson’s major focus was on the radical theologians of the decade. The so-called ‘Death of God Theologians’ were garnering headlines and forging new post-theistic theology.
A Tribute issue to the late great Michael Jackson, who died at the age of 50, on June 25th 2009. Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records.
This is the oldest cover on my list. Published in July 1916 This Woman’s Weekly cover depicts the wartime wives and children left behind during World War I. Notice the picture frame above the child’s bed. It holds an image of his father in a soldiers uniform. The quote at the bottom ‘ Make him worthy of his fathers sacrifice’ conveys the loss suffered by the family. The mothers expression is all together comforting and sorrowful.
This cover of Demi Moore, nude and pregnant was quite controversial at the time. Shot again by Annie Leibovitz, it was met with disgust, some stores even sent the issue back and branded it as offensive. But for Demi Moore, this cover launched her career to new heights and bore a plethora of celebrity nude pregnancy cover shots.
His image is iconic in itself and so this cover of Esquire was most certainly attention grabbing. This image was created to show Ali as a martyr for refusing to fight in a bad war, after converting to Islam.
And finally, one of the most iconic images of our time. NASA releases colour photographs from the first moon landing. Buzz Aldrin is the man on the moon.