Editor in Chief: Kristina O’Neill
Creative Director: Magnus Berger
Photo Director: Jennifer Pastore
Senior Photo Editor: Damian Prado
Assistant Photo Editor: Meghan Benson
Photo Assistant: Amanda Webster
Design Director: Pierre Tardif
Art Director: Tanya Moskowitz
Art + Production Assistant: Caroline Newton
Instagram: @wsjmag #wsjmagazine
Location projects always seem to have unique challenges. The Kenya shoot looks flawless but were there obstacles or triumphs along the way that you can share?
It’s true, location shoots are always challenging. It takes a lot to move a large crew into the middle of a 7000-acre conservancy in a remote corner of Kenya. For this particular story in our upcoming June 2016 issue, out on May 28th, photographer Mikael Jansson and stylist George Cortina brought their enthusiasm for the environment and the culture of the area with them to Kenya, which helped to smooth out any bumps along the way. It also resulted in 34 pages of fashion and landscape photographs that I think capture the romance and wildness of this dramatic location. Also, for the first time in the magazine’s history, we had two different covers. One features Anna Ewers and the other Edie Campbell. Some of my favorite photos from the story are of Edie riding a horse through a herd of zebras and Anna in the afternoon light walking through the bush.
When we last spoke in 2014 the magazine had just begun dipping into the celebrity territory. How much has that shifted since then, and is this now a regular cover theme?
We have definitely expanded our coverage of celebrities in the magazine, but we still approach our subjects (celebrity or not) with a light hand in the way that we photograph and style them. We try to capture their essence in the most natural way possible, which usually means making the shoot experience as comfortable as possible for everyone. We spend a lot of time before the shoot thinking about the creative approach that we want to take as well the interpersonal dynamic of the photography team that we assemble and how it will all work together on the day of the shoot. Hopefully this consideration leads to a feeling of ease on set that allows for moments of surprise and alchemy during the shoot.
November 2015 / Innovators Issue | Angelina Jolie Pitt | Photography by Peter Lindbergh Styling by Anastasia Barbieri
For the innovators issue with Angelina Jolie on the cover, why did the magazine choose to celebrate her?
It was a natural fit for us to honor Angelina Jolie Pitt in our November 2015 issue with an Innovator Award for so many reasons. She wears many hats – not only is she a Hollywood icon as an actress and director but she is also a notable humanitarian and has managed to blend these two worlds in a very powerful and innovative way. When it came time to photograph Angelina, Peter Lindbergh was an easy choice for us. Everyone involved with the shoot shared the same goal to create images that were both intimate and very strong. Peter had expressed a desire to photograph Angelina so when the opportunity arose, it was exciting to be able to commission him to photograph her – there was so much respect between them on set which I think comes through in the photographs.
February 2016 Issue | What’s Upon a Time in Antarctica | Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth
Jamie Hawkesworth is primarily a fashion photographer, what was it about his work that you assigned him the landscapes?
I first came across Jamie’s work after seeing his Preston Bus Station project so my first impression of him was as a portrait and landscape photographer, not so much fashion. I think Jamie’s photographic aesthetic is so distinctive, it almost doesn’t matter what he photographs. I know any images that we commission from him will be very clearly him – his palette, his printing (he prints everything by hand himself) and his voice. Knowing that, it is exciting to send him to these far-flung places such as Azerbaijan, Lagos, Kashmir and, most recently (for our February 2016 cover story), Antarctica to see what he will come back with. (Note: we have another very exciting destination coming up this fall so keep an eye out.) There is always a give and take when it comes time to edit which goes with the territory when sending a photographer off on these very special, un-boundaried projects. There is a thrill in seeing where it all lands and of course, seeing it in the magazine. We are incredibly fortunate to have the freedom to publish these types of open-ended travel stories at WSJ.
Are you working with a core group of photographers now?
We have tried to strike a balance between working with a core group of photographers in order to establish the visual point of view of the magazine and the need and desire to bring in new talent.
What are you looking to do with the photography in the next two years?
I hope to continue to nurture our existing relationships with photographers and to continue to find exciting assignments for them. At the same time, I want to push things, bring in new photographers and continually refresh my own eye so I can bring more ideas to the magazine. I work very closely with our editor-in-chief Kristina O’Neill and creative director Magnus Berger and we have a continuous brainstorming conversation going, which never ceases to inspire and motivate me.
Where are you sourcing photographers?
I look at everything: museum and gallery shows, books, magazines, blogs, social media, photo fairs – you name it. I also rely heavily on our incredible photo team Damian Prado, Meghan Benson and Amanda Webster who are out there pounding the pavement looking at work, finding new talent, pitching ideas and generally bringing their enthusiasm and passion to WSJ. Ideas can come from anyone at the magazine; all of our editors are out in the world digesting imagery and ideas so it is always welcome when someone brings something new back to the fold.
Are you on the lookout for emerging talent as well?
Absolutely, identifying and nurturing emerging talent is a one of the primary joys of this job for me.
May 2016 Issue | A Sense of Order | Photography by Zoe Ghertner Styling by Brian Molloy
March Men’s 2016 Issue | Who the &%!#@ is James Corden? | Photography by Inez & Vinoodh Styling by David Vandewal
November 2015 | Innovators Issue Karl Ove Knausgaard | Photography by Juergen Teller
November 2015 | Innovators Issue | Thomas Heatherwick | Photography by David Bailey