Design Project: LOOK Magazine Spread - pgs. 12 & 13
Magazine spread design, this one based on a 1963 LOOK magazine and using photos I shot during a photoshoot in Philadelphia with vintage fashion model Kristina Paulk (MM#1786240).
The goal of this mini-project was to faithfully reproduce the look, feel, and design of LOOK magazine from 1963.
Text from the "article" found on this page spread, which may be slightly troublesome to read onscreen, is reproduced below:
1963 LOOK Magazine Graphic Design Project
Model Kristina Paulk requested a shoot in late February 2011. I had some ideas about what we might be able to do, based on earlier shooting with Petrarcha in Philadelphia. Just a walkabout shoot, but with vintage clothing. Kristina liked the idea--she appreciates and has vintage fashions--so we scheduled it.
We shot for about three hours in Philadelphia--the basic concept was to pick up shots as though we were shooting for a vintage magazine. I processed and delivered photo sets shortly after.
I wanted to do some magazine spread work and I had this copy of LOOK from 1963 that had grabbed my attention. . . .
The "Something Blue, Something Red" photos, along with the cover shot, were taken with a 1953 Leitz Elmar f/3.5 5cm lens. I'd picked this lens up just to see what it could do and specifically so that I could have "poor" optical quality to degrade the image, as one would expect to see from an old lens. It did surprisingly well. My only criticism might be that it was "too nice" in how it rendered images. Bokeh is classic, which is excellent, but at f/3.5 it holds its own in terms of image quality.
The "Concrete Underground" photos were taken with a more modern Summicron 35mm ASPH. I needed a wide for those and had already "risked" half of the shoot on the (to me) unproven Elmar.
Black and white shots were treated using TrueGrain and Panatomic-X grain.
Layout was completed via InDesign, using a custom-made Müller-Brockmann grid, which I designed to be based on LOOK magazine dimensions, content ratios, and typography.
The vintage ads (with the exception of the Leica ad, left, which I was compelled to include), were all scanned in from the March 26, 1963, issue of the magazine and then laid into the design. I selected ads that served layout purposes and also helped to set the time period. The Pennsylvania Tourism ad is probably my favorite, strictly because the photos were shot in Philadelphia and this is a "Pennsylvania" project.
I built the vintage page background from a few different scans, creating (via Photoshop) an unbroken surface that could be used in the page spreads.
The shadowing and lighting effects for the pages--which give the optical illusion of page solidity and depth--were developed on a previous project and adapted for use here.
Getting reasonably "accurate" photographic color was tricky. I didn't want to spend time tweaking each photo. I did want the page texture and color to affect the photos directly. The "aged look" of the photos in old magazines are caused from the breaking down of the paper, which gives them their look.
In other words, the "old look" of an "old" photo is one part optics, one part film stock, and one part condition of the paper upon which the photo was printed. Well, I'd gotten the optics down (the 1953 Elmar) and the film texture was handled with TrueGrain--but what about paper?
The color photos you see are actually a color photo laid over a black-and-white photo (treated with Panatomic-X grain)and then composited using InDesign's effects and controlling for opacity--so that the tint of the paper comes through Panatomic-X grain, then the color of the topmost photo. I quite like the look.
In short, it's not a clean look. But it has an authentic look. Again, I want to stress that in my opinion "vintage" things look their best when they're degraded and destroyed in exactly the right way.
Fun, all around. And. . . . This project wouldn't have been possible without Kristina--a huge shout out to her for her elegant style and work.
--Will Stotler, April 2011