This Shane McDermott shot from White Pocket, at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Northern Arizona, is part of the Blue Album in Our Favorite Color. See the rest of this stunning portfolio in our December issue, on newsstands now.
Barbara Glynn Denney, creative director
Other than on our masthead, you don’t see Barbara Glynn Denney’s name very often in Arizona Highways. But even though her work doesn’t have a byline, it’s everywhere. As Highways’ creative director, Denney is responsible for the way the magazine looks. And since ours is a magazine that relies heavily on visuals, her work is evident on every page.
Denney’s latest masterpiece, our December 2013 issue, is on newsstands now. December is our annual “all-photography” issue, and this year’s edition is organized into “albums” of photographs sorted by their dominant color. The focus on photography allowed Denney to be even more creative than usual; we spoke with her about the process of creating Our Favorite Color.
Tell us about the process for putting together the December issue.
After Robert [Stieve] decided we were going to do a “color” issue, we still didn’t know what colors the “albums” were going to be. We did a stock call to photographers, asking for images that had one dominant color. When we got them all in, we had to group them into colors. On some of them, we had to make a decision. For example, if it’s a field of yellow flowers with a sprig of lupine, does that go into yellow or purple?
Describe the process of narrowing the images down. Were there more photographs you would have liked to include? Or was there another color “album” that could have been included if we’d had more space?
We actually had about 12 color categories. Brown was a big one because of the mountains in Arizona, but some of those photos ended up in the Orange Album. We also had a lot of predominantly black photos. We just had to choose the most colorful photos, which was why some of the other colors were left out.
From start to finish, how long did it take to design the issue? What sorts of challenges did you encounter?
The White Album was a challenge, because none of the white photos was really white. They all had a tinge of another color on them. The other challenge was finding a variety of textures and camera angles within each color, and finding the right mix of landscape and macro photographs. Once we edited the photos, it was fairly easy to lay out — probably eight hours or so. It was a challenge creating the “album” treatment that Robert wanted, because we had to lay it out in a way that the reader could tell what each photograph was. So adding the color bar on each photo, and making it consistent, was a challenge.
Around the office, we often joke about your preference for photos, rather than words. Is the all-photography issue a dream project for you?
Yes, it was a dream project, but I don’t dislike words; I’ve been painted with the wrong brush [laughs]. But it was great. I really enjoyed it, and I’m very proud of it. I think it’s a really nice issue.— Noah Austin
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