Sunday, February 26, 2012

The New Journalism & Illustration

The much ballyhooed New Journalism of the 196os and 70s featured writers like Tom Wolfe, Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer. Wolfe made a career of it, partly by solidifying his own myth in telling the tale. In Drawing Conclusions this week we are reading sources from the period, pro and con.

But the visual practitioners of the New Journalism–in particular, the illustrators who operated as correspondents on assignment–have been left out of the story. Publications like Esquire, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and New York Magazine commissioned such projects.

Readers of this blog may recall the pivotal role that the illustrator Robert Weaver played in these developments.

In 1969, Weaver produced such an essay for Fortune magazine, a top-to-bottom account of work in the Woolworth Company. A set of images from this project was recently posted in the pictorials section of the Melton Prior Institute website. (The Melton Prior is devoted to the study and promotion of the tradition of reportage drawing. It's located in Dusseldorf. I haven't been yet, but plan to visit in the next year or so.)

I'm posting a few images from their display.

The line drawings and the color finishes cast interesting light on each other.

In most cases, I prefer the line study.

Images: Robert Weaver, suite of images from What's Come Over Old Woolworth?, Fortune Magazine, January 1969; Photographer credit unavailable, Photograph of Tom Wolfe, cover, New York Magazine, February 14, 1972.

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