Isabel Castillo Guijarro, Art Director Refinery29 / Designer & Illustrator


SPD: What year?
Isabel Castillo Guijarro:

SPD: What were you up to?
I grew up in the publishing world. My great-grandfather owned a printer in Madrid, Spain during the early 20s, working mostly on embossing books; my grandfather worked for him as a typist since his early teens before going on to designing some of the big magazines and newspapers in Spain at that time — Marca, ABC, As and even special projects for Francisco Franco— my uncle was the Creative Director at Hachette. My point is, that there where always magazines around.


SPD: What magazine?
My first real understanding of a magazine was Ragazza, a Spanish fashion magazine that closed doors in 2008. Only because I was in one of the early issues as a baby in 1990. My mom still has that entire year saved somewhere. When I was 8 or 9, she showed my uncle's name on the masthead as the Art Director so I've subconsciously always looked, thinking he would be there. To this day, I'm always curious to see who are the creatives behind it. Before even reading the actual magazine.

SPD: What was it that so enthralled you?
Ragazza had no appeal to me but introduced me to magazines. My teens were spent looking at Print, Wallpaper, Rolling Stone and Squire until I became obsessed with Italian Vogue as an intern at Vogue Spain. I had the side job of organizing their archive. Italian Vogue always had the most elegant, simple, and clean but bold covers.


SPD: Do you know now who the creatives were?
For a while, I was obsessed with Franca Sozzani + George Louis

SPD: How does that inform your creative now? 
Even though I work in media and mostly do digital, I inevitably crave print.


Amy Wolff, Photo Director at Hearst Enthusiast Group (Bicycling, Runner's World)


Amy Wolff: I spent my teenage years listening to music and sneaking out of the house to see punk, hardcore and ska bands at the Trocadero in Philly, Spankys in East Stroudsburg, and abandoned warehouses around Pennsylvania. I photographed the bands playing, too, but it was always a choice. Enjoy the show or work the show. 

Art played a huge role within my love for music. I collected album artwork, posters, flyers and zines. Small in size, self-published and generally free or a few dollars at most, zines were raw and unpolished, much like the music I liked at the time. Photocopied on plain white paper, folded in half, bound by staples, zines were distributed by hand at shows or purchased in indie music stores. Zines like riot grrrl covered and celebrated the feminist movement in music and society. Even Bust and Bitch began as zines. For a short time, my friend and I made a zine called “Nailbiter.” Without social media, these tangible objects were all I had to get an insider look and stay connected to the niche community I loved.


Rolling Stone, however, provided a much broader look at the music community. In the late 90s, this monthly, over-sized, 10”x12”, colorful, glossy, artfully designed magazine gave me news, gossip, in-depth story-telling and lots of photos. I had a love/hate relationship with the cover photography, but they were memorable. In 1998, David LaChapelle’s image of Madonna fully encapsulated her “Ray of Light” phase. I didn’t understand this phase of hers, but there it was. He got it.

RS had memorable ads, too. Think of the last magazine article you read? Do you remember any of the adjacent full-page ads? I remember paging through RS looking for Absolut Vodka ads. Developed by TBWA, that is one of the most iconic campaigns ever. I can still picture my young teenage self, sitting in my bedroom, flipping through the magazine dreaming of traveling the world shooting bands or producing ad campaigns and seeing my work in the pages of RS.


Toni Paciello Loggia, Photo Director at Shape Magazine


Toni Paciello Loggia: My career in magazines started nearly 20 years ago to the day, in August of 1998. I was hired fresh out of Parsons where I had studied Photography and became the Photo Assistant at Redbook magazine. As a newbie in publishing, I ate, drank and slept magazines. I loved (and still do) flipping through magazines, acquainting myself with photographers, getting inspired by the photography and tearing out pages and pinning them to my wall. One of the magazines that I was always drawn to made its debut the year before--- JANE. It was different from all of the other glossy beauty and fashion books. While it was still gorgeous to look at, it was real. The photographs felt casual and spontaneous.  They were not overly retouched and unattainable. The celebrity features were particularly candid. You truly felt like you were being granted a glimpse into someone’s life; not a glossed-up version of who they wanted you to think they were. The premiere issue featured Drew Barrymore, photographed by Carter Smith. She truly was the perfect cover girl for the first issue. There was movement in the photos as she laughed, tumbled, and strolled. You could see the grain in the film and could feel the movement of the photographer following his subject. The photographs drew you in and included you in the experience. I distinctly remember a later cover the following year with Reese Witherspoon. It was a black and white portrait of her squinting one eye with a wrinkle in her nose and curled up lip, shot by Robert Erdmann. It grabbed your attention because it had a voice and an opinion—all without saying a word. That truly is the mark of a great photograph. So much talent graced the pages—Terry Richardson, Pamela Hanson, Francois Nars—names that became synonymous with fashion editorials of that time—and still are. 

Aside from the gorgeous visuals, JANE had a distinct voice—one that was strong and powerful, and feminist. It didn’t shy away from controversial editorial. Some of my favorite headlines: “No Women Allowed. The Promise Keepers is a right-wing Christian group that bans women and preaches that man is the boss. Our writer joined up and found out it’s not as good as it sounds.”; “Pigs in Space. Picture Yourself Here? Don’t count on it- only about 20 percent of astronauts are women. But that beats the years when John Glenn helped to keep us completely out. Some Hero.”; “Sex Can Make You Nervous. He’s supposed to be the stiff one, not you. If you’ve got performance anxiety, turn the page and calm yourself.”; “I Went Undercover as A White Supremacist. The Aryan Nations is a racist, hate-filled world where white males dominate. Paige Jarrett attends the World Congress to try to find out why any woman in her right mind would join.” JANE was smart, and provocative and challenged its readers to be the same. It’s sad to think that so many of these topics are still “current” events twenty years later…

SPD: Do you know now who the creatives were?:
TPL: JANE PRATT, Editor-In-Chief; EDWARD LEIDA, Design Director; CARY ESTES LEITZES, Photo Editor; ELIZABETH RODRIGUEZ, Art Director.

Joe Rodriguez, Senior Associate Photo Editor at People and Entertainment Weekly


Joe Rodriguez: Growing up, my grandmother bought me subscriptions to tons of magazines.  I always read magazines. My love of magazines didn’t turn into a full-blown addiction until 2005, my junior year at the School of Visual Arts. That year, I took Sarah A. Friedman’s editorial photography class. Sarah knew I loved ESPN the Magazine and she just happened to create some of my favorite images that they’ve ever run. Sarah also helped me get an internship there. Following my internship, I was hired on and stayed for 6 years. Catriona Ni Aolain, the Director of Photography let me run wild! I was able to learn about how magazines worked, who did what, why and how the end product came about.

To me, ESPN the Magazine is what a magazine should be: Big, shiny, beautiful, and full of information and opinions. It made me feel ready to debate anyone about the topics covered inside. But most importantly it is FULL OF AWESOME PORTRAITS. The Mag’s photography was always ahead of the curve. The portraits were always dynamic or when needed beautifully lit and quiet. I’d never seen a magazine that let photos breathe as much as ESPN did. For the first time, I saw an art department (led by then creative director Siung Tjia) show how design elements could interact with photographs without stifling them or sometimes making up for a lackluster photograph altogether.