as interviewed by chuukyuu (Tadahisa Nishio)
Mr.Lois: I think editorial work is very dull, normally. I think editorial work is pitiful. Either it should be inventive and flesh, or it should be very professional and very editorial. And I don't think anybody does either, really. I don't think anybody really does. 'Authentic Scientific America' which is so editorial and so easily read that you enjoy looking at it but that's a very traditional sort of thing. Traditional things I like very much. I'm not knocking that all, I think it’s marvelous. But it should be either a magazine like that or something that's really interesting and exciting and I think very few people do it.
True and false values in the state of California.
You know If the magazine like 'Esquire' can take all can get because the content is marvelous. The content is always interesting because it's well edited.
An Art director should be a man who comes in with ideas every morning, not the graphic idea but the idea for stories. And just isn't done. If 1 had another life to lead, I'd want to start a magazine.
chuukyuu: The front cover of a magazine is very important because it has to catch the eyes of people in the store. As you said, besides having a good cover, the content itself has to be much better than the cover. How far are you concerned in the content and editorial design of the 'Esquire'?
Mr.Lois: Unfortunately I don't think it's the best situation for 'Esquire' or for any magazines, for somebody to do the content inside and for another person to do the outside. I think it's almost sick. I think they would like me to do the content, but it's impossible for me because I think, as I said before, you can't do everything that's well beautifully. I just could not possibly work out a magazine the way the magazine should work out. To make the magazine work out correctly, it should be the man whose life should be thinking from Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday ... always thinking out ideas. Goof.
And I think there are art directors who try to do some and as I said, it's not very easy to do. It looks easy to do. Sonny Liston with a Santa Clause hat on, looks easy. Say, well of course that's obvious. But nothing is obvious this world to have done. It looks easy to have Ed Sullivan with a Beetle's wig on, Looks easy when you talk about. But you have to know the young people of America. Everything looks easy, that looks that's good. But it's very hard to do because it's so easy to do corny, stupid covers, and because either it's on what you talk about.
It helps to sell the magazine. It helps to make a comment about. If you do a cover correctly, it makes more of a comment than the magazine itself, is making in the editorials inside. It almost crystallizes what the magazines want to say. And in fact there have been times when I've done covers that have crystallized that point, with a change, direction inside.
I suggested ideas to them on stories. And I dare say I can suggest thousands of ideas to them but I just don't have time and I don't even want to get involved because this is the strange situation. I continue doing them because I have an allegiance to the magazine, Harold Hayes, the managing editor, and everybody likes the covers and when a cover comes out people talk about it. But it's not my life'~ work. If it were, my life's work would be to do 'a magazine the way I think the magazine should be done.
4 of the 28 who count most with the college rebels:
1. Bob Dylan because he likes a poet and sings of revolution
2. Malcolm X because he is the way it was
3. Fidel Castro because he is the epitome of the Romance of Revolution
4. John f. Kennedy because he made everybody respect youth
chuukyuu: You often use Carl Fischer for the cover picture of 'Esquire', do you have any reason to that?
Mr.Lois: Yes, I think he's the most intelligent, tasteful photographer. Besides being intelligent and tasteful, he understands, what I'm trying to do. When I explain picture to him, I explain the ad and I don't explain the picture. To a lot of photographer you explain the picture only. You don't expect them to grab the advertisement. Carl became the person you explain the ad. He understands the advertising. He's a good art director himself. And when you approach him he understands it as a whole. It's as if you went up to a man and you were talking about the details in a building. I'd rather talk to Carl than talk to a technician because he understands it all but a technician doesn't understand. He is only a worker. I'd rather talk to Carl Fischer than anybody else.
And on top of that, he's the most reliable. In other words, any photographer take a picture that they wanted quite right or somehow they miss it but he'll do it better than anybody, because they don't really understand the job as talented as they maybe.
And I keep going back to Carl, you know, using other photographers. And when it gets down to something that I think is important as most jobs are, I say, "Carl ...", and he understands me. Besides he's a great human being.
There're a lot of people in this world who are talented but bastards. I don't see why you have to deal with them, why should I?