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The best photographs don’t always make the best covers. It takes a smart concept, a meticulously executed image, smoothly integrated typography and the combination of all those factors to create an immediate and lasting impact. Our top ten photographic covers of 2012 show exquisite use of photography.

The most notable is New York Magazine’s magnificent cover by photographer Iwan Baan of a half blacked-out Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy. It’s instantly iconic and will become one of the greatest covers of all time. In the mix is also W‘s stunning fashion cover image of Marion Cotillard, ESPN‘s high-concept “Fantasy Football” cover, depicting an NFL player in a magical forest with a unicorn, and a photojournalistic cover, the Economist’s powerful image documenting the personal toll of the conflict in Gaza.

We also decided to include two covers in the mix that were striking photo-based illustrations. An aged Obama on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek as well as a thoughtful commission by the New York Times Magazine for the visual artist Idris Kahn to reinterpret an iconic landmark on their London-themed cover.

A great cover is always a collaborative effort. To caption each of our selected covers, we spoke to a mix of editors, photo directors, art directors and photographers who took part during different stages of the creative process. In our selection, we refrained from choosing any TIME covers, though if we were to choose one, it would be Martin Schoeller’s arresting image of a mother breast-feeding her 4-year-old son, “Are You Mom Enough?”

Kira Pollack, Director of Photography

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Sometimes very little needs to be said about the work we post; images can truly speak a thousand words. With this in mind, allow me to merely act as the waiter serving up a chef’s Michelin Star of photography. Steve McCurry’s Blue City photographic series was taken on the edge of the Thar Desert, India, in a place that was once the capital of a princely state – the mystical Jodhpur. Delve into this magical world and these stunning images. We cannot recommend visiting Steve’s website enough – incredible barely does justice to his vast gallery of images!

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Presentation of Photojournalism Behind the Scenes, an auto-critical photo essay showing the paradoxes of conflict-image production and considering the role of the photographer in the events.

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Photo: Veronica Sanchis Bencomo : BA Photojournalism, Swansea Metropolitan University

multiMedia - Source Magazine Graduate Photography 2010 online : Work from this years’ UK and Ireland photography degree graduates.

ArticlesDennis Hopper, 74, Hollywood Rebel, Dies / slideshow (NYT: May 2010) | slideshow in TIME

Interviews - Dennis Hopper (A Photo Student)

Grants - Ian Parry Scholarship : deadline 2 July 2010

Articles - BBC: Reunited with the Vietnamese ‘girl in the picture’ (BBC: May 2010) Kim Phuc, the girl in one of the unforgettable images of the Vietnam War, has been reunited for a BBC radio programme with Christopher Wain, the ITN correspondent who helped save her life 38 years ago.

Features and Essays – Munem Wasif: One year on from Cyclone Aila (BBC: May 2010) Bangladesh

Agencies - VII Newsletter May 2010

Talks - Aaron Huey (Ted Talks YouTube channel: 2010)

Exhibtions - Exposed: voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera at the Tate Modern: in pictures (Telegraph: May 2010)

Features and Essays – Tina Tyrell: Tony Express (VF: May 2010) This year’s contenders for Broadway’s biggest prize include accomplished veterans, bright-eyed newbies, and a smattering of Hollywood superstars (Jude! Catherine! Frasier!). surveys the scenery-chewers.

Photographers - Tina Tyrell : website

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