Monday, January 05, 2009

Bodies: BIG IDEAS // small books

by Susie Orbach
BIG IDEAS // small books A Picador Paperback Original

• A 2010 Communication Arts Photography Annual 51 Winner

Photograph by Jon Shireman
Throughout the Western world, people have come to believe that general dissatisfaction can be relieved by some change in their bodies. Here Susie Orbach explains the origins of this condition, and examines its implications for all of us.

Instead of using our bodies to change and remake the outside world, we spend our energy and time changing and remaking our bodies in the search for something else.

In my brain storming phone discussions with the photographer Jon Shireman, we were trying to define what this book was about. After several fruitless conversations, the word "Erase" came up. I immediately saw a body getting erase. Maybe a photograph of a person. But we decided a pencil drawing of a form would work best in the Big Ideas series look. I was more interested in the action. To also bring across the concept that we reform ourselves, using a drawing allowed us to use the leftover eraser bits to reform it back into the new body's shape.

This is an alternate image that I liked very much and wanted to use, right until the final mechanical stage. But in the end, I thought it suggested cloning or creating another body more than remaking yourself. I kept seeing Athena leaping out of Zeus' head fully grown:

Mary Cregan wrote a small piece about the cover in her Book Covers Blog, The Financial Times.

Susie Orbach on The Colbert Report:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Susie Orbach
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest


Jason Gabbert said...

Oh no! Oh man! This is awesome! Can you just go ahead and put my name in the design credit.

Ben Pieratt said...

This series looks to easily be one of my all-time favorites. Absolutely wonderful work on this.

H3NR7 said...

Thanks Jason. I'll try to remember to add you to the credits on future reprints.

Thanks Ben. Your new site An Archive of Book Cover Designs and Designers looks great. I added a link to you.
Are you no longer at FWIS?

The Film Diva said...

I've been a fan of your work for a long time. Nice to see a blog! Keep it up. Provocative, thoughtful, playful, like little word puzzles. It's wonderful see how you put them together. Like watching the behind-the-scenes footage on movie dvds.

Christopher Tobias said...

Love both the concept and the execution. Can almost smell the rubber of the eraser bits.

freddygirl said...

oh but this is just terrific! not just the visual but also such beautiful typograpy.

craftivore said...

Oh wow, brilliant!

Andrew W said...

Ha, I had recently tried something similar for a blog header design--writing out the name of the blog in pencil and then erasing/rewriting/erasing and leaving the eraser bits and faded text. You succeeded where I failed, namely getting the eraser bits to somehow look tidy. Very nice work.