New York Times Magazine Photographs Exhibition
For more than thirty years, the weekly New York Times Magazine has shaped the possibilities of magazine photography, through its commissioning and publishing of photographers' work across the spectrum of the medium, from photojournalism to fashion photography and portraiture. Exhibiting these monumental works in Jacksonville allowed the MOCA team to work with long-time New York Times Magazine photo editor Kathy Ryan and her colleagues to ensure the existing brand and exhibition were well represented.
Mounting this behind-the-scenes look at the collaborative, creative processes that have made this magazine the leading venue for photographic storytelling within contemporary news media required large-scale wall graphics, complex didactics, and specially built viewing stands to showcase magazine spread imagery. Print materials and advertisements featured crisp imagery from the Magazine to draw viewers in and acquaint them with the varied subject matter. The addition of a subtle spot varnish for the Forma Magazine cover and the preview invitation added a tactile element to these sleek pieces.
While by no means comprehensive, the projects featured here mirror the Magazine's eclecticism, presenting seminal examples of reportage, portraiture, as well as fine art photography. Using visual materials drawn from different stages of the commissioning process-shot lists, work prints, contact sheets, videos, tear sheets, and framed prints-the Magazine's collaborative methodology is revealed from initial idea to the published page, and, in some cases, continues beyond magazine publication, when an exploration that began as an assignment has become a part of a photographer's ongoing work.
Enthralled by this exhibition, the public attended in record numbers and took advantage of a full range of programming including FIS/FNF free Thursday evenings, weekly tours, lectures, a photojournalism panel discussion, and a documentary film on Gregory Crewdson. Viewers connected with the wide range of subject matter and rich wealth of information presented.
The New York Times Magazine continues to provide an increasingly rare venue for visual storytelling on the printed page, and, perhaps of equal consequence, offers a unique forum for the cross-pollination of photographic genres. As Ryan asserts, “Often the best creative work happens when there is crossover between different disciplines. A film is painterly. A photograph is sculptural. Likewise, the Magazine is often at its best when we bring photographers to projects that fall outside their usual borders. When a fine artist takes on a news story, or a documentary photographer embarks on a fashion shoot, sparks fly from the page."