OLD Media Moves

Inaugural Portfolio cover photo reappears as book cover

August 26, 2009

Leon Neyfakh of The New York Observer writes about how the photo that graced the cover of the first issue of the now-closed Conde Nast Portfolio magazine two years ago is coming back as the cover of Jonathan Lethem’s novel “Chronic City.”

Neyfakh writes, “The eye-catching photo, taken from the 86th-floor observation deck of the Empire State Building by Scott Peterman, shows a city that is churning and gleaming ominously. Every light in every office window appears to be on, as if every building in the frame is coursing with electricity. Mr. Peterman said the photo, titled Surge, was conceived specifically for the Portfolio cover as an homage to a similar shot taken during the Great Depression from the exact same spot on the observation deck, by Berenice Abbott.

The obvious question: Is it a bad omen that Mr. Lethem’s new novel dons artwork that was commissioned for the inaugural issue of a magazine that imploded after just two years?

“Nah, says Doubleday director of publicity Alison Rich. ‘We’ve heard nothing but excitement and enthusiasm for this book among booksellers and critics,’ she said in an email, ‘and we’re tremendously excited for its publication in October.'”

Read more here.

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