The TIME cover is one of the most influential pieces of real estate in journalism. TIME’s classic red border has the power to instantly make an image iconic.
Since joining TIME as director of photography in 2010, I have been responsible for commissioning more than 250 TIME covers. My job as the photo director is to establish the optimal image and tone, select the photographer to capture it, art-direct the shoot, and edit the resulting photos down to two or three options. From there, the top editors and I pick the final image.
The most memorable covers are the ones that are the least complicated, but those can often be the most difficult to produce. During my tenure, we have shot cover portraits of four U.S. presidents and former presidents, as well as countless heads of state, Olympic athletes, Nobel laureates, Oscar-winning actors, and leaders in technology and business. Our covers aren’t always portraits, of course; we also commission high-impact photojournalism and eye-catching photo illustration to capture breaking news and feature stories within the cover’s frame.