American Society of Magazine Editors

Best Cover Contest 2010 Winners & Finalists

Cover of the Year|News & Business|Entertainment & Celebrity|Fashion & Beauty
Lifestyle|Science, Technology & Nature|Sports & Fitness|House & Home
Funniest|Most Controversial|Most Delicious|Sexiest|Best Vampire

Cover of the Year

Winner
Harper's Bazaar, December 2009 (Subscriber Edition)

People of all ages sunk their teeth into the Twilight saga. At the forefront of the vampire phenomenon were Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, who graced our December subscriber cover in a rare shot together. Harper’s Bazaar was the only monthly magazine to feature the couple on a cover. While the epic image played on the idea of courtship, it was given extra heat due to their real-life romance.

 

 

News & Business

Winner
The Atlantic, May 2010

Marc Ambinder uses the story of his own battle with obesity to comment on America’s long and losing war against fat. We wanted an image that presented obesity as a truly national epidemic, one that would plant the problem squarely at the feet of Americans. Alex Ostroy’s image of an obese Statue of Liberty highlights the national scope of the problem with a dash of wit.

 

 

Finalist
The Advocate, February 2010

Gay people are chaining themselves to the White House gates, they’re threatening to cut off funding to the Democratic Party, they’re interrupting the president’s speeches. How better to convey this in-your-face campaign than with an in-your-face (and, at the same time, beautiful) cover. When our art director, Scott McPherson, and photo director, Albert Smith, said that photographer Jill Greenberg had captured the donkey with her tongue out, they knew we had our shot.

 

 

Finalist
Foreign Policy, March/April 2010

With the United States embroiled in two foreign wars, Foreign Policy commissioned our first-ever special issue on the future of combat. And what better way to illustrate how rapidly the horizons of the future are merging with those of the present than with the iconic iPhone? Look closely at the image, dreamed up by our art director and illustrator Amy Martin, and you’ll see that each of the apps represents something that might just be possible in our new world of digital-era conflict, from “Humanwave” to “Surge” to “SitRoom.”

 

Finalist
Fortune, November 9, 2009

The best conceptual covers take a simple image, add a twist and give the reader an immediate sense of what a story is about. For the Fortune cover “Obama & Google: A Love Story,” we needed to communicate how a U.S. president and an American company have a common view of the world. Starting with a formal portrait of Barack Obama, Fortune plucked a segment from the Google logo—the uniquely shaped and boldly colored “oo”—and spent 36 hours digitally manipulating it into a pair of glasses that fit the angles of the president’s head and the lighting of the photograph. The dark background of the cover and the controlled palette of the photo, juxtaposed with the bright colors of the Google glasses, convey the idea of the feature in a playful and direct way. At the same time, the visuals give weight to the significance of the story inside. The end result is a provocative, powerful cover that conveys the increasingly close—and increasingly complicated—relationship between the president of the United States and perhaps its single most important corporation.

Finalist
The New Yorker, February 1, 2010

“First Anniversary,” by Barry Blitt, captures a specific moment in time, right before the health-care bill passed, when Obama had slipped in the polls and seemed to have lost the support of some of his most ardent followers. Like all covers, the image is a Rorschach test, in which readers project what they want to see. The president liked this image so much that he asked for a print. The artist Barry Blitt added the following caption: “For President Obama—Stay Dry!”

 

 

Finalist
TIME, April 12, 2010

In anticipation of the iPad’s launch, TIME devoted its April 12, 2010, cover to the elusive icon behind the Apple empire. Steve Jobs sat for photographer Marco Grob for a series of portraits exclusive to TIME, yielding the striking photograph that was eventually chosen for the cover. The intimacy of the photo—a tight close-up featuring Jobs in his trademark black turtleneck and rimless glasses—captures a Jobs stripped ever so slightly of his mystery.

 

 

Entertainment & Celebrity

Winner
GQ, December 2009

Each month, we do our best to put a celebrity on our cover who embodies the moment—in both culture and style. And like many magazines, those celebrities tend to be fresh-faced and on-the-rise. Every once in a while, though, as evidenced by our December 2009 Clint Eastwood cover (by photographer Martin Schoeller, who shot every portrait in the issue), we recognize men who can confidently be deemed GQ Icons. Men whose cracks, and veins, and wrinkles (those hands, that face) convince you not to glance away—but to peer closer.

 

Finalist
Esquire, March 2010

The Essentials Issue, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio photographed by Nigel Parry, comes to life as DiCaprio seems to jump off the page. Ice cubes airborne, cigar in hand, Leo poses in Esquire’s signature cover-lines treatment—words that signify everything a man needs to know.

 

 

 

Finalist
Harper's Bazaar, April 2010

In December, inspired by the artistry of Alexander McQueen’s spring 2010 collection, Harper’s Bazaar featured cover star Demi Moore, photographed by Mark Seliger, in a surreal fashion fantasy, complete with a giraffe. Glamour can be dangerous, and Moore held her own at the top of a precarious staircase, and in fearless footwear: McQueen’s “armadillo” shoes. After McQueen’s death in February, what had been an exercise in creativity became an iconic tribute to the designer. This cover, like McQueen’s imagination, was one of a kind.

 

Finalist
New York, September 21, 2009

New York magazine’s Neil Patrick Harris cover memorably illustrates the contradiction exhibited by Hollywood’s first openly gay star. Harris is able to convincingly play straight characters, but at the same time he lives openly as a gay man, walking red carpets with his boyfriend. The cover, by Art Streiber, of Harris’s applying lipstick while in otherwise manly attire, is in the best tradition of comic pictures that become iconic because they communicate a complicated thought in a single perfect image.

 

Finalist
The New York Times Magazine, October 25, 2009

Gabourey Sidibe became the surprising glamour icon of 2009, thanks to her powerful performance in the film Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. Photographer Robert Maxwell shot Sidibe and the other stars of “Precious” for a photo portfolio and profile of the film’s director, Lee Daniels, in the magazine. Maxwell’s portrait, the first cover to feature Sidibe, captures the actress’s exuberance and beauty and presents a striking contrast to her character in “Precious.”

 

Finalist
Rolling Stone, April 15, 2010

Rolling Stone’s “Glee Gone Wild” was an instant classic, a perfect fusion of Norman Rockwell, 1940s pinup art and hit television show. The concept was the brainchild of RS creative director Jodi Peckman and photographer Mark Seliger. “Glee is such an old-fashioned nod to a slide of Americana: the high school club,” Seliger said. “It mixes romantic nostalgia with a sexy naughtiness—and nothing beats that.” For Peckman, the challenge was getting every period detail exactly right: picking through dozens of skateboards to find one with clay wheels, tracking down the perfect retro-cheerleader outfit. “If one thing feels out of place,” she explains, “the whole illusion falls apart.”

Fashion & Beauty

Winner
The New Yorker, March 29, 2010

For “Homage,” the cover of The New Yorker’s Style Issue, Ana Juan featured Alexander McQueen’s signature butterfly hat in a stark array of black, white and red. In her haunting image, Juan unerringly portrays the loss suffered by the fashion world when, earlier in February, the extraordinary McQueen had tragically ended his own life.

 

 

 

Finalist
Departures, March/April 2010

For our Spring Fashion issue, we took the unconventional approach of illustrating a fashion still-life story. It was an experiment that ultimately proved successful. The idea was to have these simple, unadorned items drawn on plain, flat-colored backgrounds, revealing their stillness and beauty. The subjects ranged from a duo of Bottega Veneta scarves to an Hermes Stiletto. When we got in the final artwork, commissioned from renowned French illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme, the results were beyond what we had imagined. The items had such attitude and presence on the page. We ran one of our favorites, the Hermes stiletto, on the cover. The black and white shoe, against the vibrant yellow background, made for the perfect Spring Fashion cover. The elegant, thin typography served to further enhance this feeling. It is a bold and unique “fashion” cover that clearly stands out in the mix.

Finalist
ELLE, January 2010

The Lady-Gaga-as-the-next-Madonna comparison may be tired, but only because it’s so true. Not since Madge has a singer riled the collective conscious with such a provocative mix of fashion, music and general excess. On ELLE’s January issue, her first U.S. fashion-magazine cover, the clothes (Hussein Chalayan hat with retractable sunglasses and organza trousers), the hair and makeup (ruby lip and bombshell blonde, Marilyn style) and, of course, the pose give us Gaga the way she’s meant to be had: musician, artist, fashion rule breaker and icon, begging us to take everything she is, whether we like it or not.

 

Finalist
Harper's Bazaar, September 2009

After learning of Michael Jackson’s sudden death, with days to our deadline, Harper’s Bazaar created a special cover story to celebrate the life and style of the legend. Shot by Terry Richardson and starring model Agyness Deyn—with Deyn cheekily tilting the A in Bazaar—the cover, like the king, rocked.

 

 

 

Finalist
New York, August 24, 2009

The cover for New York’s Fall Fashion Issue is a departure from the current fashion-magazine norm—a highly posed and airbrushed celebrity—as it features a stark, candid black and white image of three models backstage at a fashion show, moments before they go down the catwalk. Photographer Marcus Bleasdale, better known for his work in conflict zones, captures an unposed moment of beauty and style that speaks to the enduring power of high fashion.

 

 

Finalist
Out, February 2010

For the cover of the February Swimsuit Issue, we wanted to reflect youth, athleticism and the intensity of male beauty, all of which were embodied by model Danny Schwartz and captured by photographer Greg Lotus. The moonscape rocks of Puerto Rico’s Playa Mar Chiquita provided a stunning backdrop, with a special quality of light, for the final image. The model’s glossy wet hair, Louis Vuitton’s pre-fall hooded top and masculine expression encompassed fashion, lifestyle and homoerotic appeal and was a simple, beautiful image to spearhead the issue.

 

Lifestyle

Winner
GQ, February 2010

Every once in a while it makes sense for us to forgo a new shoot in order to publish the perfect vintage photograph. And for the February 2010 issue, we did just that. As the lead image for our “25 Most Stylish Men in the World” feature, no picture spoke more convincingly to the GQ aesthetic of style than this one by Patrick Demarchelier of Johnny Depp. The hair in the eyes. The tattoos. The casual eccentricity and dripping confidence. The half-finished glass of wine. This is who and where we want to be. And this photo is the one we show friends who ask, “Who’s the coolest guy you know?”

 

Finalist
Departures, July/August 2009

When we set about looking for the perfect image for Departures’ July/August issue, we wanted to find a photograph that spoke less of a specific location and more to a distinct feeling. This sublime, stylish photograph by famed fashion photographer Walter Chin evokes the true spirit of summer pleasure, a relaxing afternoon with a book in a hand. The cover, which we felt was so resonant that only minimal cover lines were needed, illustrates Departures’ enduring mission—to redefine luxury as the quality of the experience rather than the cost.

 

Finalist
Guitar Aficionado, Holiday 2009

The relationship between cars and rock & roll has been flourishing since the dawn of the genre, so it seemed only appropriate for Guitar Aficionado to explore in a cover feature the symbiotic relationship of the music’s most iconic instrument, the guitar, and the vehicles that largely inspired its contours. The striking photo illustration on the cover, by the UK-based design studio MDI Digital, grafts the controls and appointments of an iconic 1958 Corvette onto the shape of an equally legendary Fender Stratocaster. The resulting image is both completely fresh and, of course, eminently recognizable.

Finalist
More, November 2009

This cover reveals a side of Diane Keaton that she’s never willingly shown to the public before. We all know her as the eccentric Annie Hall and as a celebrity with a flock of famous, fascinating lovers—but as a mother? That’s something new. It was Keaton’s idea to have her children be a part of the More story, so this was a true collaboration among the actress, the editors and the gifted photographer Ruven Afanador. The cover sets Keaton against a blackboard-black background covered with notes from her two children in their own handwriting. Keaton, who is famously shy and insistent on covering up in photos, had consented to do without her usual hat and gloves. But at the last second, just as Afandor aimed his camera, she put on her glasses and pulled her sweater up over her chin. The result is a deliciously sly Diane Keaton—and we wouldn’t want her any other way.

Finalist
New York, December 21-28, 2009

The “Reasons to Love New York” issue, an annual celebration of the many different ways we love New York’s namesake city, shows one reason on the cover—the way the city can be transformed into a romantic winter wonderland. Shot in Central Park on the day of a big snowstorm, the cover image evokes an area of quiet and stillness in the crowded city. A young woman’s coat has been hand-painted red to match a heart above the logo. She is a solitary figure amid the tall buildings in the background—all a reminder that peace and bustle in New York are in constant, glorious tension.

 

Finalist
The New York Times Magazine, April 18, 2010

The photographer James Welling created the stunning and vibrant images on each of the three covers of this split print run by shooting through his own specially made color filters. This series of covers was created for the 2010 Wellness Issue and accompanied a feature article that discussed the relationship between exercise and weight loss. Welling, who is well known for his eye-catching still lifes and landscape images, celebrated the human form by showcasing it leaping, running, tumbling, dancing and doing yoga within vivid fields of color.

Science, Technology & Nature

Winner
National Geographic, April 2010

To create a just-dunked effect for the cover of National Geographic’s April 2010 special issue, “Water: Our Thirsty World,” executive editor William Marr and staff photographer Mark Thiessen started with a shiny slab of white Formica coated with car polish. Artfully spritzed water drops beaded up and posed through many lighting experiments and photos, then the famous yellow rectangle and the cover type took their places in the image. That’s not all that happened, but the rest has something to do with magic.

 

Finalist
Columbia, October 2009

This provocative image pushed the boundaries of Columbia’s alumni magazine: It illustrates an article about biologists who discovered that H1N1 influenza derived from the intermingling of DNA from two different types of swine flu. The illustration communicates this by showing the tails of two pigs woven together to form a Double Helix. This theme is underscored by the directness of the title: “Untangling Swine Flu.” The illustration was done by Daniel Bejar, in collaboration with our art director, Eson Chan, and our senior editor, David Craig.

 

Finalist
New York, December 10, 2009

At the height of the nation’s swine-flu panic, New York chose a playful illustration with a literal vision of swine flu for the cover—an adorable piglet suffering from the flu, under a snug blanket with his snout on a down pillow. The image itself, by photographer Horacio Salinas, invited readers not to overreact to the threat, as the pig (who was a good sport during the shoot) calmly recuperates.

 

 

Finalist
The New York Times Magazine, June 14, 2009

The 2009 Architecture Issue was based on the theme of infrastructure. For the two covers of this split print run, a pair of artists was commissioned to envision the future or urban framework. IC4Design offered a highly detailed, hand-drawn rendering of a bustling city, while Thomas Doyle meticulously painted and sculptured a miniature cross-section of a city. Despite the different methods and interpretations of the theme, each vision represents the beauty and complexity of contemporary architecture.

 

Finalist
The New Yorker, November 2, 2009

Chris Ware is one of today’s most respected graphic novelists, whose work has received literary prizes and been the subject of numerous museum shows. In “Unmasked,” published for Halloween, Ware depicts worlds in collision with his trademark concision. A couple of white dots on the left are the faces of children, radiating eagerness and expectation, while dots on the right are the faces of their waiting parents, lit by the handhelds in which they are absorbed.

 

 

Finalist
Outside, November 2009

In order to capture the life-or-death feeling of being trapped under the ice for our November “Survival” issue, photographer Dan Winters had to endure an elaborate trial-and-error process to create the perfect effect—even going so far as to spray blocks of ice with liquid nitrogen to produce cracks. The result is an arresting and gripping image that perfectly sets the tone for the theme of the issue. And the person behind the ice? That’d be Winters himself. “We needed someone who looked like a rugged mountain man,” he says. “What can I say? I fit the bill.”

 

Sports & Fitness

Winner
Sports Illustrated, December 11, 2009

What is so unique about Morry Gash’s shot of Wisconsin running back John Clay is that it gives fans an immediate view of the game from Clay’s eyes as he stands behind the line of scrimmage. When the SI photo staff cropped in further on Gash’s photo, the clarity of the reflection was still amazing—no small feat for something that was just 10% of the original picture. This photo demonstrates the value of SI’s treasure trove of previously unpublished photos and the shelf life they have for later on.

 

Finalist
ESPN The Magazine, January 11, 2010

 

How to display our cover story about the “New Rules” we proposed for the sports world? We answered that call by depicting a referee literally shedding his classic black-and-white uniform to reveal bright, new updated garb. To arrive at this cover we gave six artists the most minimalist of instructions: What does “New Year, New Rules” look like? Jason Lee’s design was our winner (the five runners-up were all pictured inside the magazine) for what we believe is a cover that offers just the right balance of clarity, conviction and wit.

Finalist
Field & Stream, June 2009

A worm on a hook represents the simplest way to catch a fish, yet also stands as a cultural icon for all anglers. It is the original bait. As a cover subject, a worm is both conceptual in style and literal in message: earthy, evocative, provocative—and deadly, as there is not a fish that swims that won’t eat one. Finally, worms are inexpensive at most—and free to anyone with a shovel. Was there a better emblem for a Great Recession issue of Field & Stream that told readers how to hunt and fish on the cheap?

 

Finalist
Garden & Gun, December 2009/January 2010

Andy Anderson’s portrait of a German short-haired pointer elevates the bird dog to almost heroic stature. Shot on a black background, the dog looks downright presidential, which perfectly captures the way Southern sportsmen feel about their companions in the field. Not only did our readers want to order prints of the photograph, they wanted to order a pup sired by the dog itself. If a great cover can be judged by its emotional impact, the cover of our December/January issue was a smash hit.

 

Finalist
The New York Times Magazine, February 7, 2010

This photograph of Emily Cook, a freestyle-aerials skier on the U.S. Winter Olympics team, is taken from a portfolio of Winter Olympians that captures the freedom and exhilaration of human bodies in flight. Although the photographer, Ryan McGinley, shot Cook during a training session at the Utah Olympic Park, the image is not sports reportage but a study—and celebration—of movement. The hand-knit Rodarte sweater worn by the skier, one of a number of outfits commissioned by the magazine for the portfolio, further emphasizes the playful spirit of Cook in motion.

 

Finalist
Rolling Stone, March 18, 2010

Putting Olympian Shaun White, wild-man photographer Terry Richardson, a snowboard, some lighter fluid and a match in the same room may have produced a classic Rolling Stone cover, recalling a Jimi Hendrix image—but it almost cost the photography studio a floor, and it sent the crew running from the room as clouds of noxious black smoke filled the air. “It’s my favorite cover I’ve ever done,” Richardson said of the shot of White, fresh off his historic gold-medal run in Vancouver. “It’s just the perfect image with the fluid, the flame and White’s expression.”

 

House & Home

Winner
Coastal Living, April 2010

Coastal Living’s April 2010 cover captures the essence of our mission—an escape from everyday life and dreams of the good life by the sea. Our objective is to transport readers to a peaceful, stress-free place through excellent photography and design. This image embodies the magazine’s laid-back vibe, nothing too formal or precious. Shot by freelancer Annie Schlechter at a refurbished sugar mill on St. Croix, this clean, crisp photograph has it all—a place to rest, a cool breeze and a killer view. You just want to be there.

 

Finalist
Architectural Record, December 2009

For our design-oriented community, the December Vanguard Issue is a must-read, highlighting the best emerging architectural talent from around the world. The surreal “tree house”—actually a prototype for a hotel—designed by Tham & Videgard Arkitekter, in Stockholm, got our attention by exemplifying a design approach that champions radical simplicity to create progressive contemporary forms. The cover presents a “double take” image that makes you pause. Is it real?

 

Finalist
GreenSource, January/February 2010

We knew which green architectural project to put on the cover—the problem was selecting the definitive image. Ultimately, we decided on the surreal and awe-inspiring image you see here. The sinuous, white concrete balconies give the façade a flowing movement that is almost impossible to capture in pixels. Photographer Steven Hall recalls taking a breather in the plaza after nine consecutive hours of shooting the building. He saw the clouds approaching and, sensingit was a transient moment of perfection, snapped some shots—including this one. Ironically, the building continues to make waves, spurring a discussion of function verse beauty.

Finalist
House Beautiful, March 2010

Not everyone loves blue, but House Beautiful always has, and we devoted our entire Spring Color Issue to it. To emphasize the theme of “All About Blue,” design director Scot Schy packed a blue color-field painting with the names of 12 hues; this range is mirrored in the playful variation of the blue letters in the logo. Francesco Lagnese’s photograph captured the room’s Hollywood-style glamour, in the most unlikely of locations—Fayetteville, Arkansas.

 

 

Finalist
Martha Stewart Living, May 2010

At a time when everything on the newsstand feels predictable and formulaic, our May cover stands out like a stoplight. The paint swatches in bright hues and a bold, semiabstract design feel fresh and fun. Even without the cover lines, the composition—buffered and balanced by the four graphic throw pillows along the bottom—makes it clear that this issue is all about color: choosing it, living with it, enjoying its ebullient effects. Arranging and rearranging the myriad paint chips into an ever-brighter, livelier color cloud, our new editor-in-chief, Vanessa Holden, conceived this cover (her first) as a way to signal a clear shift in the direction of Martha Stewart Living.

Finalist
Real Simple, May 2010

Countless readers come to Real Simple for smart advice on how to clean their homes quickly and easily. But it’s a challenge to make a beguiling cover image that connects with the concept of speed cleaning. Fortunately, photographer Stephen Lewis found a way; he crafted a stunning shot that juxtaposes a spray bottle with crystalline liquid, a yellow sponge, a crisp, white dishtowel and peonies. This beautiful, unexpected image inspired legions of readers to pick up the mop and get to work.

 

Funniest

Winner
Playboy, November 2009

When Playboy’s editors learned The Simpsons was celebrating its 20th anniversary and the upcoming season would feature an episode about Marge Simpson disrobing for a modeling gig, they knew they had to honor her with a Playboy pictorial! America’s most-beloved matriarch was featured on the November 2009 cover, which was Playboy’s first cover to feature an animated character. The much-buzzed-about cover image, which was created with the help of Matt Groening and Julius Preite from The Simpsons, was a recreation of Playboy’s iconic October 1971 cover featuring Darine Stern.

 

Finalist
The Economist, January 30, 2010

In a world of rapidly advancing technology, new products don’t always make a splash. Unless, of course, you’re Steve Jobs, and your product is from Apple. This cover symbolizes the impact that Jobs and Apple have had on technology and pop culture and the way both are perceived in today’s world. The inside story, however, explores the hype that surrounded the iPad’s release and whether it was worthy of such attention.

 

 

Finalist
The New York Times Magazine, April 4, 2010

For the edition that was published on Easter Sunday, subscribers were greeted by a cheerful and vibrant photograph of two bunnies cuddling in front of a patch of daffodils. What seems like a classic image of springtime is then coupled with the curious headline “They Gay?” To accompany an article that discussed the science behind same-sex animal behavior, the fine artist and photographer Jeff Koons was commissioned to create a series of portraits of same-sex animal pairings. The article, and the images that supported it, prompted hundreds of heated responses from readers.

 

Finalist
The New Yorker, July 9, 2009

“Required Texts,” by Ivan Brunetti, is a sign of the times—adults being taught the virtues of modern technology by a child. Some of the abbreviations on the chalkboard are ones we’re familiar with—OMG, THX—but there are some that may be a bit tougher to figure out.

 

 

 

Finalist
Rolling Stone, September 17, 2009

The cover image for Rolling Stone’s TV Issue is classic Martin Schoeller, but the idea is pure Stephen Colbert. At the height of the recession, the comedian staked out a spot on the West Side Highway and transformed himself into a homeless man—one whose financial despair is trumped by his comically unshakable belief in America’s supremacy. Overseen by creative director Jodi Peckman and designed by art director Joseph Hutchinson, the cover spoke directly to the nation’s hard times—and enduring self-regard—with a light touch.

 

Finalist
Sports Illustrated, December 21, 2009

This cover is the epitome of Stephen Colbert’s full-fledged (and humorous) devotion to U.S. speedskating. Donning a skating suit and speed skates for the first time, Colbert turned his photo shoot upside down. His outrageous poses—paired with his trademark glasses and striped tie—made it difficult for photographer Michael O’Neill to shoot without doubling over in laughter. The cover was a coup for both Colbert and speed skating. When the issue hit newsstands, Colbert sent director of photography Steve Fine a hand-written note, thanking him for helping people “understand our game”—referring both to Colbert and the sport he saved.

Most Controversial

Winner
New York, September 28, 2009

New York’s Obama “HATE” cover takes Shepard Fairey’s campaign “HOPE” poster and turns it on its head to reflect the political realities of fall 2009. A collection of words used on signs at Obama protests (“imposter . . . Hitler . . . parasite-in-chief”) were hand-painted and then digitally placed onto a photograph of Obama, while the word “hate” replaces “hope” at the base of the image. The cover caused controversy for scrawling hateful words across the face of the president, and it certainly showed in stark fashion the public vitriol that emerged so loudly in some quarters in the months since Obama’s election.

Finalist
The Advocate, September 2009

New York’s Obama “HATE” cover takes Shepard Fairey’s campaign “HOPE” poster and turns it on its head to reflect the political realities of fall 2009. A collection of words used on signs at Obama protests (“imposter . . . Hitler . . . parasite-in-chief”) were hand-painted and then digitally placed onto a photograph of Obama, while the word “hate” replaces “hope” at the base of the image. The cover caused controversy for scrawling hateful words across the face of the president, and it certainly showed in stark fashion the public vitriol that emerged so loudly in some quarters in the months since Obama’s election.

 

Finalist
GQ, July 2009

In order to match Brüno’s rare blend of comic absurdity, Sacha Baron Cohen (in character as his Austrian fashionista alter ego) and photographer Mark Seliger left no stone unturned—and no clothes on. The result? GQ’s first fully nude cover. And, as anticipated, the image stirred up as much controversy as any cover in the magazine’s history. All across the country, the July issue was censored at newsstands—stuffed behind the blackout-blockers typically reserved for hardcore porn titles. Ironically, Esquire’s July issue—of supermodel Bar Rafaeli, fully nude—received no such treatment. But that’s the way it went: the naked man (no matter the blatant humor) drew the angry, anti-gay letters and the hefty stream of subscription cancellations.

Finalist
Los Angeles, June 2009

Los Angeles magazine’s June 2009 cover gave a public voice for the first time to what many if not most Angelenos were saying privately: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s first-term had been a major disappointment. The mayor had promised so much but delivered so little—in education, housing, gang control, the environment. Only one word could sum it up: Failure. It’s hard to imagine how the cover—designed by art directors Steven E. Banks and Lisa M. Lewis, with a portrait by Jill Greenberg—could have better served the interests of our readers; our declaration was perhaps the biggest reason for Mayor Villaraigosa’s decision not to run for governor a few weeks later.

Finalist
The New Yorker, December 14, 2009

In “Season’s Greeting,” artist Barry Blitt pokes fun at the controversy that erupted when our president was shown bowing again, this time to the Emperor of Japan. Drawn by the author of The New Yorker’s notorious “fist bump” cover, and reprising the same White House Oval Office, the image prompted another round of discussions and arguments about the proper and improper uses of politeness.

 

 

Finalist
Vanity Fair, February 2010

“These are undoubtedly the most revealing photos we have ever seen of Tiger Woods,” the Today show declared when he appeared on the cover of the February issue of Vanity Fair. The photo, from the archive of Annie Leibovitz, showed a shirtless, glaring Woods—a far cry from the buttoned-down, almost studious countenance the world had come to know through countless advertisements and victories on the course. The resulting buzz was deafening—with fans and foes weighing in on the image.


 

Most Delicious

Winner
Texas Monthly, August 2009

You may think that a beefy hamburger would be a natural cover subject for a magazine with a robust readership of robust Texans. But in fact, it’s anything but. You see, when it comes to your average Texan’s diet, there’s Tex-Mex, there’s barbecue, there’s chicken-fried steak—and then there’s everything else. So to glorify a foodstuff not found within that holy trinity was somewhat risky. Yet through an inviting color palette of sunshiny yellows and crisp, cool blues; inspired location-scouting and spot-on food-styling; and in-your-face photography from Randal Ford (yes, that burger is actual size and the oozing grease and green-chile relish just might dribble from the cover stock and onto your lap), we made the case to our readers that the hamburger no doubt belongs in the pantheon of classic Texas dishes. And should they have needed one more clue: Creative director T.J. Tucker ingeniously planted the Lone Star flag atop that toasted bun, once and for all signifying that the burger is as synonymous with our state as cheesy enchiladas, smoke-ringed brisket and white cream gravy.

Finalist
Atlanta, April 2010

Up until about a year ago, it was difficult to find decent pizza in Atlanta (disheartening for an Italian American from the northeast!). But as our dining editor and restaurant critic Bill Addison points out in this cover package, times are changing. So it made a lot of sense to feature Antico Pizza Napoletana (photographed by Iain Bagwell). The rustic table, the flour, the peels, all combine to evoke a certain warmth. It’s the perfect storm of affordability and fresh, authentic food. Atlanta has become a serious culinary city—even pizza is garnering attention. And who doesn’t like pizza?

 

Finalist
Bon Appétit, August 2009

Don’t you wish you could take a big, juicy bite? Still-life photographer Nigel Cox shot this gorgeous burger from just the angle you’d see it from if you were about to dig right in. The bright and colorful image embodies the spirit of an issue filled with easy, fresh and delicious summer food. The big surprise here? Beneath that smoky, garlic mayonnaise, crisp arugula leaves, charred bell peppers, grilled red onions and melty Monterey Jack lies a luscious-but-light turkey burger on a ciabatta bun. Good-for-you has never tasted or looked so unbelievably good.

 

Finalist
Edible Manhattan, July/August 2009

I (Michael Harlan Turkell) am the photo editor at Edible Manhattan and actually took this photo on my lunch break while in layout. Don’t be fooled, it’s not your ordinary plate of hot dogs; they’re historical; more specifically, they’re Gray’s Papaya’s “Recession Special” (two hot dogs and a small papaya drink). In an issue in which we put the beef frank on a pedestal in Manhattan’s past, we lacked a representative shot of the hot dog itself. So I strolled into a Gray’s Papaya, ordered the special, promptly placed them on the stark, yellow counter, took a handful of shots and then left, distributing the hot dogs to the first person willing to accept a free lunch (I actually don’t like hot dogs). Sounds simple right? The truth is, I visited all four locations in Manhattan before I got the shot. Almost a dozen dogs later, we had our cover, and I was still hungry.

Finalist
Food & Wine, January 2010

This image was shot by Con Poulos, an Australian photographer obsessed with getting the light just right—something that he achieved with the sparkling highlights on this monumental sticky bun. Backed in a muffin tin (instead of the usual pan) and covered with a sweet, salty butterscotch glaze (instead of the traditional brown-sugar kind), the heroic bun typifies Food & Wine’s always-creative approach. Food & Wine rarely puts desserts on the cover, but this mouthwatering image seemed the ideal way to introduce an issue predicting the best recipes of 2010; and indeed, that awesome sticky bun helped the issue become one of our best-selling Januaries ever.

Finalist
Saveur, August/September 2009

When it came to designing a cover for this special feature package—and in-depth, geeked-out exegesis of the great American hamburger—we knew we wanted to do something a little different. With that in mind, instead of depicting the food in a natural-looking setting, we asked photographer Michael Kraus to shoot the burger at his studio in order to achieve an almost scientific precision—without sacrificing the food’s lusty appeal. Kraus pulled it off: the burger has a monumental beauty that invites you both to appreciate the food’s separate elements (the crisp lettuce, the ripe tomato, the perfect bun) and to devour it whole.

Sexiest

Winner
Sports Illustrated, February 12, 2010

2010 was a return to the iconic, attention-grabbing SI Swimsuit covers of years past. Set amidst the simple yet breathtaking waters on the Maldives, there is nothing to clutter the focus on Brooklyn Decker’s flowing blond hair, piercing blue eyes and all-American smile. Her girl next door charm jumps right out of the photo; it’s easy to understand her leap into the pop-culture stratosphere. And for legendary photographer Walter Iooss Jr., this is old hat. 2010 marks the 11th cover shot for the man whose name has become synonymous with the Swimsuit franchise.

 

Finalist
Entertainment Weekly, June 26-July 3, 2009

What’s sexier than a heartbreakingly handsome movie star baring his killer abs on a magazine cover? A heartbreakingly handsome movie star baring his killer abs on a magazine cover—while wearing water wings and a snorkel. Looks are great, but humor is what elevates simple sex appeal to sexiness. The idea behind Entertainment Weekly’s Summer Must List issue was to have Martin Schoeller photograph the breakout star of The Proposal, Ryan Reynolds for a “summer and fun” concept: when the day came around, though, says photo editor Michele Romero, the weather was more “rainy and sad.” So, Romero, Schoeller and Reynolds packed up the beach balls and re-created summer indoors. The visual presentation reinvigorated the stale “hot celebs for a hot season” summer motif and gleefully indulged and subverted the concept, capturing the actor’s self-effacing comic appeal. The result? Summer, fun and—as you can see—sexiness.

Finalist
GQ, November 2009

When the sexiest woman (January Jones) from the sexiest show on television (Mad Men) is hooked up with a photographer (Terry Richardson) who’s crafted a career out of making sexy women look their sexiest, this is what you get. In November 2009, at the height of her show’s popularity, fans had still yet to fully differentiate Jones from her TV character, Betty Draper. But once this cover—and the rumors that certain parts of the image had been digitally enhanced (they weren’t)—went viral, Jones began to emerge fully not just as a relic of the 1960s but as January, the blonde bombshell of late 2009, her first true moment.

Finalist
Harper's Bazaar, January 2010

Last year, Kate Hudson had the idea of shooting “high-glamour looks in everyday locations.” The end result is the January Harper’s Bazaar cover. Photographed by Peter Lindbergh on the street in a plunging Pucci minidress, Hudson proves the sexiest thing to wear is a smile.

 

 

 

Finalist
New York, February 22-March 1, 2010

New York’s readers loved the cover featuring Christina Hendricks (office queen Joan Holloway on Mad Men), and they were quick to praise the choice of the curvy actress as an alternative to the waifs who are the usual magazine cover girls. While no back story is necessary to appreciate an image of a beautiful woman in sexy lingerie, it is worth noting that the cover draws inspiration from the Renaissance painting by Botticelli “The Birth of Venus.” Like Venus in the painting, Hendricks holds her long hair at her waist (extensions carried by hand from New York to Los Angeles for the shoot); she is a contemporary vision of voluptuousness.

Finalist
Vanity Fair, November 2009

Penelope Cruz is an obvious choice for sexiest—and her November VF cover doesn’t require much of an explanation as to why. She posed in tight (unzipped) Dolce and Gabbana for the incomparable photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott against a fiery-red backdrop, giving an over-the-shoulder glance.
 

 

 

 

Best Vampire

Winner
Harper's Bazaar, December 2009 (Subscriber Edition)

People of all ages sunk their teeth into the Twilight saga. At the forefront of the vampire phenomenon were Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, who graced our December subscriber cover in a rare shot together. Harper’s Bazaar was the only monthly magazine to feature the couple on a cover. While the epic image played on the idea of courtship, it was given extra heat due to their real-life romance.

 

 

Finalist
Details, March 2010

Details wanted to, in the words of photographer Norman Jean Roy, transform Pattinson from “teen-idol vampire boy into a more adult version of himself.” To achieve that, creative director Rockwell Harwood decided to rent a gothic mansion outside of Los Angeles, hire several female models who were willing to spend an entire day naked and dress a 23-year-old British heartthrob in high-end designer clothing. The result is a portrait of a man-child who is well on his way to being more than just another bloody valentine.

 

Finalist
Entertainment Weekly, November 20, 2009

If the subject is vampires, the story is Team Twilight. Ahead of every other bloodthirsty publication on the phenomenon, Entertainment Weekly once again set the pace on the next beat in the saga with this cover for Twilight sequel New Moon. Photography director Lisa Berman says photographer Ben Watts and the trio of stars (Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson) eluded the paparazzi by doing the shoot in Vancouver. Another obstacle? Bella’s hair. Stewart had her luscious locks clipped into rocker chic for her role as Joan Jett in The Runaways. Solution? Tuck her tightly between her hunky costars, which seemed just fine with Stewart. “It’s a trip to sit back and look at the sexual objectification of these dudes.” Ciao, Bella!

Finalist
Martha Stewart Halloween, October 2009

Martha and her readers are passionate about holiday entertaining. This Halloween Special was packed with ideas for spooky celebrations—from “shock-tails” and “horror d’oeuvres” to devilishly delightful décor to clever costumes. Martha as Ghostly Equestrienne (for “Dastardly Disguises of Days Gone By,” which included step-by-step how-to’s for creating eerie Edwardian characters) was inspired by Martha’s love of horses and developed by her crafts team. Photographer Diego Uchitel shot the haunting cover image of Martha and her horse Rutger at Martha’s stables in Bedford, New York. Cover lines were simple, so as not to compete with the image, and the Gotchic typeface echoes the macabre feeling.

Finalist
People, November 2009

The biggest day of the year for vampires is usually Halloween, but last fall it was held on November 20, 2009—the debut of New Moon, the second in a series of films based on the Twilight novels by Stephanie Meyer. The Twilight series and its stars became an instant cultural and media phenomenon, with readers and movie-goers picking sides for Team Edward or Team Jacob. For the fans that couldn’t wait, People created a special must-read newsstand-only collector’s issue featuring New Moon and stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. It is filled with exclusive on-set photos, interviews with the cast and a preview of all the suspenseful and steamy scenes in Twilight’s next chapter. On sale a few weeks before New Moon hit theaters nationwide, the content included walk-up coverage of the premiere and inside scoop only People could provide.

Finalist
Vanity Fair, December 2009

Who better to photograph a brooding young Robert Pattinson than Bruce Weber? In a year overrun by vampires—and covers of magazines depicting vampires or the people who play them—Pattinson’s Vanity Fair cover is truly otherworldly. More than 400,000 buyers at the newsstand agreed, and couldn’t resist their cinematic Edward Cullen, rumpled and moody, wearing a simple white T-shirt and pea coat, lying in bed.