Originally Posted by ****
The first issue of Joe’s, the brainchild of the stylist Joe McKenna, was published in 1992, and the second in 1998. They have stood the test of time because, unlike the barrage of new magazines that have followed, Joe’s paid little attention to celebrities, and even less to advertiser demands. At the height of the supermodel era, McKenna gave his first cover to the most divine woman of all time — the Virgin Mary, who was depicted looking upward and serenely exhaling a cloud of smoke, presumably from a heavenly roll-up. What publication today would include in its debut a feature on the early-’70s model Wallis Franken (wearing, in one instance, only a couple of strategically placed Band-Aids), a tribute to the actor Dirk Bogarde, a lengthy piece on Tennessee Williams and a conversation with the painter Paul Cadmus?
Only a few thousand copies of each issue were printed, and they rapidly became collectible — on the Internet, a well-thumbed number can currently fetch more than $200. Not bad, considering that McKenna essentially produced the magazine on a whim. “All the photographers I knew wanted to have a space where they would have no restrictions," [...]
For a fashion publication, Joe’s paid very little attention to clothes, and sometimes none at all. In Issue 1, Bruce Weber’s shoot of Keith and Derrick Brewer — one of the most controversial of Weber’s career — shows the nude, adolescent blond twins interacting in a way that suggests their special bond transcends fraternal empathy. In Issue 2, a beauty portfolio by Mario Sorrenti opens with a shot of the fashion editor Grace Coddington’s unruly ginger mane, followed by a roster of fair-skinned redheads au naturel. (The model Maggie Rizer gamely sports what is possibly the most severe sunburn ever captured on film.) There is practically no retouching throughout: even an unruly pimple on a David Sims close-up of a young boy’s face is not excised.
“We didn’t fool around with the images much,” says the art director Sam Shahid, who designed the layouts for Joe’s. “This magazine didn’t have to worry about what anyone thought, so we could focus on the quality of the pictures rather than what was shown in them.