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Graphic Design USA Magazine


Guest Post from Image Source
By John O’Reilly

Tibor and Maira Kalman’s (un)Fashion book was like a special edition of the Colors magazine he used to edit. A curated work of visual anthropology it shines a light on the everyday design of non-designers.

(un)Fashion, Tibor and Maira Kalman, Booth Clibborn, 2000. Family in Gobi desert, Mongolia. Gueorgui Pinkhassov /Magnum

When designer Tibor Kalman died in 1999, he left a legacy of deeply influential work that was significant as much for its cast of mind as it was for its design. Currently the notion of the designer is expanding, from the producer of ‘design thinking’ to the idea of the designer as storyteller. The latter being somewhat disputed by graphic designer Hamish Muir (founder of 8VO) in a recent Tweet.

Hamish Muir Tweet Grab

But Tibor Kalman really was someone who told stories through design. In fact storytelling, using images to throw out ideas and spin yarns, was a characteristic that placed him on the edge of the design world, an edge he designed with often eccentric charm. He was a diviner of design eccentricity, the stuff that didn’t sit with prevailing tastes and trends. Kalman’s stories were often anthropological stories, told in photographs, exercises in comparing the stories different cultures tell themselves through customs and ritual. Another way to describe this kind of visual content is the “design of everyday life”. Or perhaps the (un)Design of everyday life.

While in the 1990s and early noughties, there was a heated debate around the idea of graphic design as self-expression, Kalman took graphic design elsewhere – neither self-expression, nor professional. Design as visual anthropology, discovering visual styles and objects, the vernacular of everyday life, created by non-designers, stuff that communicates differently to the rules of current design practice. Perhaps most famously in his ads for Restaurant Florent based in the off-radar meatpacking district of New York, and though Kalman wasn’t seeking ‘authenticity’ as a style (he played with irony as you can see in the copy), this couldn’t have been more ‘authentic’ if the pig for the ‘boudin’ advertised in the ad smoked Gitanes while sweatily performing an impression of Jacques Brel singing Ne me Quitte Pas. In a similar way,  visually the ‘local’ for Kalman meant the visual geographies that fell outside the radar of conventional tastes and design.

From Tibor Kalman, Perverse Optimist, edited by Peter Hall. Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2002

He finished the picture selection and design for his book of photography (un)Fashion with his wife Maira Kalman (both credited as Creative Directors in the book) before he died, and it was published in 2000. Some of the book’s impact has been softened as the book was published when the internet was still crawling – images took an age to load at 26kps, and Flickr was launched in 2004. The exotic appeal of imagery of the local is now much more ubiquitous.

What remains is Kalman’s facility to tell a story in pictures, in this instance about clothes and accessories that really don’t fit with a fashionable vision of fashion, a beautiful idea of fashion or even a good-looking idea of fashion. (un)Fashion is what people wear everyday in different local spaces around the world, and its incredibly diverse. (un)Fashion, is mostly expressive in its idiosyncrasy, and like its close neighbor Fashion, is a way of looking at the world.

Optics. Man with red sunglasses at Doo-Dah parade, USA. Peter Essick, Aurora. Man with glasses held by string, India. J.&D. Duooin, Sygma / Woman sunbathing, Spain. Martin Parr, Magnum / Man wearing ski goggles, Afghanistan. Abbas, Magnum / Virtual Reality Glasses at an Allman Brothers Show, Woodstock, 1994, USA. Bob String, Sipa / Men in white Niger. Chris Brown, Saba / Boy wearing makeshift glasses, Indonesia. Tara Sosrowardoya, Liaison Agency / Woman in Chador, Kuwait / Abbas, Magnum.

Sometimes (un)Fashion is clothing that invests a vision of being closer to God or a representative of God.

Holy Wear, Mevlevi dervishes, Turkey. Adam Woolfitt, Woodfin Camp / Catholic priests Vatican City. Giansanti, Sygma / Jimmy Swaggart at Nassau Coliseum, NY. Steve McCurry, Magnum.

This is a book by a designer (and an illustrator, Maira Kalman), not a picture editor, or a journalist, someone who makes visual, conceptual and narrative relationships between pictures.

Accessories. Wedding headdress, India. Lindsay Hebbered, Woodfin Camp / Woman wearing vest with buttons, USA. Peter Essick, Aurora.

Read more about Tibor Kalman and see more great examples from (un)FASHION on the ImageSource blog.

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Guest Blog Post by Image Source
Interview by John O’Reilly with Boat Magazine Editor Erin Spens

Design Week called Boat magazine “One of the most exciting new titles we’ve seen in a while. A brilliant concept and equally brilliant execution.” Creative Review couldn’t resist a seaworthy metaphor in its praise, “Still moving, Boat Magazine continues to be one of the most inspiring ventures out there.” While The Rumpus, a San Francisco-based culture mag with the tagline, “A love letter to the convict in your heart” clearly enjoyed the prison library duties, “This is the best magazine I have read in a long time — one of the most creative, beautiful, and engaging things to ever land in my mailbox.”

Editor Erin Spens and Creative Director Davey Spens launched Boat magazine in 2011, as a project of Boat Studio in East London. Like many new niche magazines in the new publishing model both online and offline, Boat also served as a portfolio piece for the Studio except its proposition was always much more conceptual and interesting. Not only did each issue focus on a single city, but for each issue, the magazine team relocated to the city it was featuring.

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Google is innovating again, this time by introducing a new way for businesses of all shapes and sizes to raise their profile and connect with consumers on the web. Called Google Business View, the technology brings a business to life with a high quality, 360 degree, interactive virtual tour that lets consumers experience and explore panoramic views of retail shops, restaurants, clubs, galleries, event spaces, gyms, services, and facilities of all kinds. The virtual tour appears on the businesses’ website, and – here is the kicker – is  visible on Google Search results, Google Maps, and Google+. The images can also be used for various other advertising and marketing purposes.

The prime movers of Google Business View are a small and select cadre of photographers – dubbed Google Trusted Photographers – who are stringently trained to take high-quality photographs of interiors and facilities, and certified to access the Google technology and know-how that turns the pictures into a dramatic panoramic interactive showcase for potential customers. It is their expertise, combined with Google’s power, that can make companies standout.

Recently, I had a chance to speak with a prolific and successful Google Trusted Photographer, Jeffrey Rosenberg, who has brought Google Business View to several businesses on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. His recent photographic shoots have run the gamut from large and extensive venues — such as a renowned golf club and a venerable catering hall — to more contained locations including a dental office, an eyeglass store, and a hair salon.


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“You don’t take a photograph, you make it” -Ansel Adams

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