The Art of the Double Take

I’ve often heard it said [and usually by magazine publishers] that they won’t use illustration because ‘… we can get photographs far cheaper on the web’. I take that to mean they’ll use anything that’s cheap and instantaneous. It doesn’t appear to me to be an ethos that will improve standards. First, they probably won’t get what they’re looking for, and insert an image that is ‘along the lines of what we want, but it’ll do…’. Secondly, photography and illustration are mutually distinct and serve different purposes. Photography is a reflection of one instant in time. It shows what is, or the actuality of the subject [like a portrait]. Illustration -we could call it artwork- encompasses the subject but expresses it in a unique way, takes the viewer into a different world -the world of the bizarre, perhaps, where anything can happen. Good editorial illustration should draw viewers in and make them return for further viewings.

I presume the same editors wouldn’t use copy that nearly says what they want it to say…or would they? Magazines full of reworked press releases, anybody?

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