Design Observer has a tribute piece to US politician Ann Richards that raises a couple of magazine-related issues. Written by Pentagram partner DJ Stout, the piece tells the story of a front cover he designed for Texas Monthly featuring the late politician.
Firstly, Stout recounts how he, the art director, came up with the headline for the cover – a good example of how the roles of art director and editor cross over in an editorial environment. Secondly he explains how the cover image of Richards straddling a Harley Davidson was patched together from various sources with her approval. She didn't have time to attend a shoot.
This second issue is rather glossed over as the piece eulogises the politician (and the series of comments in reply all focus on people's views of Richards, who was clearly a well-known, if controversial, figure in the US). It's a great tale of single-minded desire to execute a concept, especially as it comes from those dark days before PhotoShop, but am I the only one thinking that the cover is weakened as soon as you realise the image is fake?
It's not a question of ethics as it was done with the full support of the subject. But somehow it's just… disappointing. Read the full piece here.