It’s that time of the year again – when every news source, blog, and Jack Nicholson-type OCD co-worker (we all have one) takes stock of the year and posts a “Best Of” list consolidating and ranking whatever their favorite hobby might be. The New Year seems to turn every person into an Ebert or a Roeper. This year is no exception, and as we gain momentum towards the end of the year (end of the world?) the lists are beginning to pop-up like whack-a-moles.
Here is a good one by Designers & Books — although this falls outside of the magazine target of this blog – its still pretty enough to post here. A few notables are the Torre David book which includes the photography of Iwan Baan (whom I previously posted about here), alongside the ever entertaining Abstract City by the New York Times visual-blogger Christoph Niemann, and a book called Hippopposites which I’ve never actually had a chance to page through, but whose cover (look at those Hippos!) I distinctly remember walking past many times in Rome last Christmas. I hope that it is still there this Christmas (leaving for Rome in a little over a week! yay) or else I’ll bathe myself in guilt for not getting it last year…
Perhaps the most iconic photo to emerge post-Sandy is this cover of New York Magazine – shot by architecture photographer Iwan Baan (whom I actually just met a few weeks ago at a Halloween Party hosted by Storefront for Art and Architecture). Following the storm, Manhattan was left divided in two, that is “SOPO” and “NOPO” (“South of Power” and “North of Power”) for almost a week.
“What was on your mind when you took this picture?” Iwan replied, “As I looked at the glowing Goldman Sachs tower and the bright buildings surrounding this financial icon—I saw who has the power and how problematic that is for this country.”
I think that the conclusion that Iwan reaches is forced. The fact is that Goldman Sachs was crazily prepared for the storm, while others brushed off the severity of impending Sandy (_cough NYU Hospital _cough). In an interview with the CEO of Goldman Sachs he states their borderline OCD preparation for the storm, and frustration following criticisms of Goldman Sachs after the storm.
All in all the cover is gorgeous and bound to be remembered down that line as an iconic image – but it is also important to remember that “iconic” can cause vast over-simplifications of complex circumstances.