[“Life: Dead & Alive”, "Time", October 19, 1936.] ]
The magazine was a success and soon attracted the industry’s leading contributors. Among the most important was Charles Dana Gibson. Three years after the magazine was founded, the Massachusetts native sold "Life" his first contribution for $4: a dog outside his kennel howling at the moon. Encouraged by a publisher who was also an artist, Gibson was joined in "Life’s" early days by such well-known illustrators as Palmer Cox (creator of the Brownie), A. B. Frost, Oliver Herford, and E. W. Kemble. "Life" attracted an impressive literary roster too: John Kendrick Bangs, James Whitcomb Riley, and Brander Matthews all wrote for the magazine at the turn of the Century.
However, "Life" also had its dark side. Mitchell was sometimes accused of outright anti-Semitism. When the magazine blamed the theatrical team of Klaw & Erlanger for Chicago’s grisly Iroquois Theater Fire in 1903, a national uproar ensued. "Life"’s drama critic, the rascal James Stetson Metcalfe, was barred from the 47 Manhattan theatres controlled by the so-called Theatrical Syndicate. His magazine hit back with terrible cartoons of grotesque Jews with enormous noses.
"Life" became a place that discovered new talent; this was particularly true among illustrators. In 1908 Robert Ripley published his first cartoon in "Life", 20 years before his "Believe It or Not!" fame. Norman Rockwell’s first cover for "Life", "Tain’t You", was published May 10, 1917. Rockwell's paintings were featured on "Life"’s cover 28 times between 1917 and 1924. Rea Irvin, the first art director of "The New Yorker" and creator of Eustace Tilley, got his start drawing covers for "Life".
Just as pictures would later become "Life’s" most compelling feature, Charles Dana Gibson dreamed up its most celebrated figure. His creation, the Gibson Girl, was a tall, regal beauty. After her early "Life" appearances in the 1890s, the Gibson Girl became the nation’s feminine ideal. The Gibson Girl was a publishing sensation and earned a place in fashion history.
This version of "Life" took sides in politics and international affairs, and published fiery pro-American editorials. Mitchell and Gibson were incensed when Germany attacked Belgium; in 1914 they undertook a campaign to push America into the war. Mitchell’s seven years spent at Paris art schools made him partial to the French; there wasn’t a shred of unbiased coverage of the war. Gibson drew the Kaiser as a bloody madman, insulting Uncle Sam, sneering at crippled soldiers, and even shooting Red Cross nurses. Mitchell lived just long enough to see "Life’s" crusade result in the U. S. declaration of war in 1917.
Following Mitchell’s death in 1918, Gibson bought the magazine for $1 million. But the world was a different place for Gibson’s publication. It was not the Gay Nineties where family-style humor prevailed and the chaste Gibson Girls wore floor-length dresses. World War I had spurred changing tastes among the magazine-reading public. "Life"’s brand of fun, clean, cultivated, humor began to pale before the new variety: crude, sexy, and cynical. "Life" struggled to compete on newsstands with such risqué rivals.
Despite such all-star talents on staff, "Life" had passed its prime, and was sliding toward financial ruin. "The New Yorker", debuting in February 1925, copied many of the features and styles of "Life"; it even raided its editorial and art departments. Another blow to "Life"’s circulation came from raunchy humor periodicals such as "Ballyhoo" and "Hooey", which ran what can be termed outhouse gags. "Esquire" joined "Life"’s competitors in 1933. A little more than three years after purchasing "Life", Gibson quit and turned the decaying property over to Publisher Clair Maxwell and Treasurer Henry Richter. Gibson retired to Maine to paint and lost active interest in the magazine, which he left deeply in the red.
"Life" had 250,000 readers in 1920. But as the Jazz Age rolled into the Great Depression, the magazine lost money and subscribers. By the time Maxwell and Editor George Eggleston took over, "Life" had switched from publishing weekly to monthly. The two men went to work revamping its editorial style to meet the times, and in the process it did win new readers. "Life" struggled to make a profit in the 1930s when Henry Luce pursued purchasing it.
Announcing the death of "Life," Maxwell declared: “We cannot claim, like Mr. Gene Tunney, that we resigned our championship undefeated in our prime. But at least we hope to retire gracefully from a world still friendly.”
For "Life"’s final issue in its original format, 80 year-old Edward Sandford Martin was recalled from editorial retirement to compose its obituary. He wrote, “That Life should be passing into the hands of new owners and directors is of the liveliest interest to the sole survivor of the little group that saw it born in January 1883. ... As for me, I wish it all good fortune; grace, mercy and peace and usefulness to a distracted world that does not know which way to turn nor what will happen to it next. A wonderful time for a new voice to make a noise that needs to be heard!”
The photojournalism magazine
In 1936 publisher Henry Luce paid $92,000 to the owners of "Life" magazine because he sought the name for Time Inc. Wanting only the old "Life"’s name in the sale, Time Inc. sold "Life"’s subscription list, features, and goodwill to "Judge". Convinced that pictures could tell a story instead of just illustrating text, Luce launched "Life" on November 23, 1936. The third magazine published by Luce, after "Time" in 1923 and "Fortune" in 1930, "Life" gave birth to the photo magazine in the U.S., giving as much space and importance to pictures as to words. The first issue of "Life", which sold for 10 cents (the equivalent of USD$1.48 in 2007 [http://www.aier.org/research/col.php, Cost of Living Calculator] ) featured five pages of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s pictures.
When the first issue of "Life" magazine appeared on the newsstands, the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression and the world was headed toward war. Adolf Hitler was firmly in power in Germany. In Spain, Gen. Francisco Franco’s rebel army was at the gates of Madrid; German Luftwaffe pilots and bomber crews, calling themselves the Condor Legion, were honing their skills as Franco’s air arm. Italy’s Benito Mussolini annexed Ethiopia. Luce ignored tense world affairs when the new "Life" was unveiled: the first issue depicted the Fort Peck Dam in Montana photographed by Margaret Bourke-White.
The format of "Life" in 1936 was an instant classic: the text was condensed into captions for fifty pages of pictures. The magazine was printed on heavily coated paper that cost readers only a dime. The magazine’s circulation skyrocketed beyond the company’s predictions, going from 380,000 copies of the first issue to more than one million a week four months later. [“Pictorial to Sleep”, "Time," March 8, 1937.] It spawned many imitators, such as "Look", which folded in 1971.
"Life" got its own building at 19 West 31st Street, a Beaux-Arts architecture jewel built in 1894 and considered of "outstanding significance" by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission. Later it moved editorial offices to 9 Rockefeller Plaza.
Luce pulled a stringer for "Time," Edward K. Thompson, to become assistant picture editor in 1937. From 1949–1961 he was the managing editor and editor in chief, until his retirement in 1970. His influence was significant during the magazine’s heyday - roughly from 1936 until the mid-1960s. Thompson was known for the free rein he gave his editors, particularly a “trio of formidable and colorful women: Sally Kirkland, fashion editor; Mary Letherbee, movie editor; and Mary Hamman, modern living editor.” [Dora Jane Hamblin, "That Was the "Life" (W.W. Norton & Company, 1977), p.161.] The magazine became archly conservative, and attacked organized labor and trade unions. In August 1942, writing of labor unrest, "Life" concluded: “The morale situation is perhaps the worst in the U.S. …It is time for the rest of the country to sit up and take notice. For Detroit can either blow up Hitler or it can blow up the U.S.” Detroit’s Mayor Edward J. Jeffries was outraged: “I’ll match Detroit’s patriotism against any other city’s in the country. The whole story in "Life" is scurrilous. …I’d just call it a yellow magazine and let it go at that.” [Mansfield (Ohio) "News Journal," August 17, 1942.] Martin R. Bradley, a U.S. Collector of Customs, was ordered to tear out of the August 17 issue five pages containing an article captioned “Detroit is Dynamite” before permitting copies of the magazine to cross the international border to Canada.
When the U.S. entered the war in 1941, so did "Life". By 1944 not all of "Time" and "Life"’s forty war correspondents were men; six were newswomen: Mary Welsh Hemingway, Margaret Bourke-White, Lael Tucker, Peggy Durdin, Shelley Smith Mydans, Annalee Jacoby and Jacqueline Saix, an Englishwoman whose name is usually omitted (she and Welsh are the only women listed in Time's publisher's letter, May 8, 1944, as being part of the magazine's team) reported on the war for the company.
"Life" was pro-American and backed the war effort each week. In July 1942, "Life" launched its first art contest for soldiers and drew more than 1,500 entries, submitted by all ranks. Judges sorted out the best and awarded $1,000 in prizes. "Life" picked sixteen for reproduction in the magazine. Washington’s National Gallery agreed to put 117 on exhibition that summer. The magazine employed the distinguished war photographer Robert Capa. A veteran of "Collier's" magazine, Capa was the sole photographer among the first wave of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. A notorious controversy at the "Life" photography darkroom ensued after a mishap ruined dozens of Capa’s photos that were taken during the beach landing; the magazine claimed in its captions that the photos were fuzzy because Capa’s hands were shaking. He denied it; he later poked fun at "Life" by titling his memoir "Slightly Out of Focus". In 1954, Capa was killed while working for the magazine while covering the First Indochina War after stepping on a landmine.
Each week during World War II the magazine brought the war home to Americans; it had photographers in all theaters of war, from the Pacific to Europe. The magazine was so iconic that it was imitated in enemy propaganda using contrasting images of "Life" and "Death". [http://www.psywar.org/apddetailsdb.php?detail=NZAI-145-10-44-F Life and Death propaganda.]
In May 1950 the council of ministers in Cairo banned "Life" from Egypt, forever. All issues on sale were confiscated. No reason was given, but Egyptian officials expressed indignation over the April 10, 1950, story about King Farouk of Egypt, entitled the “Problem King of Egypt.” The government considered it insulting to the country.
"Life" in the 1950s earned a measure of respect by commissioning work from top authors. After "Life"’s publication in 1952 of Ernest Hemingway’s "The Old Man and the Sea", the magazine contracted with the author for a 4,000-word piece on bullfighting. Hemingway sent the editors a 10,000-word article, following his last visit to Spain in 1959 to cover a series of contests between two top matadors. The article was republished in 1985 as the novella "The Dangerous Summer". [Michael Palin “Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure”, PBS, 1999.]
In February 1953, just a few weeks after leaving office, President Harry S. Truman announced that "Life" magazine would handle all rights to his memoirs. Truman said it was his belief that by 1954 he would be able to speak more fully on subjects pertaining to the role his administration played in world affairs. Truman observed that "Life" editors had presented other memoirs with great dignity; he added that "Life" also made the best offer.
Dorothy Dandridge was the first African American woman to appear on the cover of the magazine in November 1954.
"Life's" motto became, "To see Life; see the world." In the post-war years it published some of the most memorable images of events in the United States and the world. It also produced many popular science serials such as "The World We Live In" and "The Epic of Man" in the early 1950s. The magazine continued to showcase the work of notable illustrators, including Alton S. Tobey, whose many contributions included the cover for a 1958 series of articles on the history of the Russian Revolution.
The magazine was losing readers as the 1950s drew to a close. In May 1959 it announced plans to reduce its regular newsstand price to 19 cents a copy from 25 cents. With the increase in television sales and viewership, interest in news magazines was waning. "Life" would need to reinvent itself.
The Sixties and the end of an era
In the 1960s the magazine was filled with color photos of movie stars, President John F. Kennedy and his family, the war in Vietnam, and the moon landing. Typical of the magazine’s editorial focus was a long 1964 feature on actress Elizabeth Taylor and her relationship to actor Richard Burton. Reporter Richard Meryman Jr. traveled with Taylor to New York, California, and Paris. "Life" ran a 6,000-word first-person article on the screen star. “I’m not a ‘sex queen’ or a ‘sex symbol,’ “ Taylor said. “I don’t think I want to be one. Sex symbol kind of suggests bathrooms in hotels or something. I do know I’m a movie star and I like being a woman, and I think sex is absolutely gorgeous. But as far as a sex goddess, I don’t worry myself that way... Richard is a very sexy man. He’s got that sort of jungle essence that one can sense... When we look at each other, it’s like our eyes have fingers and they grab ahold... I think I ended up being the scarlet woman because of my rather puritanical up bringing and beliefs. I couldn’t just have a romance. It had to be a marriage.” [“Our Eyes Have Fingers”, "Time," December 25, 1964.]
In the 1960s, the magazine’s photographs featured those by Gordon Parks. “The camera is my weapon against the things I dislike about the universe and how I show the beautiful things about the universe,” Parks recalled in 2000. “I didn’t care about Life magazine. I cared about the people,” he said. ["The Rocky Mountain News," November 29, 2000, page 1.]
In March 1967 "Life" won the 1967 National Magazine Award, chosen by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The prestigious award paid tribute to the stunning photos coming out of the war in Southeast Asia, such as Henri Huet’s riveting series of a wounded medic that were published in January 1966. Increasingly, the photos that "Life" was printing of the war in Vietnam were searing images of death and loss.
However, despite the accolades the magazine continued to win, and publishing American’s mission to the moon in 1969, circulation was lagging. It was announced in January 1971 that "Life" would reduce its circulation from 8.5 million to 7 million in an effort to offset shrinking advertising revenues. Exactly one year later, "Life" cut its circulation from 7 million to 5.5 million beginning with the January 14, 1972, issue, publisher Gary Valk announced. "Life" was reportedly not losing money, but its costs were rising faster than its profits.
Industry figures showed some 96 percent of its circulation went to mail subscribers and only 4 percent to newsstands. Valk was at the helm as publisher when hundreds lost their jobs. The end came when the weekly "Life" magazine shut down on December 8, 1972.
From 1972 to 1978, Time Inc. published ten "Life Special Reports" on such themes as “The Spirit of Israel”, “Remarkable American Women” and “The Year in Pictures”. With a minimum of promotion, those issues sold between 500,000 and 1 million copies at cover prices of up to $2.
As a monthly, 1978-2000
In 1978, "Life" reemerged as a monthly, and with this resurrection came a new, modified logo. Although still the familiar red rectangle with the white type, the new version was larger, and the lettering was closer together and the box surrounding it was smaller. (This "new" larger logo would be used on every issue until July 1993.)
"Life" continued for the next 22 years as a moderately successful general interest news features magazine. In 1986, it decided to mark its 50th anniversary under the Time Inc. umbrella with a special issue showing every "Life" cover starting from 1936, which of course included the issues that were published during the six-year hiatus in the 1970s. The circulation in this era hovered around the 1.5 million-circulation mark. The cover price in 1986 was $2.25. The publisher at the time was Charles Whittingham; the editor was Philip Kunhardt. "Life" also got to go back to war in 1991, and it did so just like in the 1940s. Four issues of this weekly "Life in Time of War" were published during the first Gulf War.
Hard times came to the magazine once again, and in February 1993 "Life" announced the magazine would be printed on smaller pages starting with its July issue. This issue would also mark the return of the original "Life" logo.
Also at this time, "Life" slashed advertising prices 35 percent in a bid to make the monthly publication more appealing to advertisers. The magazine reduced its circulation guarantee for advertisers by 12 percent in July 1993 to 1.5 million copies from the current 1.7 million. The publishers in this era were Nora McAniff and Edward McCarrick; Daniel Okrent was the editor. "Life" for the first time was the same trim size as its longtime Time Inc. sister publication, "Fortune".
The magazine was back in the national consciousness upon the death in August 1995 of Alfred Eisenstaedt, the "Life" photographer whose pictures constitute some of the most enduring images of the 20th century. Eisenstaedt’s photographs of the famous and infamous — Hitler and Mussolini, Marilyn Monroe, Ernest Hemingway, the Kennedys, Sophia Loren — won him worldwide renown and 87 "Life" covers.
In 1999 the magazine was suffering financially, but still made news by compiling lists to round out the 20th Century. "Life" editors ranked its [http://www.life.com/Life/millennium/events/01.html 100 Most Important Events of the Millennium] . This list has been criticized for being overly focused on Western achievements. The Chinese, for example, had invented type four centuries before Gutenberg, but with thousands of ideograms, found its use impractical. "Life" also published a list of the [http://www.life.com/Life/millennium/people/01.html 100 Most Important People of the Millennium] . This list, too, was criticized for focusing on the West. Also, Thomas Edison's number one ranking was challenged since there were others whose inventions (the combustion engine, the automobile, electricity-making machines, for example), which had greater impact than Edison's. The top 100 most important people list was further criticized for mixing world-famous names, such as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Louis Pasteur, and Leonardo da Vinci, with numerous Americans largely unknown outside of the United States (18 Americans compared to 13 Italians and French, 12 English).
It appeared that the money-losing magazine was just hanging on to make it into the 21st Century, and it did, but barely. In March 2000, Time Inc. announced it would cease regular publication of "Life" with the May issue. “It’s a sad day for us here,” Don Logan, chairman and chief executive of Time Inc., told CNNfn.com. “It was still in the black,” he said, noting that "Life" was increasingly spending more to maintain its monthly circulation level of approximately 1.5 million. “Life was a general interest magazine and since its reincarnation, it had always struggled to find its identity, to find its position in the marketplace,” Logan said. [ [http://money.cnn.com/2000/03/17/bizbuzz/life/ “Time Inc. to cease publication of Life magazine”, CNNMoney.com, March 17, 2000.] ]
For "Life" subscribers, remaining subscriptions were honored with other Time Inc. magazines, such as "Time". And in January 2001, these subscribers received a special, "Life"-sized format of "The Year in Pictures" edition of "Time" magazine, which was in reality a "Life" issue disguised under a "Time" logo on the front. (Newsstand copies of this edition were actually published under the "Life" imprint.)
While citing poor advertising sales and a rough climate for selling magazine subscriptions, Time Inc. executives said a key reason for closing the title in 2000 was to divert resources to the company’s other magazine launches that year, such as "Real Simple". Later that year, its parent company, Time Warner, struck a deal with the Tribune Company for Times Mirror magazines that included "Golf, Ski, Skiing, Field & Stream", and "Yachting". "Life" was not around when AOL and Time Warner announced their $183 billion merger, the largest corporate merger in history, which was finalized in January 2001. [ [http://www.cjr.org/_deprecate/timewarner-timeline.asp#2000 Columbia Journalism Review] ]
"Life" was absent from the U.S. market for only a few months, when it began publishing special newsstand "megazine" issues on topics such as 9/11 and the Holy Land in 2001. These issues, which were printed on thicker paper, were more like softcover books than magazines.
As a newspaper supplement, 2004-2007
Beginning in October 2004, it was revived for a second time. "Life" resumed weekly publication as a free supplement to U.S. newspapers. "Life" went into competition for the first time with the two industry heavyweights, "Parade" and "USA Weekend". At its launch, it was distributed with more than 60 newspapers with a combined circulation of approximately 12 million. Among the newspapers to carry "Life": the "Washington Post", "New York Daily News", "Los Angeles Times", "Chicago Tribune", "Denver Post", and "St. Louis Post-Dispatch". Time Inc. made deals with several major newspaper publishers to carry the "Life" supplement, including Knight Ridder and the McClatchy Company.
This version of "Life" retained its trademark logo, but sported a new cover motto, “America’s Weekend Magazine.” It measured 9½ x 11½ inches and was printed on glossy paper in full-color. On September 15, 2006, "Life" was just 20 pages. The editorial content contained one full-page photo, of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and one three-page, seven-photo essay, of Kaiju Big Battel.
This era of "Life" lasted less than three years. On March 26, 2007, Time Inc. announced that it would fold the magazine as of April 20, 2007, although it would keep the Web site.
In popular culture
* “There are events which arouse such simple and obvious emotions that an AP cable or a photograph in "Life" magazine are enough and poetic comment is impossible,” -- W. H. Auden, "Poets at Work", Harcourt, Brace, 1948.
* In 1937, "Life" commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a house for a typical middle-income family. In 1993 the magazine revived the idea, launching a series of affordable houses designed by major American architects. Sixty years after the original design, Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy returned to "Life" magazine when John Rattenbury of Wright's Taliesin and protégé of Mr. Wright, designed the "1997 Dream House". Hugh Newell Jacobsen designed the “1998 Life Dream House”.
* In the 1954 motion picture "Rear Window", the protagonist, portrayed by James Stewart, is a "Life" magazine photographer.
* In 1955, one year after his death, the Overseas Press Club created the Robert Capa Gold Medal. It is given annually to the photographer who provides the "best published photographic reporting from abroad, requiring exceptional courage and enterprise". "Life" contributors have won seven times, the last being Larry Burrows posthumously in 1971. Like Capa, Burrows also died while working for "Life", in a helicopter crash in Vietnam with his friend and fellow "Life" photographer Henri Huet. It was Huet who had won the same award in 1967 for "Life." [ [http://www.opcofamerica.org/opc_awards/archive/byaward/award_capa.php Overseas Press Club Robert Capa Gold Medal] ]
*In June 2004 it was revealed that former U.S. Army paratrooper Kelso Horne Sr.’s deathbed wish was for his ashes to be spread on the beach of Normandy, France. Horne was made world famous when "Life" featured his picture on its cover on August 14, 1944, two months after he jumped with 13,000 other men into northern France on D-Day. The 82nd Airborne Division soldier became a symbol of the American fighting man. When he died sixty years later, his ashes were taken to France. ["Atlanta Journal-Constitution", June 6, 2004, page MS1.]
*On "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", an oversized picture of the "Life" magazine cover featuring Woody Allen can be seen on the office wall of executive producer and head writer Matthew Albie (portrayed by Matthew Perry).
*Assorted covers and clippings from "Life" magazine decorate the Life Cafe in Manhattan's East Village, as portrayed in the film version of the musical "Rent".
*LIFE Magazine appears in the 2000 film "Pollock," in which the magazine's August 8th, 1949 article on famed artist Jackson Pollock is portrayed as a crucial moment in the painter's career.
Well-known contributors since 1936 have included:
* Larry Burrows (photojournalist)
* Margaret Bourke-White (photojournalist)
* Robert Capa (photojournalist)
* Brad Darrach (film critic)
* Wheeler Winston Dixon (film critic)
* Alfred Eisenstaedt (photojournalist)
* Clay Felker (sportswriter, founder of "New York Magazine)
* Bob Gomel (photojournalist)
* Allan Grant (photojournalist)
* Dirck Halstead (photojournalist)
* Mary Hamman (modern living editor)
* Henri Huet (photojournalist)
* Sally Kirkland (fashion editor)
* Will Lang Jr. (Bureau Head / Chief Regional Bureau Director)
* Mary Leatherbee (movie editor)
* Henry Luce (publisher, editor-in-chief, 1936-1964)
* Hansel Mieth (photojournalist)
* Lee Miller (photojournalist)
* Gjon Mili (photojournalist)
* Gordon Parks (photojournalist)
* Art Shay (photojournalist)
* George Silk (photojournalist)
* W. Eugene Smith (photojournalist)
* Edward Steichen (portrait photographer)
* Karina Taira (fashion photographer)
* Edward K. Thompson (managing editor 1949–1961; editor in chief 1961–1970)
* Thomas Thompson (novelist)
* John Vachon (photojournalist)
* James Watters (film critic)
* Tony Zappone (photojournalist, Europe edition)
* [http://www.Life.com/Life/ "Life" official website]
* [http://www.lemonde.fr/web/portfolio/0,12-0@2-3246,31-901445,0.html Le magazine "Life", la chronique de l'Amérique]
Источник: Life (magazine)