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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Chronic City

US Design by Rodrigo Corral, Photograph by Scott Peterman
UK design by Miriam Rosenbloom


My jaw dropped when I found out the image gracing Jonathan Lethem's forthcoming Chronic City was a real photograph, taken from the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building. Does Manhattan really look that isometric from that far up?

The New York Observer has a nice piece on the history of the image, and notes that "Mr. Peterman’s photo...was altered in the course of the design process, using 'shadowing and other special effects'.” But as far as I know, the (small) original on Peterman's site is the real deal, and not a trick of Photoshoppery. Amazing.


Buy this book from Amazon.com or from IndieBound.

PS: Check out what's on Amazon UK (but not, FWIW, on the Faber and Faber site). Whoa! Designer Miriam Rosenbloom sent in a better image: "The job is printed three colours with a fluorescent pantone orange and yellow so it is tough to get the tones right online." Thanks, Miriam!

12 comments:

Virginia Murdoch said...

The Faber version is just terrific I reckon - one of the best covers I've seen. 12 or 14 point Helvetica! On a commercial book cover! Somebody should get a medal.

Edo said...

so this is real photogpraph? cool!!! i like it>,<

Baptizedingin said...

Does this not smack heavily of The Bonfire of the Vanities reissue? Case in point:

http://rgr-static1.tangentlabs.co.uk/media/9780312427573/bonfire-of-the-vanities.jpg

Joseph said...

Wow. Yes it does.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

that second cover is just wonderful.

while I like the photo on the first cover and have nothing against it per se, I still feel as though i have seen way to many of these cityscape covers over the years...

Anonymous said...

I immediately thought of Bonfire of the Vanities, too. Yikes. I'm surprised this design went through. Someone had to have noticed the similarity between Chronic City and the Tom Wolfe cover...

Maybe they wanted it to resemble Bonfire, but this is too close for comfort. It looks like a blatant rip-off of Henry Sene Yee's earlier design...

Joseph said...

It might be unfortunate, but it's not a ripoff. I doubt very much Rodrigo Corral rips anyone off. Quite the opposite, I would suspect.

Anonymous said...

The same photo was used on the first issue of Portfolio magazine. http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/photos/stylus/80822-portfoliomag.jpg

Joseph said...

Yup. That's discussed in the Observer article.

H3NR7 said...

What Joseph?!
I didn't rip anyone off.

Joseph said...

Henry:

Certainly not what I meant. Please see this: http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2009/09/me-dont-write-too-good.html

Maarten Das said...

That Miriam Rosenbloom design just made me want to go out and get that book!