In Praise of the 'Free!'
Wired eschews photoshoots for the all-type cover.
So youâ€™ve hired a Cadillac of a photographer and thereâ€™s a celebrity or maybe some high-strung supermodel. A few photo assistants are futzing with (rented) lighting in a (rented) space. An art director and assistant have flown in for the shoot, Thereâ€™s a hair stylist, a makeup stylist, a fashion stylist, maybe someoneâ€™s built a set, maybe a couple of people styled that set. And god knows how many hours went into orchestrating the eventâ€”scheduling, catering, and putting out fires. No doubt, a high-end national magazine cover shoot can put you back quite a few more Benjamins than a fancy wedding or sporty car. Oh, jeez, did I forget about digital delivery fees, retouching and color correction? Did someone budget for any of that?
Considering how over-the-top it can all be, one has to admire a major glossy that routinely pays closer to 50 cents for its covers. Wiredâ€™s Scott Dadich is the current master of the all-type cover.
Of course, Wiredâ€™s covers must cost a bit more than 50 cents. They doubtlessly take a bit of time to pull off and Wired has a tradition of using multiple metallic and florescent inks, which all add a bit of cost. But considering that this magazine frequently goes to war on the newsstand with nothing but a few colors, shapes and words cobbled together, itâ€™s all still pretty impressive. Even when there is an image, such as is the case with the Electric Car cover above, itâ€™s still only a minor component of the package.
Wired has been taking chances with itâ€™s cover since its inception, and looking at the magazineâ€™s content one can see why. When you contemplate the future of online media or the next Ice Age, there isnâ€™t much to photograph that isnâ€™t going to look trite. Powerful, surprising imagery may sometimes be possible when youâ€™re writng about, oh, industrial applications for 380 digit prime numbers, but itâ€™s not a sure thing.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Buy Jandos' new book!]
-- Folio: Contributor
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