by Art Chantry (firstname.lastname@example.org)
one thing i feel compelled to show off is the little known fact that The Rocket (my alma mater) could actually look beautiful, too. we tend to display the outrageous and the infamous stuff about that magazine. but, not many folks actually remember that more often than not, the thing really looked lovely. designerly, even.
this cover (april, 1985) is a photo by (i think) by the brilliant rex rystedt (what’s he doing these days? is he famous, yet? he should be). the art director was the legendary kate thompson (robert newman shows off a lot of her work in his magazine comment threads).
she left the rocket to go on to a fabled career that traveled through the wonders of new york editorial and magazine design and ended up with her gig as the art director at ABC news.com. now, she tells funny stories of partying with peter jennings.
this particular cover is a smashing example of the more ‘designerly’ approach to imagework (new jargon!) that was often utilized in the rocket. the magazine also covered all sorts of northwest music (not just ‘grunge’). even gospel. i’ll bet you didn’t even know that seattle had any gospel music in it. seattle even has a few black people, too. it’s true!
so, feast your eyes and enjoy. this is a great cover (by anybody’s standards).
AC:did you know that back in the 1950′s, the northwest had a really hot rockabilly scene? who knew? then, norton released like three of four volumes of stuff. nobody i know in the northwest even knew a single thing about it. suddenly – wham! four entire full compilations of great material. go figger….
…this cover of this gospel singer (whose name i totally forget) was remarkable for it’s complete reliance on the photo (actually a new idea for us) and the sheer exuberant QUALITY of the photo. rex did a wonderful job an captured absolutely everything we wanted to say. why muck it up with some silly faddish design/type, eh?…
…one of rex’s big secret weapons (not really a “secret
17;) was that he worked at the paramount theater back in it’s rock days as some sort of behind the scenes guy. so, he had all sorts of ways of getting back stage with his camera and taking shots of famous performers up close and personal.
his other secret was that he, himself, was so shy. he was this tall lanky nerdy guy who turned deep red at the drop of a hat. it’s really hard to ever feel threatened by a guy who looked like that. so shy.
but, when it came to getting the shot, he was a lion. ya know? fearless. brilliant guy. he owns one of the best untapped photo archives of northwest (and international) music talent in the country. nobody has ever gone into it just to see what’s there. he’d make one hell of a book subject. (you reading this, charlie? norman?)
he’s probably the best photographer seattle ever produced (next to charles peterson.)…