Time magazine is celebrating female achievement in its Sept. 18 issue, which hits stands this Friday.
The magazine unveiled Firsts, a multimedia special project that features 46 women who broke a variety of barriers, such as becoming the first woman to win a major party’s nomination for president (Hillary Rodham Clinton), co-anchoring a major network news program (Barbara Walters), designing a memorial on the National Mall (Maya Lin), owning and producing her own her own talk show (Oprah Winfrey) and breaking 100 million Instagram followers (Selena Gomez).
“This is not a power list, this is not most famous women or most wealthy women. This really is women who have stories to tell about breaking barriers that we think are instructive and inspiring across so many different fields,” said Time magazine editor in chief Nancy Gibbs. “I think when you read their stories and hear them talk about what motivated them, what contributed to their success, what setbacks they faced, everyone will find someone they can identify with.”
As part of the multiplatform project, there will be 12 different covers featuring 12 different women, on newsstands. Portraits, including the 12 covers, were shot with an iPhone by Luisa Dörr, a Brazilian photographer that Time’s director of photography Kira Pollack found on Instagram.
“Having worked in photography for so long and been on so many shoots, there was something so interesting about seeing how disarming it was to have Louisa Dörr with an iPhone,” Pollack said. “They are very real pictures, and I think the subjects were able to take their guard down without so many lights and assistants and all the big production that a shoot normally entails.”
Other aspects of the project include short videos, produced by Time videographers Spencer Bakalar and Diane Tsai, an interactive site, a dedicated social media campaign and a hardcover book, which will come out later this fall. Dedicated advertising sponsors include the antioxidant drink Bai.
Although the idea of someone becoming the first woman to achieve something may have taken on a different tenor following the outcome of last November’s presidential election, the idea for project, which Gibbs credits to Pollack, started well before the election.
While, according to Gibbs, that may have “brought another dimension” to the conversation, it is part of an ongoing discussion about the women in various fields.
“For the first time we had a female major party nominee, and that triggered a discussion about the role of women in politics. We had been having a discussion about the role of women in technology and in Hollywood and in the sciences and most recently in economics,” she explained. “All of these debates about what is it that contributes to success or what is it that holds women back have been unfolding obviously for generations.”
The list is, at any rate, nonpartisan. In addition to Clinton, other women in politics featured include Kellyanne Conway and Loretta Lynch.
“The hardest thing was forcing ourselves to stop at some point and publish,” Gibbs said.