A friend and colleague of mine, Anne Kerns (yes, other designers rib her about the name) of Anne Likes Red, offered me the opportunity to photograph a few of her old magazines. I have “Westvaco” by Bradbury Thompson, a few Avant Gardes, and some Ray Guns she said casually. Would they be of any interest to you….?
I’ll be sharing some of the less-well-known images I find in the months (and possibly years) ahead. In the mean time, the biggest surprise I found as I put in some serious lens time with Westvaco, or Inspirations for Printers was the cover.
The inside is, indeed, “all that”—the above spread is one of a seemingly endless stream of modernist masterpieces contained in the magazine. But, I realized, as I paged through her collection that I’d never seen (or at least didn’t remember seeing) a Westvaco cover. It’s clear why. The covers seem inexplicably out of place. They evoke nothing so much as the cheerful, “anyone can paint” guides that took a reader from color mixing to finished canvas in a single volume that one used to see in art supply shops. They give no hint of what you’ll see when you crack the book open.
While the New Yorkerish covers don’t work with the inside in one sense—they also serve as a kind of modernist plain brown wrapper. The interior seems all the more stunning after the reader is lulled by the underwhelming cover image.