By Anonymous

For a while there I was heavy into collecting "vernacular" photography. These are anonymous photos, usually found at flea markets, garage sales, on ebay, etc., that have a genuine—intentional or not—artistic quality. Was turned on to this genre by friend and art dealer David Raymond. We were trying to get a book off the ground until the market became flooded with similar material. Rather than let them sit in a dark closet for eternity, I thought I'd share some of these accidental Lartigues, Meatyards, Egglestons, and Cartier-Bressons.


How To Live Safely

New cover I designed for Peter Mendelsund and Pantheon. Art by Benbo George. Thanks to Ben Peiratt for pointing me to this guys amazing art. Book comes out in Fall.


Bad Book Covers

AIGA Comedy Night. I can personally vouch for this one man show about bad book covers. Saw it a few months ago at Upright Citizens Brigade. Hilarious. You book people will especially love it. Special guests too. Price of admission includes a free drink! See you there.


I'd do this

if I were you


Temporarily Grounded

Its always gratifying when an exceptional book gets the attention it deserves. Walter Kirn's novel, Up In The Air, was one of the best novels I had read in 2001. It's about a corporate down-sizer—someone hired by companies to fire people because they are too cowardly to it themselves—who is trying to attain one million miles on his frequent flier account. It has since been made into an acclaimed, Oscar nominatedmovie starring George Clooney, which enabled the movie tie-in edition of the book to reach a much wider audience.

How it works here at Vintage/Anchor is, at the start of every new publishing season we have a launch meeting to discuss upcoming titles. Some of the discussion is geared toward the cover. Do we want to reinvent? Do we want to focus on a particular audience? Do we want to adapt the hardcover design? We then have a 2-3 months to get all of the covers designed.

Up In The Air was launched on the morning of September 11, 2001, at a meeting that was cut short due to the tragic events of the day. The story takes place almost entirely in and around airplanes and airports. If there was one thing no one wanted to see on a book cover at that time was anything to do with airplanes and airports. So, adapting the hardcover jacket (below) was completely out of the question. No people in flames and airplanes crashing to the ground please. Understandable.
So what to do? My first attempts featured, well, airports and airplanes (what else was there?). Air sickness bags. oxygen masks, cool tarmac photos, and I forget what else. All predictably shot down. This is a challenge I come across every once in a while, where I am asked to avoid the topic at hand. "We're publishing a fabulous book about snooker, but no one in the US knows what the hell snooker is, so let's not reference it on the cover". That kind of thing.

My second attempt was to wait. Wait, wait, wait. Wait for the shock to wear off. Wait for emotions to cool. Wait until the last possible moment. It was a risky, but this book was about people flying around in 747s. After a few months I came back with this cover, featuring some non-gratuitous head cropping in reference to the main character's job:

Don't exactly remember the approval process, whether the cover was enthusiastically received or whether the whole publication had become a no-win, wrong book at the wrong time situation, but patience did pay off, albeit nine years and one movie tie-in cover later.


Elephant's Graveyard 6

Skateboards. I mean, seriously, if you were a kid, would you want something like this? Especially when you could have these?


Congrats to Milton

First graphic designer (I'm pretty sure) to win the National Medal of Arts.

The umpteenth folk singer to receive the honor was not in attendance.