Photography: Lois Conner


With an affinity for silvery hued scenes cast in cinematic aspect ratios, Lois Conner is a photographer who seems to grasp the idea of place and place-making. The homogenous content of rooftops and lotus spread out, making the disparities in details stand out between each individual. Landscapes can be equally placid or marked by human intervention that just was or will shortly be; a bird’s eye shot of a snow-devoid square where a car was, a Hanoi alley filled with a hodge-podge build up of wood scaffolding and walled by ancient brick.

She has a knack for providing the subject of the city with an air of contemporary documentation. It is as if the city were doing what it does every day, bustling with continual interactions as the setting for urban humanity, and then Ms. Conner, all set with her aperture settings and tripod levels, let’s the city know that she’s set, says with a flourish ‘smile!’ , and the city, all at once stopping and turning for the longest pause it can accommodate her with, has it’s portrait taken.  Dignified but impromptu poses and expressions cast the buildings in a historical light, with all the evidence of their contemporary lives about them. She is able to make out the coherence and common history from the complexity of the city. The buildings are a populace, interactions constant, roots shared.

Lois Conner speaks to this quality and her intentions:

My subject is landscape as culture. I am not interested in an untouched, untrammeled world. What I am trying to reveal through photography in a deliberate yet subtle way is a sense of history. I want my photographs to describe my relationship to both the tangible and the imagined, to fact and fiction.

Occasionally, a shot comes off as less genuine due to a curio-cabinet presentation (the fictional relationship she mentions?). Mere graphite for some shots, this makes diamonds of some of her portraits. They ring with the documentary tone of the Farm Security Administration’s Depression era photography program. She even manages to make an office cubicle look, if not downright modern and sensible, at least attractive in its texture and Cartesian arrangement. She also trades those silver hues for brilliant color in a few well chosen and composed images.  She sets out to do something in particular with photography, and I think she very often succeeds in it.

http://www.loisconner.net/

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Cover Illustration & Design: Worth Anything You Want

It always catches my interest when good design makes it’s mark in areas that might not typically be associated with it.  When someone mentions investment strategies and economic outlooks, exciting design doesn’t often flash effortlessly into mind.  Worth Magazine’s Design Director Dean Sebring and Illustrator Brian Stauffer disregard those preconceptions with one of the most attractive magazines being published.  Brian’s illustrations communicate a concept with a balance of crispness and texture, with geometry and color leaving tool marks.  The interior is likewise elegant and cohesive.

Another example is the Alex Miles Younger cover design work for ‘Anything You Want’ (by Derek Sivers). It is a book about starting multi-million dollar companies and entrepreneurship, but the cover throws aside any imagery of green paper for a yellow sun and genuine happiness at the beach.  Or maybe he’s trapped? Though far from Ben Franklin above the shoulders, this boy’s head could be more metaphorically complex than at first glance. It goes further; there is no title, no author, no blurb about the book anywhere on the front cover (though there is that publisher’s domino icon). It all seems like smart design (and hence business) to me.

When business and design take risks together, there can certainly be rewards.

http://www.brianstauffer.com/

Animated reading from ‘Anything You Want’:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m27W83ZSVX5O9O/ref=flash_player_2_preplay

http://unozip.com/about/