Junior Bazaar, January, 1947, with art direction from Alexei Brodovitch
Fred Ritchin writes frequently on how photography, and specifically concerned photojournalism, is and has changed on the web and in the era of digital. A recent post caught my eye:
When one looks at great magazine design there is almost nothing like it on the Web. The era of mass picture magazines started with magazines like Vu in France where the covers were as graphic and stunning as posters. Inside pages for Vu and other early magazines like Regards and Picture Post were used to experiment with all kinds of juxtapositions of images, text and other graphic elements. But what we end up with in terms of design at the beginning of the Web era is much like what we have in desktop publishing — clean sites that look professional but are almost never transcendent.
Clearly, a lot of this has to do with the technology – In print, it’s one thing to, for example, overlay text and image, and in code it’s an entirely different and much more complicated thing. Which is not to say the technology isn’t there, because it is, in Flash, which is an entirely different ballgame in terms of ease of use and loading times on a site. As it is, Flash sites tend to be overdesigned, not underdesigned, frequently suffering from the seductiveness of whizzing, moving images and text, not an unwillingness to experiment with the medium.
Anyways, even within the limitations of technology, there are few people willing to push the limitations of text and image on the web. I can think of one, off the top of my head – i heart photograph, with it’s seemingly endless list of photos of the day and willingness to ignore the conventions of blog interface in order to give the reader an endless way to explore it’s particular corner of the photography world.
Words Without Pictures site is one (recently back online with the publication of their book) even though it’s dialogue between text and photos is defined by a self-conscious absence of the latter. A commenter on Ritchin’s original post points to three other super-flashy sites: http://www.sobluesoblue.nl; http://www.go-no-go.nl; and the really, really excellent accompaniment to the book of the same name, http://www.whymisterwhy.org.
Who knows of any others that bear a special mention?
P.S. I wasn’t able to track down an decent images of Vu, but you can find a couple here and here and some more with a google search.