The Daily Edit – Wednesday
11.30.11

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Men’s Health

Creative Director: Robert Festino
Associate Art Director: Dena Verdesca

Director of Photography: Brenda Millis
Deputy Director of Photography: Jeanne Graves

Photographer: Don Flood

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted.

Heidi Volpe

There Are 29 Comments On This Article.

  1. Hmmm… a sexualized woman illustrating a story about (men’s) jealousy? Really? The words crazy in love together with the photo of the woman suggests it’s the woman who’s crazy. But it looks like the article is actually about men’s jealousy? And then a picture of a woman looking just a touch come hither on all fours? Haven’t read the article but I think they could have done a lot better. I think we’ve seen enough crap about women inviting men’s violence, don’t you? Men’s health my ass.

    • Yeah, they should have picked something else to shoot. Maybe a shiny Harley, or the neighbors nice green manicured lawn. Or maybe that dude at the gym with those nice biceps, I’m so jealous of his biceps. Then there’s that guy at the office who always wears nice shoes. Yeah, they should have taken a picture of that guys shoes. I really wish I had those shoes.

  2. Yuck, I agree with Kate. How hard is it to shoot a beautiful woman crawling around on hands and knees with barely any clothes on? Typical same ol’ same old crap.

  3. I disagree, the text ‘crazy’ is clearly positioned by a closeup shot of a man’s eye. Nothing says voyeurism like an extreme closeup of an eye.

    regarding the woman on all 4’s.. speaking as a man, I like to see that.
    It’s Men’s Health magazine, not Woman’s Health, and not Teen Beat.

  4. Interesting… I didn’t read the eye as belonging to a man at all. I thought it was a close-up of the woman’s eye. On second look, I guess the eyebrows are decidedly unplucked – something that’s probably never seen on a woman in any magazine, men’s or women’s.

    So men like to see women on all fours. Fine. But what does it say when a photograph of a sexually inviting woman illustrates an article about (men’s) jealousy? It says that women invite it. This is problematic for many reasons. I can go into more detail if you need me to connect the dots.

    • Donnor Party

      No matter the school of thought, women are a driving motivation for men, including jealousy, violence, love, affection, you name it. It is biological. It’s not the fault of women, its just a fact. Cherche la femme and and all that.

  5. Mmmm. Let’s see, Kate could “lighten up” or you could “enlighten up.” I choose the latter. The images are not only destructive, they are cliché. One should avoid both, don’tcha think?

      • Kate and Sue are right. To shield the model from the oppressive gaze of the patriarchy, she should be wearing a Snuggie — perhaps two — and ideally would be at least partially obscured by shrubbery.

  6. A Photo Editor, thank you very much. I will be using your responses as a classic study in sexist response. Wait I get it, a men’s magazine is supposed to be filled voyeur, belittled, sex crazed, and naked women. Why put coherent text at all, just fill with place holder text and be done with it. Your sensibility as a man offends me. Do you think your responses were logical and coherent? Do you think you defended your point? I do not think so. As for Chris and Bob, bravo. I suppose you are threatened by intelligent, confident women who can hold an argument and are not in a submissive position. I sure hope that I am not classified as a man as you guys.

    • You don’t get it. If you worked at a men’s magazines or even worked as a photographer shooting women for men’s magazines you’d realize that Don Flood, Brenda Millis and the others did a fantastic job here. Given the genre and the shit that’s published on a regular basis it’s quite tame and a nice image as well. And that’s why Heidi picked it today.

      But, I should have allowed free debate on the subject and not gotten so defensive about the industry I work in. The sanctimonious commentary from people on the sidelines irks me but there are important topics that are worth discussing.

  7. Nice layout! Those who think it is offensive, get your name on the Victoria’s Secret mailing list, you can really fly off the handle. I think the make up job is killer, very natural looking. I’m not sure about the icons above her shoulder though… She’s got less skin exposed that Kim Kardashian does during an episode of her show.
    An per my ex-fashion model wife, doing any layout is a lot of work.

  8. I think it is a great, sexy shot – Don proves he is solid shooter once again. Given the magazine and its reader I guess it fulfils the requirements of ‘hot woman for guys’ but I too found it odd for a piece on jealousy – maybe because I never had a GF that looked like that and got down on all fours like that for me (but that’s the role of media right? to play the grantor of wishes!) Without reading the piece I don’t think one can say it provokes violence in relationships – Is that even mentioned? Jealousy is a natural emotion that we all have – and for the most part we all dont beat the shit out of our loved ones over it (not to downplay the serious nature of abuse). Face it media plays a huge role in how we react in society – I think that is what Kate is getting at – so why not take a risk with imagery and do something less predictable.
    Sales. I get it. Sales. Another larger convo for another day. But WOW, this went from zero to overheated like that. Record time Rob? And Reza, are you serious? Just because a guy likes to look at a sexy woman they automatically are threatened by intelligent women & confident women? Are you suggesting a woman can’t be both? That’s a fine line you are walking.

  9. The goal of a photo illustration is to enhance and support the article to which it’s attached. A scantily-clad woman in a sexually suggestive position has nothing to do with a discussion about how men can respond to infidelity. In that respect, this photo shoot is a failure.

    • Hi Art324,

      How would you have illustrated this article?

      I find it interesting. It’s a story about male jealousy, yet it features a callout about “How to talk to a jealous woman.” If you think about it, a man’s eye will first jump to the scantily clad woman in the photos. Then, he’ll read about his woman being jealous. Some men may feel guilty for looking at that woman when reminded that *their* woman may get jealous over such a gesture.

      The fact that a woman picked the photos only enforces the idea that there’s more at play here than gratuitous sensuality.

      • Firstly, you’re putting too much stock in the notion that a female on the creative team automatically insulates this layout from being considered sexist.

        Secondly, if the enlarged eye in the background had been paired with a photo of a sexy woman who was dressed to reflect the text in the lead paragraph (slinky dresses, high heels, bare arms) there would be no objection. The model’s submissive sexual pose is unwarranted. The creative team seems to have not read the article, and instead opted for an eye catching, overly sexualized illustration. Your bait-and-switch rationalization is insulting to the author of the piece and the magazine’s readership.

        Thirdly, I disagree with your reference down-thread that Kate is hijacking the thread. The discussion may not have gone the way you intended, but she is not the only person interested in this topic.

        • Hi Art324,

          I think you’re confusing me. I didn’t make any further comments except this and my previous one.

          I’m not denying that the illustrations could have been handled better. I was just playing Devil’s advocate and trying to imagine what they were thinking when they shot it like that.

          I’m not sure I see the pose as being neither submissive nor sexual (sensual at most). Would you care to elaborate on that?

        • The AD and 2 PE’s involved in this shoot plus the author of this column are all women. I had nothing to do with it. I told Kate to lighten up.

          This column is not about the banal practice of picking images to match something specifically mentioned in a story. It’s about well executed photography and design.

          I’ve spent 4 years doing this, so I know when something is about to go off the rails and that’s when I intervene.

          Finally, criticizing the piece without picking up the magazine is pretty stupid.

  10. In Rob’s defense, I don’t think this is is really the place for the ‘sexist pig’ conversation. Take a good look at Maxim magazine one day, and this one will seem tame in comparison.

    I do think the layout is way more fantastic than the images. Don’s great, solid shooter, etc., but I think this one shows off the art direction & design more than the photography. First time for The Daily Edit – I love these posts, keep up the good work – but this one is a designer-pleaser.

    • I want to clarify that my initial comment didn’t target any individual as a sexist pig – not the photographer or Rob. My comment was about systemic sexism and opportunities to subvert it.

      It was Rob’s own comments (e.g., “lighten up” and “self-righteous”) and others’ that began the sexist pig conversation. I also want to clarify that my issue isn’t with using sex in any photography or magazine context – it was really about the topic of the article and this particular image and what it says. It doesn’t bother me that Victoria’s Secret and Maxim have “sexier” images. This isn’t about prudishness.

      As for his pseudo-apology or retraction or whatever it was, how interesting that it was presented to the first sympathetic man who commented and managed to keep the critical women as “on the sidelines” and “sanctamonious.”

      Not working in magazines myself, I’m actually interested in hearing how this work is better than the usual stuff in this genre. That could have been a better response than insulting the people who dared to speak up.

      • you left several comments immediately which is a common pattern for people who are trying to hijack the thread. I was simply doing what I always do which is to try keep the discussion about professional photography and the business of taking pictures. What you’ve painstakingly read into my actions is incorrect (sideline/sanctimony comment was aimed at Reza… for example).

  11. Wow. All that said, I had to check this out.

    I am always surprised when a story about emotions: love, jealousy, all real things that real people feel and experience, are illustrated with a hot chick on all fours!

    ” Oh…I have a great idea on how to address this story, ya ready? Sit down and think this over: We’ll have this model, a hot one, and get her to pose on her hands and knees! Run it past your editors and then we can discuss moving forward!”

    Great photography, great design, the production looked killer… kudos to all. But this dialogue is good as well.

  12. I think the gentleman above said it best when he said he found it amusing that a team could sit around and think that an article on jealousy must equate to a woman on all fours. Ingenious!

    When I look at this spread I see a team who decided to pander to the most obvious aspect of a man’s intellect:

    Put.woman.in.lingerie.make.man.forget.why.he.read.story.in.first.place.

    It really doesn’t matter if the team consisted of mainly women. Their thinking wasn’t particularly inventive on this, it just gets the job done and makes the men reading the magazine happy. In short, it sells to that audience. I guess for that they get a bravo for moving copies, but sorry, not for originality.

    In terms of how APE responded to some of the comments here. Seriously? I think when this segment started we were all confused about what we were supposed to take from it. Most of the time there was no write up to give yours or Heidi’s thoughts on what we were being shown. I assume naturally it has progressed to people feeling free to comment on the spreads – which I would assume is what you want. So, I find your reaction a little strange. Just because a comment doesn’t jive with your thinking, there is no reason to assume anyone is trying to ‘hijack’ your discussion.

    Unfortunately, you came off as chauvinistic and old fashioned – even if you’re not.