100 Years of TIME Magazine Through Some of its Iconic Cover Photos
TIME Magazine is turning 100 years old on March 3, 2023, and to celebrate, the publication is looking back on some of its most iconic covers which have frequently featured awe-inspiring photography.
As part of the year-long celebration of its centennial, TIME has released a new multi-platform editorial project that both commemorates TIME’s red border and looks toward the next century. The world-renowned publication has featured artists and photographers on the cover of its monthly issue, many of which have become truly iconic images of their, no pun intended, time.
TIME’s Creative Director D.W. Pine has written a detailed essay that covers 100 of his favorite TIME covers (one for each year), the esteemed publication has provided PetaPixel with what it picked as the most important photos from that collection — one from each decade — below.
“What I love about TIME is its authority to cover any topic: from health to sports; climate to technology; business to culture; world leaders to society to the President. And that same variety holds true in how the cover is approached visually,” Pine writes.
Pine has personally designed over 800 TIME covers over his 25 years with the publication and is as a result intimately familiar with the brand’s visual history.
“Since the lithographic charcoal portrait and hand-drawn line work of the first cover in 1923, nearly every medium has been used to create a TIME cover. The first three decades were dominated by lithographs, gouache, charcoal, black and white portrait photography, and watercolors.”
Not every cover PetaPixel chose here is a photo, since photos weren’t always found in Pine’s selections for covers from that decade. Those that aren’t strictly photos were chosen for their impact and photographic style. Those that are true photos are some of the most visually arresting imagery of their period. Of the covers featured here, it is unlikely that many are unfamiliar.
“The 1950s and 60s featured a little more experimentation: collages, wax sculptures, bold typography, pencil sketches, acrylics, casein, infographics, wood sculptures, felt-tip markers, nickel-coated plaster, tempera, pastels, papier-mâché, cut paper, metal, clay, oil painting, bronze casting, crayon, and landscape photography were the primary forms,” Pine continues.
“The 1970s, 1980s and 90s brought with it silk-screen printing, marble, slate, photo collage, political cartoons, news photography, and color portraiture.”
TIME has featured some incredible names in the world of photography, including James Nachtwey, Herb Ritts, Neil Liefer, Richard Avedon, Diana Walker, and Harry Benson.
“Given the cluttered media landscape, where millions and millions of images are thrown at us every day and gone in an instant, I’m always pleasantly surprised how TIME covers can often break through,” Pine says.
“And as TIME moves forward, hopefully the importance of focus and creativity inside its red border remains an essential canvas to frame the story of the next 100 years.”
TIME’s full multi-platform editorial project can be enjoyed starting on TIME.com.
Image credits: TIME