Editor-in-chief Michael Weinzettl sheds some light on the spectacular cover of Lürzer's Archive Vol. 1-2016.
Vol. 1-2016 of Lürzer’s Archive, our first issue in the year, will be published in a couple of weeks and of course we had to decide on a cover for it a while ago. Now, if you follow this blog at all you will have discovered that we usually try to get you involved in selecting an image (always taken from one of the campaigns featured inside of that particular issue). After all, our readership consists almost exclusively of advertising creatives, art directors, copywriters and photographers/illustrators working in advertising, so no one could be a better judge of what should go on the front of the magazine.
This time around, however, we did no such thing. There was an image that, from the moment we laid eyes on, struck us as so iconic that we immediately decided to use it for the cover. It is taken from a campaign for Equinox, a chain of luxury gyms, whose advertising campaigns over the years have been featured in Archive many times. They always excel through provocative imagery that are executed by the best photographers around. And they seem to create controvery every time around. Back in 2008, the Catholic Church in the US was apparently up in arms about an ad photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, in which some nuns were sketching a very attractive naked man. (The campaign from Fallon, Minneapolis was featured in Vol. 2-2008 of Archive.)
As of last year Equinox moved their account to Wieden + Kennedy, New York, who came up with another beautiful campaign, this one with the headline: “Equinox made me do it.” Again, they employed a top-notch photographer - in this case Rankin - to visualize the concept that being a member of an Equinox fitness club did not only improve your physique but also did loads for your self-confidence in general. (Featured in Vol. 2-15.)
So it was no big surprise to me that this year’s campaign would again stand out in terms of excellence and brilliant photography. The theme this time around is to "Commit to something” and, again, the concept goes well beyond workout "commitment," referring not just to going to the gym but to life in general.
Fashion photographer Steven Klein, perhaps best known for his work for Madonna and Lady Gaga, shot the seven new ads over three days in Los Angeles. According to Equinox, commitment is viewed in socially relevant areas like activism, sexuality, lifestyle choices and women's rights.
I’m pretty taken by all of the ads in the campaign. The one we settled on is arguably the most iconic of them. In it a young mother is seen unapologetically breastfeeding her twins in public – which is apparently considered a thing in the US. Interesting too: the model is 31-year old Lydia Hearst, great-granddaughter of Californian publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst (of “Citizen Kane” fame) and daughter of Patty Hearst, whose mysterious kidnapping and “brainwashing” by the “Symbionese Liberation Army” back in the mid-70s kept those of us around at the time at the edge of our seats.
Quite unmistakably, the original source for this visual idea is French painter Jean Fouquet’s portrait of “Virgin and Child” (1450). It is thought that Fouquet’s Madonna is actually an idealized portrait of Agnès Sorel, the first ever “official” mistress of a French king, Charles VII. The shrewd lady who came to a grim end - she died of mercury poisoning – and upon whom the king had bestowed the title of “Dame de beauté” apparently created a craze at court for ladies to go topless.