Noon covers art, fashion and commerce, with a dose of cultural criticism thrown into the mix. Edited by former POP art director Jasmine Raznahan, the chunky publication is predominantly image based, with nicely contemplative photography gracing most of the pages. It’s previous warm and hazy covers were beautifully subtle; this new cover image is louder and disconcerting, a shade weird even, but with that same alluring soft focus that has become Noon’s defining aesthetic. This third edition is ‘The Modern Love issue’, and once you’ve read it, the initially startling cover begins to make more sense.
The front cover’s close-up is evocative of the magazine’s offbeat shoots and deft assortment of odd, confessional essays, which range from an artist falling in love with her hired online ghost writer (as told through emails and her twitter feed, above), to an article that wonders whether robots can love.
Another piece entitled ‘The End of the Affair’ candidly recalls the lead up to an operation, told through a stream-of-consciousness narration. The essays do not shy away from uncomfortable details, never leaving out embarrassing feelings or discussions of body-parts that are rarely touched on. In this way, the pieces don’t attempt to glamorise or romanticise the idea of love.
Attention to telling small detail is captured in Noon’s shoots as well as the commissioned words. In photographs, small blonde underarm hairs, the fold of a wrinkle, or the dirtied sole of a foot become the focus of a camera’s attention (above). A joyfully surreal shoot by Charlie Engman entitled ‘Mom is Mom’ fixates on skin and a bruised pattern of freckles, juxtaposing the spots on a banana and apple with the body of the artist’s mother (below).
Noon is interested in defying expectations, and in using photography and words to shift our perspective on something. The way the images find beauty in body parts that are usually considered undesirable is just one of the ways that the magazine smartly confounds expectations.
In a shoot entitled ‘VS6 22:35, 52J, 22 JANUARY 2015, LND à MIA’, photographer Mel Bles and stylist Lyson Marchessault use colour and shifting perspectives to striking effect, blending architecture, colour and clothes so that the fashion stands out all the more (above and below). This shoot is another example of the often bewilderingly beautiful and endlessly fascinating content inside Noon.
Elsewhere, artist Leigh Johnson explores eroticism on the Internet through a series of screenshots (above), avant-garde film director Wu Tsang is interviewed via Skype chat (below), and a static, mostly beige fashion spread features early-teenage models shot by Alice Neale (also below).
The hypnotic gaze of the girl on cover, which is lovely but also delicately twisted, evokes Noon’s post-surreal sense of style and substance. When a magazine reaches its third issue it’s usually the moment when it hits its stride, having had two previous issues to experiment with tone and design. This new cover is a bold assertion of Noon’s striking personality as a magazine and its dedication to uncovering the extraordinary in the everyday; each issue is ravishing but takes an almost feverish delight in flaw and scar, they're spellbinding but also well-grounded, simultaneously real and dreamy.
Noon gives what is traditionally unglamorous or considered unimportant a potent layering of aesthetic pleasure and intellectual intrigue. The magazine knits together art and fashion with that same subversive strength of vision that Juergen Teller brought to the genre, with an organic, hazy and candid aesthetic that Noon are out on their own in achieving.
Art direction: Jasmine Raznahan