Skip navigation
Help

Sylvia Plachy

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/vhosts/sayforward.com/subdomains/recorder/httpdocs/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.
Original author: 
TIME Photo Department

Yolanda Cuomo is the curatorial voice behind some of the 20th century’s greatest photographic books. This year, alongside Melissa Harris, Cuomo is co-curating the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Va., June 13 – 15, 2013.

One word comes up again and again, like a shared mantra, when talking with Yolanda Cuomo, or when discussing Cuomo with people who know her: collaboration. Hardly surprising, perhaps, in light of the talent that, at one time or another, the 55-year-old art director and designer has worked with — including creative icons from Avedon and Sylvia Plachy to Twyla Tharp and Laurie Anderson. But one quickly gets the sense that, in Cuomo’s world, collaboration is not simply one way to approach a project; it’s the only way to approach a project.

As her longtime friend (“creative soulmate” might be a more apt description), Aperture Foundation editor-in-chief Melissa Harris, puts it: “Yolanda is simply one of the greatest people I know. She is so full of ideas, and our collaborations [on books, magazines, exhibitions] have been so fantastic because we always approach each project from an utterly fresh perspective. And we laugh,” she adds, making it clear that humor is an integral element of their long-time, enormously fruitful partnership. “We laugh a lot.”

The driving force behind the celebrated Yolanda Cuomo Studio, Yo (as all her friends and colleagues call her) has helped envision and produce some of the most striking and influential art and photography books of the past two decades, including Diane Arbus’ Revelations, Gilles Peress’ Farewell to Bosnia, Pre-Pop Warhol and scores of other titles.
(Incredibly, it was only within the last year, with New York at Night, that Cuomo got what she calls her “first spine.” She’d done 85 books through the years, she told LightBox, “but Norma Stevens and I published New York at Night in 2012 and, holy shit, there was my name on the spine!”).

A graduate of Cooper Union, Cuomo got her start in the publishing world as a junior designer at Condé Nast in the early 1980s. Under the mentorship of the legendary art director Marvin Israel, she not only was introduced to many of the people who would become part of her vast and cherished professional extended family — Plachy, Avedon, Peress, Nan Goldin and others — but also got her very first lessons, from a master, in the power of collaboration.

Yolanda Cuomo at her desk in her Chelsea studio, New York NY, February 4, 2012.

Pete Pin

Yolanda Cuomo at her desk in her new Chelsea studio in February.

“Marvin was so brilliant,” Cuomo says, “and one of the key things I learned from him — by his example, not by his making a big deal out of it — was that bringing other peoples’ voices and sensibilities to a project can make it so much stronger and more wonderful than if only one person holds sway over everything.”

The reason Cuomo got the job at Condé Nast in the first place, meanwhile, is emblematic of another type of creativity altogether.

“I lied,” she says, her mischievous laugh all these years later suggesting that she still can’t believe it herself. “When I was interviewed [for the Condé job] I told them that of course I knew how to do mechanicals. Then I went right out and immediately called a friend and was like, ‘What’s a mechanical?’”

Regardless of how she got her foot in the door, Cuomo learned the ins and outs of the art and publishing worlds from the very best. A quick study, she was eventually asked to oversee a new project by the Village Voice, and in 1985 Yolanda Cuomo was named art director of the Voice’s short-lived, tremendously creative fashion magazine, Vue. There, she and her small staff were afforded the sort of creative freedom that, for anyone working in magazines today, must seem something from another, near-mythical age.

Courtesy of the Village Voice/Yolanda Cuomo Design

Courtesy of the Village Voice/Yolanda Cuomo Design

Cover and spreads from the September 1986 issue of Vue. Photographs by Amy Arbus.

“It was total carte blanche,” Cuomo recalls. “We had to fill 32 pages that came out once a month. We sat in a room and just said to each other, ‘Okay, let’s call up people we love.’”

The names of those people they loved comprise something of a Who’s Who of talent of the era — each one of whom brought a unique sensibility to the pages of Vue. For one shoot, Sylvia Plachy photographed models posing in the trees of a New York cemetery. For another, Nan Goldin commissioned a pregnant bodybuilder friend to model lingerie in the East Village’s Russian baths. Phrases like “creative foment” seem to have been coined to describe exactly the sort of atmosphere that existed when Yolanda Cuomo was learning her chops.

The Voice shut down Vue after just a half-dozen issues, but its young staff, thrilled by what they’d accomplished together, was not ready to quit working as a team. With her assistant and two others, Cuomo found a small office space in Manhattan, and her design studio was born.

The studio’s first photo book was Unguided Tour, a collection of work by Sylvia Plachy.

“When we work together,” Plachy says of her collaborations with Cuomo, “we both have an intuitive sense about editing and designing. Yo is open to new things; she responds to things in the moment. She doesn’t force her point of view. Instead, it’s a free-flowing enjoyment of the evolution of the ideas, and moving toward something new and exciting.”

For Cuomo, inspiration can come from anywhere, from any time and from anyone. An old French book about the Eiffel Tower, for instance, discovered in a bookstore in Paris decades earlier, might influence the design of a photography book today. Closer to home, while making Paolo Pellegrin’s 2012 artist book — designed in a single, breakneck week — Cuomo found a visual muse in her assistant designer’s workspace.

“Bonnie [Briant] had a little color copy of a dog photo that she loved taped to her notebook on her desk, and I saw it and thought, ‘That is so beautiful.’”

A scan of the notebook — Scotch tape and scratches included — became the cover of the Pellegrin book. “That’s the way I like to work,” Cuomo says. “Spontaneously inventing.”

The fact that Cuomo has a full life outside of her work — a life that helps inform everything she does — speaks volumes about her ability to find balance in both the spontaneous and the thoroughly predictable. Living in Weehawken, New Jersey, Cuomo rides her bike every day from her home to the ferry, which she takes across the Hudson River to the West Side of Manhattan and her studio. At day’s end, she heads back across the river, to her “big old Victorian house,” her garden, her family — in other words, to a world that adds meaning and color to her vocation as an art director, designer and teacher.

In the end, that might be the greatest collaboration of them all: the way Yolanda Cuomo weaves family and work, leisure and labor, vision and vocation into a fully realized world of her own making.

Alissa Ambrose & Ben Cosgrove

See more of Cuomo’s work at Yolanda Cuomo Design.

Alissa Ambrose is a freelance writer and photo editor based in New York. Ben Cosgrove is the editor of LIFE.com.

0
Your rating: None

Features and Essays

Syrians in our minds…

Tomas Munita has done great work for the New York Times from over there… I can hardly imagine how difficult the conditions…

Tomas Munita: Fighting Intensifies in Syria (NYT) See also

Tomas Munita: A Day With the Arab League Monitors in Syria (NYT)

++++++++++++

Update Wednesday 8 February 2012:

Time Lightbox posted a slideshow this morning by Italian photographer Alessio Romenzi, on assignment for Time in Homs.  Rather than wait until next week, want to share the link to the work here…

Alessio Romenzi: Syria Under Siege (Lightbox)

++++++++++++

Antonio Bolfo’s NYPD: Impact on NYT Lens…Always loved this work… Saw it exhibited in Perpignan 2010…Definitely worth another look..

Antonio Bolfo: NYPD: Impact (NYT Lens)

Andrea Bruce from Kabul

Andrea Bruce: Children in Kabul (NYT)

Here’s Lauren Lancaster from Kabul too…Completely new photographer to me… See later in this post for Lancaster’s photos from GOP primary in Florida…posted on New Yorker’s Photo Booth

Lauren Lancaster: Youth in Kabul (Le Monde M Magazine)

GOP Primaries

Ricardo Cases from Florida on assignment for Time…Lightbox slideshow…

Plenty got printed in the magazine too…

Ricardo Cases: A Sunshine State of Mind for the Florida Primary (Lightbox)

Charles Ommanney: Newt Gingrich on the Florida Campaign Trail (Newsweek)

Charles Ommanney: US Presidential Campaign 2012 (Reportage by Getty Images)

Peter van Agtmael: On the Campaign Trail with Newt Gingrich (Lightbox)

Lauren Lancaster: Running in Florida (Photo Booth)

Massive Florida Primary gallery on NYT with photos by Heisler,Crowley,Yam,Litherland, Thayer, and Henry…

NYT (various photographers): The Florida Primary

To other issues… Here’s a link to Scottish photographer David Gillanders’  multimedia The Neglected…Finished sometime last year, but only discovered this last week…

David Gillanders: The Neglected : Street Children in Ukraine (Vimeo)

Pete Pin: The Cambodian Diaspora (Lightbox)

Sally Ryan: Black Jews of Chicago (zReportage)

Marvi Lacar: A ‘visual diary’ of depression (CNN photo blog)

Bruno Barbey: Istanbul (Magnum)

photo: Steve Liss

New Yorker (various photographers): American Poverty (Photo Booth)

Evgenia Arbugaeva: Siberian Memories (NYT Lens)

photo: Jason Andrew

Financial Times (Photos by Jason Andrew and Brandon Thibodeaux): Atheism in America (FT)

After reading Toni Greaves’ interview about her Radical Love series last week on BJP, I visited her website and ended taking a look also at the multimedia version of the project, which was posted on Time.com while back… Really enjoyed… Very good audio…

Toni Greaves: Radical Love: The Sisters of Summit, NJ (TIME)

Maija Tammi: Small Sizes and Great Love (Polka) multimedia

Lise Sarfati: She (Guardian)

Stephanie Sinclair: A Day with Warren Buffett (WSJ)

Denis Sinyakov: Moscow’s Migrant Workforce (Msnbc)

Veronique de Viguerie: With Libyan Arms, Mali Fighting Is Revived (NYT)

Adam Ferguson: Karen Rebels Remain Defiant (NYT) Myanmar

Brandon Thibodeaux: War Torn: An Iraq War Veteran’s Story (WSJ channel on Youtube) video

Andre Bruce: Leaving Iraq (NOOR)

Ayman Oghanna: Iraq (Polka)

Luis Carlos Barreto: Tropical Light (NYT Lens)

Lot of new features on Panos Pictures site….

Ivan Kashinsky: Guaranda Carnival (Panos)

Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky: Dance of the Devils (Panos) Gachet and Kashinsky are both represented by Panos, but they also have a common website at Runa Photos. See later in this post for their brand new iPad App…

Xavier Cervera: Revolucion o Muerte (Panos)

Stuart Freedman: The Englishman’s Eel (Panos)

Jason Larkin: Power to the People (Panos)

Sergey Maximishin: The Institute (Panos)

Dean Chapman: Fading Memories (Panos)

Mark Henley: The Vaults (The Atlantic)

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala: Tahrir, 1 Year On (Reportage by Getty Images)

Nadia Shira Cohen: Egyptians (NYT Lens)

Ed Ou: Egyptian Youth (Reportage by Getty Images)

Alessandro Gandolfi: The Catacombs of Las Vegas (Parallelo Zero)

Brenda Ann Kenneally: The Last Nights at the Western Hotel (Lightbox)

Kadir van Lohuizen: Money, God, and Criminals (NOOR)

Liu Tao: Blood, Sweat, and Tears (zReportage)

Maciek Nabrdalik: Faith : Polish Catholicism (VII)

Adrian Fisk: Dilli Purani Dilli Naye (Foto8)

Reed Young: Brownsville (Lightbox)

Phil Moore: DRC Elections (Photographer’s website)

Peter Turnley: Cuba : A Grace of Spirit (Photgrapher’s website)

Michael Carlebach: South Florida (NYT Lens)

Jean-Marie Simon: Guatemala’s War Years (NYT Lens)

Bharat Choudhary: Young Muslims (NYT Lens)

Jordi Ruiz Cirera: The Mennonites of Bolivia (Foto8)

Olga Kravets, Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko: Grozny: Nine Cities  (PDN Photo of the Day)

David Dawson: Working with Lucian Freud (Lightbox)

Michael Tsegaye: Fighting Forgotten Tropical Diseases (BBC)

Thomas Hulton: The Lam Family of Ludlow Street (NYT Lens)

Espen Rasmussen: Transit (The Atlantic)

New Yorker (photos by Sylvia Plachy and Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao): Battle of Panoramas

Andrew Burton: Best of 2011 (Photographer’s website)

iPad Apps

Gerd Ludwig’s The Long Shadow of Chernobyl

Short Stories: From Ecuador to Tierra del Fuego by Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky

Polka Magazine iPad App

Interviews

Gina #12 Oakland, CA 2009, courtesy Brancolini Grimald  by Lise Sarfati

Lise Sarfati (Telephoto)

Lise Sarfati (Guardian) related: exhibition review

Steve Pyke on reviewing over 8,000 images for the World Press Award (PicBod)

Steve Pyke from the World Press Photo Award on fifteen hour days (PicBod)

World Press Photo:  Members of the jury share their perspectives on the winners and the judging process.

Ed Kashi (Bangkok Post)

Anthony Shadid (Mother Jones)

Doug Mills (NYT Lens)

Barton Silverman (NYT Lens)

James Whitlow Delano (Asiasociety)

Harry Hardie on Lynsey Addario & Tim Hetherington’s ‘In Afghanistan’ exhibition

Ed Ou (Wired Rawfile blog)

Venetia Dearden (e-photoreview)

Kael Alford (Vimeo)

Yunghi Kim (Tiffinbox)

Leo Maguire (BJP)

Guy Martin (Ideas Tap)

JB Russell (shootlove)

Elinor Carucci (PicBod)

Brett Ziegler (NYT Lens)

Articles

++++++++++++

Update 8 Wednesday 2012:

Just as I had finished the post yesterday, we got news that Magnum photographer Sergio Larrain has passed away.

Sergio Larrain (1931-2012)

photo: Rene Burri

Here’s a Slate slideshow celebrating Larrain’s work…

LONDON—Baker Street Station, 1959.

Slate: Sergio Larrain 1931-2012

++++++++++++

PDN: Swedish Journalists Endure Inhumane Conditions in Ethiopian Jail

Slate: Can Five Great Photographers Really Collaborate? | Postcards from America: A Magnum Collaboration

Lightbox: Postcards From America: The Box Set

photo: Nick Waplington

FT: Ways of Seeing

The Sacramento Bee: To our Readers: The Sacramento Bee fired longtime photographer Bryan Patrick

UNHCR: Nansen Award winner turns her lens on the Flowers of Afghanistan

BJP: The Photographers’ Gallery will reopen its London premises on 19 May with an exhibition of Edward Burtynsky’s Oil

Phaidon: Getting to know the face behind the photograph

BJP: Crowdfunding platform Emphas.is launches publishing arm

BJP: National Media Museum is set to start work on its London-based gallery

BJP: Firecracker Grant

BJP: Photographer wins copyright infringement case

NYT Mag 6th Floor blog: The Auckland Project

PDN: US Falls To #47 On Press Freedom Index, Thanks to Occupy Crackdowns

TIME Lightbox Tumblr: Joachim Ladefoged had only 8 minutes to photograph Messi

Allen Murabayash: Why I love Photography (PhotoShelter blog)

Guardian: Featured photojournalist: Lucy Nicholson | Related on Reuters photo blog

Dallas Morning News Photo blog: Big Miracle the movie – The story behind the real photo | How a photo from an almost botched Arctic assignment inspired a Drew Barrymore film

FT: Photographer Lise Sarfati studies the lives of teenagers and young women in America

Firecracker: February 2012 newsletter

The National Press Club: Attorney details backlash against photojournalists

Verve: Sam Phelps

Verve: Anne-Stine Johnsbåten

Verve: Rafael Fabrés

LA Times Framework blog: Six Photography Game Changers

PDN: Greenfield Wins Sundance Director Prize

BJP: Keeping the tabs: The best account management applications for photographers

New Yorker: Close Inspection: Magnum Contact Sheets (Photo Booth)

Mike David: Where’s the line on toning photos, especially for contests? (Mike Davis blog)

multiMedia 

new issue…. 7.7 : Documentary Photography Digital Magazine

Exhibitions

Labyrinth Photographic Printing : ‘A Year in Development’ Exhibition’ – 17th February – 1st March 2012 : London

Behind the Scenes of Steve McCurry’s Rome exhibition (Phaidon) video

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

photo: Justin Maxon

Magnum Emergency Fund Announces 2012 Grantees (Lightbox)

Aperture 2011 Portfolio Prize Finalists

Sony World Photography Awards 2012 Shortlist Announced | on BJP

PDN Annual

FotoEvidence : Book Award

Foam Talent call 2012 now open

Getty Images relaunches creative grants programme

Gordon Parks Photo Contest Deadline July 2

Agencies and Collectives

Magnum Photos : February 2012 newsletter

NOOR newsletter February 2012

Reportage by Getty Images: Peter Dench joins Reportage

Reportage by Getty Images: Introducing John D McHugh as a featured contributor

TerraProject Newsletter

Crowd funding

UK Uncensored by Peter Dench (Emphas.is)

Faded Tulips by William Daniels (Emphas.is) featured on Telephoto

Trading to Extinction by Patrick Brown (Emphas.is) Related on NYT Lens

Workshops

Visual Storytelling in an Open Society: workshop for Egyptian photographers : Deadline for applications is Sunday FEBRUARY 12, 2012 [link to info on Lightstalkers]

2012 Noor – Nikon Masterclass : South Africa | on BJP

MediaStorm multimedia storytelling workshop in London at the Frontline Club on February 20.

Jobs

Bloomberg: Staff Photo Editor – London

Photographers

Naomi Harris has a new website…

Naomi Harris

New website also by Stuart Freedman

Ricardo Cases

Eric Thayer

Eunice Adorno

Ivan Kashinsky

Ed Ou has added a multimedia section to his website…

Ed Ou : multimedia

Adrian Fisk

Jess Ingram

Jordi Ruiz Cicera

To finish off…. ‘War Photography and Weddings’. Ahem. That really is an interesting business card via @Kiehart

0
Your rating: None

Features and Essays 

From Newsweek, or should I say Daily Beast….Russia’s far-right groups on the rise…photos by TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev…

Yuri Kozyrev: Russian Hate (Newsweek: August 2011)

John Moore: Somalia (Life.com: August 2011)

Todd Heisler’s been keeping busy…He too has been to Somalia…

Todd Heisler: Waging War in Somalia, a Country in Chaos (NYT: August 2011)

But also Norway…Do listen to his comments also…

Todd Heisler: Loss and Healing in Norway (NYT: August 2011)

More on Somalia crisis…

Sven Torfinn: Somali refugee camps in Kenya (Guardian: August 2011)

Brendan Bannon: Dadaab Refugee Camp (Boston Globe Big Picture: August 2011)

Francisco Zizola: Northern Kenya (MSNBC: August 2011) Zizola’s comments

Libya…

Francesco Giusti: In Case of Loss (TIME: July 2011) Giusti’s site

New York Times: Battle of Libya gallery

Paul Moakley: An All-Boys Roman Catholic School on Staten Island (NYT Lens: August 2011) Moakley’s site

Maureen Drennan: On a California Farm Where Marijuana  (NYT Lens: August 2011)

Irving Penn: Radical Beauty (TIME LB: August 2011)

Katie Orlinsky: Mexico’s Drug War, Feminized (NYT: August 2011)

Murray Ballard: Frozen in Time (BBC: August 2011)

Teun Voeten: Narco Estado (Magnum Emergency Fund: 2011) Juarez, Mexico

Stephanie Sinclair: Bihar State India (Phaidon blog: August 2011)

Thomas Hoepker: Views of a Vanished Country (TIME LB: August 2011)

Ernst Haas: Color Corrections (TIME LB: August 2011)

Mustafah Abdulaziz: On the Road, Embracing the Distance (NYT Lens: August 2011)

Lauren Lancaster: UAE (New Yorker: August 2011)

George Steinmetz: Picturing the American Drought (TIME LB: August 2011)

Sylvia Plachy: The Pageant Winner (NYT Mag: August 2011)

Matt Lutton: Balkanization (PDN Photo of the Day: August 2011)

Kadir van Lohuizen: Working for a Family Far Away (NOOR: August 2011)

Jocelyn Bain Hogg: Britain’s Discontent (New Yorker: August 2011)

Ed Smith: On These Isles (Photographer’s website: August 2011)

Gethyn Rees: Business on Migingo (Foto8: August 2011)

Lucy Clemence and Darren Karl-Smith: Anarchy in the UK (Purple.fr: 2011)

Maggie Steber: Madje has Dementia (AARP.org: August 2008) via @wemarijnissen

Interviews

Elliott Erwitt (NPR: August 2011)

Paolo Pellegrin (Wayne Ford Posterous: August 2011)

Martin Parr (Vignette Magazine: August 2011)

Bruce Gilden (Viceland: 2011)

Danny Lyon (northernarizonanews: February 2011)

Amanda Rivkin (NG radio: August 2011)

Jonathan Worth (Hungry Eye: August 2011)

Jussi Leinonen (NYT Lens: August 2011) Leinonen’s site

Articles 

photo: Anastasia Taylor-Lind

Guardian: The month in photography (Guardian: August 2011)

Guardian: Luc Delahaye turns war photography into an uncomfortable art (Guardian: August 2011)

Leon Neal: London Riots (Photographer’s blog: August 2011)

LA Weekly: David Strick, Celebrity Photographer, Suing L.A. Times For Publishing His Photos After he Left The Paper (LA Weekly: 2011)

The Jewish Chronicle: Ernst Haas: the Mad Men’s favourite photographer (Thejc.com: 2011)

Newsweek: Jerome Liebling: Chronicler of the Streets (Newsweek: August 2011)

Frenobee.com: Lenses shield 9/11 photogs as they capture history (Fresnobee.com: August 2011)

Thames&Hudson blog: Magnum Contact Sheets – Commissioning #2 (T&H blog: August 2011)

Poynter: AP, Google offer scholarships to digital journalism students

Seattle Times: White House Photo Of Dover Ceremony Sparks Controversy 

Guardian: Photographer Murray Ballard’s Best Shot (Guardian: August 2011)

Guardian: Photographer Adoplhus Opara’s Best Shot (Guardian: August 2011)

Amateur Photographer: Ian Berry at Berlin Wall (AP: August 2011)

Verve: Stuart Matthews (Verve: August 2011)

Verve: Eric Michael Johnson (Verve: August 2011)

The Best Street Photograph Ever  (sevensevennine.com: 2011)

photo: Kevin Carter

30 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographs From The Last 30 Years (buzzfeed.com: 2011) via @yunghi

BJP: Bringing crowdfunding to book publishing

BJP: BBC caught in Twitter copyright row 

BJP: Apple’s MacBook Air v. iPad 2: which is better for professional photographers?

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

photo: Tamas Dezso

Winners of the 2011 Daylight/CDS Photo Awards

BJP International Photography Award 

People’s Choice : Summershow 2011

multiMediaHungry Eye Magazine

Talks - ”Aesthetics have no place in photographing famine” with David Campbell & Jon Levy August 18 on OPEN-i

Collectives – MJR : Weekly Collection 94

ServicesBob Books

Books

Questions Without Answers, a 368pp book featuring 20 yrs of world history by the VII photographers, will be published by Phaidon November 1.

Independent : Seba Kurtis: Drowned review

Photographers

Maureen Drennan

Mustafah Abdulaziz

James Mollison

Tessa Bunney

Lorenzo Meloni

Richard Sandler

Jobs

MediaStorm : Operations and Social Media Manager

Magnum Photos NY is hiring a Print Sales Manager

AP photo editor position open in Cairo

The New Yorker is seeking autumn multimedia intern : email kristina_budelis@newyorker.com  or DM @dbudelis

Fast Company is looking for an intern

Red Eye is looking for a part time Events Co-ordinator based in Manchester

To finish off…

Youarenotaphotographer

and…

Stasi fashion via msnbc photoblog

0
Your rating: None