Isabel Castillo Guijarro, Art Director Refinery29 / Designer & Illustrator

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SPD: What year?
Isabel Castillo Guijarro:
1998-99

SPD: What were you up to?
ICG:
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.

 
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SPD: What magazine?
ICG:
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?
ICG:
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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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Toni Paciello Loggia, Photo Director at Shape Magazine

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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.

Noah Fecks, Photographer

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SPD: What year?
Noah Fecks: January 1991

SPD: What were you up to?
NF: I’m a very pudgy awkward gay kid in 11th grade. I’m obsessed with photography, and as much as I love art and experimental photography, i’m obsessed with the concepts of strobe, lighting and making “professional” type images.

SPD: What magazine?
NF: 
It’s gonna come as NO surprise here, but of course, it was GOURMET magazine…

SPD: What was it that so enthralled you?
NF: 
I never knew before this that food could be presented “artfully."
Before this all I knew was my mother’s Betty Crocker and Ladies’ Home Journal cookbooks from the 60’s and 70s.
The food imagery in those were so dated and just seemed corny and ridiculous to me then.
Here was the 50th anniversay issue of Gourmet that had (to me at that time) all the luster, glamour and high fashion of a Claude Montana shoulder padded pant suit!!!!
It had a gallery of past covers that I literally could not get enough of.
It began my quest to start getting my paws on as many issues of the magazine I could get my hands on to pour over all the images.

SPD: Do you know now who the creatives were?
NF: 
At this time the EIC was the venerable Jane Montant. Jane began at Gourmet way way way back in 1953 and rose to the top position after the death of founder Earle MacAusland in 1980. She remained editor until 1991 when she was replaced by the legendary Gail Zweigenthal (both of whom were previous to the quite famous Ruth Reichl). Also at this time, the majority of the photography was created by Romulo Yanes (under Art Director Irwin Glusker), who remains an in demand and popular food and dining photographer to the present day.

SPD: How does that inform your creative now?
NF: 
The big impact was that Gourmet showed me that it COULD be done. Food could be exciting, vibrant, and MODERN. The spark that got lit then is still there for me; since then I’m always trying to push myself to say “is this modern?” or “is this THE FUTURE…?”

I remind myself to make images that I want to see in the world, and to literally do my best to shape the future.

https://www.noahfecks.com/

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Trevett McCandliss, Creative Director at Earnshaw’s & Footwear Plus

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SPD: What year? 
Trevett McCandliss: 1989-90

SPD: What were you up to? 
TM: I was discovering punk rock and learning to play the bass. The Germs, Subhumans, Misfits and Dead Kennedys were my favorite bands at the time. My friend’s sister’s boyfriend indoctrinated me into the mystries of loud guitar music in their suburban basement. He would sit with me for hours showing me the proper way to set up a Fender Twin, how to restring a guitar and instructing me as to why high action was better. The following year (in ninth grade) I had my own band that played one gig at our high school talent show. I had painted punk rock logos on my black army jacket and was sporting a mohawk that my friend gave me over the summer. (My mom was extremely displeased with my choice of haircut.)

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SPD: What magazine? 
TM: 
Maximum Rocknroll, which started its print run in 1982 as a booklet inside the Dead Kennedys double-LP “Not So Quiet on the Western Front”, released by Alternative Tentacles. The Maximum Rocknroll staff was all volunteer (still is), espoused radical politics, and covered the regional punk rock scenes around America and the world. It was pretty much cut-and-paste collage, black-and-white and made on a copier. It perfectly encapsulated the cheap, DIY, no frills, no budget, all-volunteer idealism that punk music represented. Being associated with this world, however tangentially, held the promise of personal transformation through creativity.

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SPD: What was it that so enthralled you? 
TM:
 The visual language of Maximum Rocknroll was expressive and direct with a purity and brutality that appealed to my aesthetic sense at the time. The same visual ideas seen on the covers of my favorite punk records—Bedtime for Democracy, Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, This Is Boston, Not LA, The Feeding of the 5000, etc.—were the same ones being used in their editorial design. I could also easily grasp how it was made. Everything was black-and-white, mostly hand-done, typed on a typewriter (or what I thought was a typewriter) and collaged. The world it opened to me was exciting and exotic—teenagers in bands living together in a cheap house, skateboarding and making records.  It seemed like an amazing way to live. Maximum Rocknroll also formed the visual template for a poetry magazine, Fever Dream, that my friend and I created on a copier. He was the editor-in-chief and I was the art director—not that I knew what an art director was back then.

Collecting punk records became a big pastime for me, and Maximum Rocknroll was the only real link to the world that those records came from. There were no band websites or blogs back then. MTV didn’t feature them either. These bands were too cool and controversial for the mainstream, which is just what I loved. The only way to get punk records was to send away for them in the mail or buy them from Newbury Comics in Boston. For a teen from a sleepy New Hampshire town, Boston was the big city. It was always very exciting to visit and check things out.  I would peruse other indie magazines, like Transworld SkateboardingThrasher and Spin. They were all awesome, but they weren’t made with a language that spoke as directly to me as Maximum Rocknroll. And while those magazines featured beautifully lit skateboard sequences, celebrity portraits and professional illustrations, none of that was something I could create or commission. Give me grainy black-and-white photos that have been photocopied a hundred times any day! Maximum Rocknroll represented a world filled with passionate, creative people living the art life, and I wanted to be a part of it.  

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SPD: Do you know who the creatives were? 
TM:
 Tim Yohannan (Aug. 15, 1945 – Apr. 3, 1998) was the founder of Maximum Rocknroll. Yohannan, also known as Tim Yo, was a 1960s counterculture leftist, before shifting this ideology to the punk scene.

SPD: How does that inform your creative now? 
TM:
 I don’t really get a chance to use the raw visual design aesthetic of ’80s punk and hardcore anymore. (That would be so cool!) But I still feel strongly grounded in the DIY approach to design. In that sense, I like to think of a magazine as a group of friends who are dedicated to an idealistic cause and use their limited resources to make something fresh, beautiful, exciting and true to life. I see the punk scene and Maximum Rocknroll as that same arrangement. Deep down I am still as committed as ever to this way of thinking.  I like to do things by hand, and I like stuff that is kind of beat up and messy. I like things that are directly expressive and unpretentious. I like starkness. I’m still an idealist. I’m still a punk rocker at heart—even though I let my mohawk grow out years ago!

mccandlissandcampbell.com

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Elizabeth Renstrom, Photo Editor at VICE

 
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Elizabeth Renstrom: I'm not sure if this is too niche, but I was obsessed with the Rollerderby zine and Lisa Crystal Carver ie. Lisa Suckdog growing up. I became aware of her zine in the middle of high school when I was going through a huge Riot Grrl discovery in music and performance. I was listening to Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville (which is still one of my favorite albums) and reading about Vaginal Davis, who both led me to Lisa's beloved zine. I bought a bunch on ebay and my older brother then purchased the paperback version of the first 16 issues as a gift for me. I think what attracted me most was Lisa's approach to interviews and also the random collection of things like virginity loss stories. I was so hungry for stuff that was discussing female sexuality frankly but not exploiting it. I wanted the gross, quivering, bloody, and erotic admissions—and Rollerderby provided. She still hasn't got her due IMO, because people are still terrified of actually putting anything as raw out there ESPECIALLLLLY if it's from a woman. BOO. Thank you for getting my hormone bomb self through high school, Lisa. Your work still inspires me today.

SPD: What year?
ER: 
2006-2007 (?)

SPD: What were you up to?
ER: 
I was just discovering and falling in love with photography and painting a lot as a medium. Very emo, very female singer songwriter, very horny, very high school.

SPD: What magazine?
ER: 
Rollerderby

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SPD: What was it that so enthralled you?
ER: 
I was really sick of reading glossy magazines for anything related to sex and relationships. They weren't interviewing the artists and musicians I was beginning to get into and I felt like I wanted something gory and obscene. I didn't want friendly advice on 'Omg, what do I do when I get my period at my boyfriend's house?" I wanted a range of female sexuality and rage that wasn't peddling to advertisers or curated by men.

SPD: Do you know now who the creatives were?
ER:
Lisa Crystal Carver

SPD: How does that inform your creative now?
ER: 
I am still, especially in my personal work as a photographer, constantly referencing the way Rollerderby made me feel as a young woman. I can only hope to be as fearless in my choices as an artist and editor as Lisa was with her mag and performances through Suckdog.

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Sasha Erwitt, Photographer & Photo Editor

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Sasha Erwitt: The first magazine I fell in love with was YM, and it was a lifegoal, realized, when I got to work there as a Photo Editor in 2003. I was a fan of the magazine back in the mid 90s when I was at boarding school and frequently in search of personal grooming tips, quizzes to find out what kind of person I was, relevant celebrity profiles and social etiquette quandaries. Searching for answers on the Internet was not a thing yet. I loved the practical knowledge combined with entertainment and lifestyle info that the magazine provided. They always had the best celebs -- Liv Tyler, the 90210 cast members, Marky Mark... it wasn't edgy like Sassy or cheesy like Seventeen

I'm not sure who the creatives were at the time I fell in love with the magazine but when I got there in 2003 there was an amazing team in place - Elizabeth Kiester the fashion director brought so much passion and heart to every project and made things FUN. Amy Demas was the Creative Director who shared Elizabeth's vision & attitude and welcomed my photography input. 

I think I've always been drawn to photos with that same general vibe: dynamic, environmental, happy and natural, and not edgy-for-edginess-sake.

 

www.sashaerwitt.com

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