Tag Archives: behind the cover

Behind the Obama Cover: Person of the Year 2012

Last week, President Barack Obama, TIME’s Person of the Year for 2012, granted us a rare sitting with the legendary photographer Nadav Kander. We chose Kander because of his remarkable ability to capture the mood of a moment. He has photographed some of the most iconic people of our time — from Sir Paul McCartney and Brad Pitt to Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, who is also featured in this issue. The two Obama portraits appearing in the issue are the first formal portraits of the President since his re-election.

(See more: Barack Obama, 2012 Person of the Year )

As managing editor Rick Stengel writes in his editor’s letter, “We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America.” To capture that magnitude, TIME commissioned Kander, whose signature style is defined by his exquisite lighting and almost painterly touch, to make a historic cover. The last time he photographed the President was in 2009 for The New York Times Magazine.

Callie Shell for TIME

President Barack Obama with TIME’s Director of Photography, Kira Pollack, during the photo shoot in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Dec. 12, 2012.

“When photographing such a high profile individual, it’s a huge challenge to not let their high profile take over the process,” Kander says. “I wanted to make a meaningful photograph that reflected pause in a person’s life and reflect his humanity.”

Kira Pollack, Director of Photography

(Related: 48 Hours with President Obama by Callie Shell )

Behind the Cover: Bill Clinton Photographed by Mark Seliger

Nearly 20 years after he photographed Bill Clinton during his first term in the White House, Mark Seliger reunited with the former president earlier this month to produce this week’s cover of TIME.

Clinton had just come off an electric speech at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, and his energy was palpable during the sitting. “He had a lot of enthusiasm about the big week, and he looked on top of the world,” Seliger said. “You could see it in his personality and his approach to life that he was content and very jovial.”

Seliger with Clinton at the cover shoot.

Seliger with Clinton at the cover shoot.

Fittingly, Clinton makes the case for optimism—and how things are improving around the world—in his cover story. To illustrate that idea, Seliger had Clinton hold a simple and elegant globe as a prop during the sitting. “There are tons of photos where Clinton is smiling—he is naturally a very inspiring and happy person—but I wanted to show a more introspective moment because he is someone who has changed the way we see and do things, and I felt it was my responsibility to connect with him that way,” Seliger said.

The idea of photographs having a backstory and meaning served as the inspiration behind Seliger’s new online video series called Capture, which features photographers talking about their work alongside notable people outside of the industry, such as Clinton and musicians Mick Jagger and Willie Nelson. The latest episode even featured photographer Martin Schoeller talking about his breast-feeding cover shoot for TIME.

Seliger’s own sitting with the former president isn’t a likely contender for Capture, though. “I wish I could say I had a chance to get philosophical with Clinton, but it didn’t happen,” he says. “I had just 15 minutes, and it was all about work.”

Mark Seliger is a photographer based in New York City. See more of his work here.

TIME Style&Design: Peter Hapak Photographs Marion Cotillard

To prepare for his cover sitting with Marion Cotillard for TIME Style&Design’s fall issue, photographer Peter Hapak hit the archives, collecting pictures of Paris and Parisian fashion during the 1930s, including the work of famed French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue. Studying images of women in restaurants, chatting with friends or simply roaming the streets of the city, Hapak easily understood why Paris has long been considered a fashion capital of the world. “All of the women looked like they had walked out of a fashion magazine,” he says. “Fashion is such a big part of the culture there, and you can even feel that history when walking through the city today.”

Peter Hapak for TIME

TIME Style&Design Fall 2012

On set in Paris this August, Hapak tried to evoke this era, capturing Cotillard in designs by French fashion houses Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, along with other designers like Andrew Gn and Dries Van Noten. “She’s the representation of the French woman for me—elegant, but not too stylized,” says Hapak of Cotillard, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007 for her portrayal of French singer Édith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. “With the cover look, it felt like she was pulling a dress out of her own closet. It went so well with her style, and she felt really confident in it, that you would have never known she was dressing up for a shoot.”

Peter Hapak is a contract photographer for TIME. In December of 2011, Hapak photographed The Protester, TIME’s Person of the Year. 

More: See all of TIME’s Style&Design coverage

Behind the Cover: How Guns Won

Guns dont actually kill people is sometimes a refrain from gun rights advocates when they run low on arguments in a policy discussion. On an incredibly basic level this is true. A gun itself is no more responsible for a death than a knife or an axe or any other instrument meant to harm and kill; the blame for a death falls on the person wielding them. But in the category of modern weaponsespecially gunsthe make, model and accessories matter a great deal.

When James Holmes allegedly stormed into a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. to maim and murder as many people as possible, he reportedly wielded an AR-15-type assault rifle. Holmes added an accessory: a 100-round drum that looks like two small film reels attached to the bottom of the weapon. This addition allowed him to fire round after round without reloading, which is what he allegedly did until the weapon jammed.

To produce this week’s cover, TIME commissioned Bartholomew Cooke, a talented young photographer who specializes in capturing the power of inanimate objects. seo marketing . When TIME asked Cooke to photograph the types of weaponsan assault rifle, two pistols and a shotgunthat were allegedly used in the massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., there were several difficult considerations. Cooke had photographed weapons before, but not in the connotation of a horrific tragedy. It was important that I didnt want to glamorize them, but I still did want to create a compelling graphic image, Cooke says. Figuring out how to photograph the gun was difficult. I certainly wouldn’t want images I create to cause anyone pain in any way.

Bartholomew Cooke is a photographer based in Los Angeles and a regular contributor to TIME. See more of his work here.

Behind the Cover: Capturing the American Dream

To define the American Dream in words is simple enough: “the perennial conviction that those who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded with a more comfortable present and a stronger future for their children,” writes Jon Meacham in this week’s cover story. To capture the American Dream in one image is a trickier task.

“There were so many ways to show the American Dream, from imagery of people coming over to America by boat and seeing the Statue of Liberty to the dot com era and everything in between,” says Jeff Minton, who photographed this week’s cover. “Ultimately, we went with a more simple approach—showing the perfect lawn, and letting the viewer imagine the broader implications that the picture might represent.”

That perfect lawn was actually a sod farm located about an hour outside of Los Angeles. After hoisting his camera onto a crane, Minton controlled the digital capture from a tent 40 ft. below, where he set up different vignettes with models and props within the frame of his lens. “This kind of image would have been easy to composite together with stock images,” he says. “But it seemed like such a romantic idea—much like the American Dream—to actually photograph different scenes by camera.”

Jeff Minton is a Los Angeles based photographer. See more of his work here.

MORE: Read this week’s cover story on the American Dream