Picture (im)perfect

Yes, that is a crockpot next to my computer.

July 19, 2012

Pacific magazine looks for authenticity in storytelling and imagery.

Share this

You’ve likely heard the hubbub lately around altered images on the covers of popular magazines.

Even if you try, as I really do, to avoid celebrity gossip, it’s hard to escape. A few months ago, there was some controversy around an image of singer Adele on the cover of Vogue, and just this week, Marie Claire reportedly put Kate Middleton’s head on a model’s body for the cover of its South African edition.

Don’t worry: This is not leading to any sort of announcement about a celebrity model on the front of your next issue of Pacific magazine.

But we, too, have conversations around authenticity, in reporting and in imagery.

The fall issue of Pacific will be themed around food and how it connects to our Pacific story—to our service work, our lifestyles, our heritage and our entertainment. And that means you can expect to see photos of food on the cover.

But that’s not always an easy feat. Oftentimes when you see food in photos, it’s not real. It’s synthetic filler designed to look appetizing, even if it’s completely inedible. (When was the last time you saw a fast food hamburger that looked anything like the ones they show on TV ads?)

We’re not taking that route.

We want our cover to illustrate the role that food plays in community, in bringing people together for conversation and camaraderie.

So, this afternoon, a small group of alumni, students, staff and faculty will gather on campus for a potluck picnic and photo shoot.

Of course, this is somewhat staged. It’s unlikely that this specific group would randomly have convened at this time for an outdoor meal. These things do take some planning.

But the people will be getting together around a meal. They will talk, they will laugh. They will actually eat real, homemade food: The raspberries are from my grandparents’ garden, the chicken curry was made from a student’s family recipe, the bread was baked from scratch last night and the vegetarian chili is simmering on the corner of my desk right now, taunting me and my colleagues.

It’s possible that the table won’t look quite as perfect as one staged with plastic food and professional models. But it will be welcoming, and it will be real—the way I think you would want a picnic, or your alumni magazine, or your Univeristy experience.