There was a time, in the pre-Google image search, pre-brand ambassador era, when the editor’s letter could easily be the only time readers saw an editor in chief’s face. These days, the editor’s letter is a little like a yearbook in a Facebook world — or like a monthly magazine’s celebrity cover in a paparazzi world — but the space still offers an editor the chance to present her- or himself as she or he would like to be seen. (The interventions of good lighting and major photographers with all their modern tools aren’t always used, but cannot be discounted.) September issues landed with a new crop of editors’ photos, back-to-school-style, so WWD took a look at the befores and afters.
Editor in chief, Men’s Vogue
Photographer before: Arthur Elgort
Photographer after: Ben Hoffmann
Before: boyish, approachable. After: somber, elbow-patched. On-brand bonus: grooming credit from Kérastase, makeup credit from La Mer.
From the editor: A spokeswoman for the magazine said Fielden’s last photo was about four years old, and that he had finally found time to schedule a shoot. As for the makeup credit, the spokeswoman said it referred to skin care products, not eyeliner or mascara. The metrosexual lives.
Editor in chief, Glamour
Photographer before: Norman Jean Roy
Photographer after: Matthias Vriens
Girl-next-door yearbook photo gives way to a more sophisticated look and an Orlando Pita haircut. Both photos credit hair and makeup, but the new photo amps it up with a Prada fashion shout-out. What, no fragrance credit?
From the editor: “Since it’d been 872 years since my last haircut, I figured it was worth a new photo.”
Managing editor, In Style
Photographer before: Wolfgang Ludes
Photographer after: Stewart Shining
An open smile and wind-blown hair has given way to a side lean and a cropped cut. The new photo also has a more measured smile, darker colors and a slightly confrontational arm-fold. The photo came with the recently unveiled redesign of In Style — will readers respond?
From the editor: “Long hair? What was I thinking?”
Editor in chief, Runners’ World
Photographer before: Robert Lewis
Photographer after: Grant Delin
He hasn’t lost the wholesome outdoors background, but the newest photo shows a less boyish and more chiseled face. Blame it on the American Society of Magazine Editors presidency.
From the editor: “I don’t think the new one is all that different, although I guess I look a little older and a little more tired. A couple more marathons and late-night closes under my belt.…The idea is to reinforce that I, and we, are like them — we’re part of the community. And I think it does that. Also fun, in a corny, we-live-outside-the-media-bubble way: My kids like to grab the issue off newsstands, open to my ed letter, and hold it up and say, ‘Daddy!’”
Editor in chief, GQ
Photographer before: Terry Richardson
Photographer after: Nathaniel Goldberg Nelson traded Richardson’s stark aesthetic and a casual, no-tie look for a tighter close-up, more flattering light and more formal attire. From hipster to squinty glamour shot.
From the editor: “For a while I changed my photo often, because I didn’t want to be one of those fossilized editors whose photos you look at and think ‘He hasn’t looked like that since 1982.’ Then I got tired of changing it all the time. And I liked the Terry Richardson photo I had.…I always think September is the beginning of the magazine New Year, so it’s a good time to change.” As for grooming and makeup, “Whenever I wear makeup, I look like Wink Martindale.”