Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nancy Reagan Gave the Best WHAT?!!


...or, great covers that didn't get picked for the ASME awards(like everyone's favorite SPY magazine cover from the late 1980s.) Another significant cover submitted but not chosen was the Texas Monthly Ann Richards cover from July 1992. Flash back to the mid-1990s when digital photography was still a new idea and a feature in Wired delved into the ethics of digital photo manipulation. It's all context and important because the Texas Monthly cover was primarily famous as one of the first high profile Photoshopped covers fronting a major monthly although it wasn't the first and it certainly wouldn't be the last. From Wired in 1995:
Every photojournalist can rattle off a list of images that became notorious after revelations that they had been digitally manipulated. As far back as February 1982, National Geographic moved two Egyptian pyramids closer together to fit them both on the magazine's cover. Two months later, National Geographic's cover image of a Polish man included part of his hat grafted from a second photo. Six years ago, Newsweek carried an image that appeared to show Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise standing side by side, even though the two had been shot separately. A missing Diet Coke can provoked controversy after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch deleted it from a photo of a Pulitzer Prize winner. Texas Monthly was rebuked for two altered cover images of Governor Ann Richards: in one, Richards was dancing with her 1990 election opponent, while in the other, she was riding a Harley-Davidson; in both instances, her head was placed over models' bodies. (After the motorcycle cover appeared, Richards said that since the model had such a nice body, she could hardly complain.) Last year, a Newsday cover showed Olympic figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan skating together when they hadn't yet met on the ice, and, in what became the most controversial image of all, Time carried a digitally darkened version of an O.J. Simpson mug shot on its cover.
The then-Gov. wasn't upset but at least one of the photographers involved was. The photographer of the Governor's headshot superimposed over the motorcycle mama's face claimed the rights to Richards' publicity stock shots. And he's still pissed off. According to the Austin Business Journal, he's upset Texas Monthly is using the altered cover photo in publicity and marketing campagns without compensating him. Who's he really after? Why, Emmis, of course, the Indianapolis-based parent company with the deep pockets. History aside, Texas Monthly did submit this cover for consideration and I'm sad it didn't make the cut. It's still one of my favorites and I'm pretty sure I still have the original around here somewhere, right next to the Rolling Stone cover with the Red Hot Chili Peppers naked and wearing socks on their hoo-hoos. Ahh, another favorite.

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