Gotta Luv Life and New York….dot com.

Bill Shapiro
Bill Shapiro of Life.com shows off his site’s dazzling photos.

Somewhere between the “oo-ing” and “ah-ing” induced by slideshows of adorable animals on Life.com, Time Inc. Development Editor Bill Shapiro made his main point: “This is a site where you can get a ton of information in two minutes.” Quick translation: the  recently launched site  caters to short attention spans through a long lens and gives the beloved and now defunct Life magazine a new, well, life.

While Shapiro showed off the website’s “modern-classic” layout, we in the audience were practically drooling waiting for him to click on the page’s sleek silver tabs.  Shapiro excitedly advanced to the next never-before-seen archival photograph of the then-almost-famous Marilyn Monroe posing in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park.  We did a little browsing on our own and found everything from throwback Oscar images of Diane Keaton’s 1978 award for “Annie Hall” to images of 1940s beach life in the USA.

By successfully  partnering with Getty Images and Google and drawing upon a deep archive of its own photographs dating back decades, Life.com  offers news, celebrity, sports, and wildlife coverage through high-end professional photography.

Getty largely takes care of the current happenings. The four-man team at Life.com  constantly digs through photo archives. They have uncovered rare images of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.; portraits of young cartoonist Walt Disney; and Adolph Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, to name  just a few.  Google scans the images so they can be put on the site for our viewing pleasure – for free!

What results is a treasure chest of jaw-dropping images ranging from Robert Capa’s war coverage of D-Day 65 years ago to the bombing of a Pakistan luxury hotel earlier this week.  “I want this site to be really exciting so that you never know what you’re gonna get next,” Shapiro said.  In this competitive internet environment, he  noted, “You have to be outrageous.  Sometimes you have to drive the truck right up to the edge.”

On a less glamorous note, New York Magazine’s Art Director Randy Minor showed us a different view of the edge: a picture of himself with red eyes and frazzled hair.  “Well-rested” is how he jokingly described himself, implying that his week was often pretty harrowing as the magazine’s art director

Minor traced his typical five-day  (56 hour, 37 minute) work schedule  filled with daily meetings with editor Adam Moss and photo editors,  the last minute scramble for new art and images, changes and more changes–all part of what he called “The emotional arc of my week.” Friday night cocktails after the magazine closed were a definite highlight.

Newe York Mag's Randy Minor and his filing system.
New York Mag’s Randy Minor and his filing system.

While Minor focuses on the print side of the magazine, his colleague Ian Adelman, Design Director  of  www.nymag.com, takes care of the website where print features like the “Look Book” and “Party Lines” get fleshed out into interactive slide shows.  Last week’s online tally was impressive: 444 blog posts,  35 e-newsletters, 600 runway looks, 3 original videos and 160 new product shots plus scores of photos from the magazine uploaded to the site.

Adelman reiterated what’s become the SPI speaker mantra:  the creative strength of online media.  “All these are things that extend what New York Magazine does,” he said, “and that’s going beyond what print can do.”

by Phil Schillaci Kropoth

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