this magazine features cher, aliens, and dogs in wigs
Masthead's latest issues asks Lil Miquela, Mitski, and Kesha if they believe in extraterrestrials.
Cher On: Aliens! by William Wegman
“I'm really hoping to inspire young people by showing them the magic of creating a strong, timeless image that isn't disposable,” explained Melissa Jones. Jones is the creative director of DTE Studio and the editor-in-chief of the digital magazine Masthead. Since 2017, she's released three issues of the publication, each featuring short interviews with artists, celebrities, and influencers, alongside large-format photos from photographers like Michael Avedon and Albert Watson.
For the latest issue On: Aliens!, Masthead asks everyone from Cher and Olivier Theyskens to Kesha and Lil Miquela what they think about extraterrestrials. (Don’t be surprised if you see some of the contributors raiding Area 51.) This time around Jones worked with photographer William Wegman, who employed his camera-loving dogs Flo and Topper to create some out-of-this-world images.
To learn more about Masthead, and how Jones brought together Cher, aliens, and dogs all in one issue, i-D called her up.
What made you want to start Masthead?
We wanted to start Masthead magazine because we were looking for something that would be timeless. It's something that didn't require newness all the time. I think with social media, while it's super fun, it's constantly hitting us over the head with a lot of information and very quickly. We were interested in creating something that could live online a little bit more timelessly.
How do you pick the contributors? You’ve had everyone from David Byrne to Barbie Ferreira.
We wanted to invite people from different walks of life to come together on one topic and share their thoughts and ideas. We wanted people who normally may not meet or know each other to work together, we thought that was kind of like an interesting way to connect. I just love the contrast between what different people have to say and and their backgrounds, but then at the same time there's a similarity and this thread that connects everybody and it's just really wonderful to see.
How did this issue come together?
Each issue takes quite a while to put together. Just coordinating between all of the people that we're working with. We like to think of Masthead as this giant op-ed, but rather than people just writing in their opinions as an editorial piece, we like them to contribute in a form that is creative. We add beautiful imagery, whether it's portraits of the contributors themselves along with their answers or like in collaboration with another artist like what we just did with Wegman on aliens. It was really fun, we love the idea of of you know Cher who normally might not work with Wegman being able to collaborate with him on a project through us and through our platform.
What was it like working with Flo and Topper?
The way that Mr. Wegman chose to interpret each of these answers was so individual to each person, he's just got such a fun great sense of humor. Watching him work with his dogs is just incredible. The two dogs Flo and Topper are like professional models. It's not done with training and biscuits and things like that, they are genuinely part of the process in creating an image and they love being in front of the camera. It's just fascinating and incredible to watch because they really enjoy it.
What was your inspiration for the concept?
I'm very sensitive to what's going on in the land of imagery, in the land of creative, and branding. Obviously we’re exposed to these things all the time. I've been doing it for many years so for me part of it is seeing what’s missing and what’s getting lost. I want to remind everyone what is good about the staying power of images and taking the time and making things a little more special. I also think now more than ever, so many more people are interested in images because of Instagram and because of what's happened in the change of technology—the fact that there's a camera on every single phone. I think that because now there's so much more interest in creating images, it's kind of there for everyone, so there's more possibility to inspire than ever.
What do you hope readers take away from the magazine?
I think we're trying to reach a wide group of people. I really wanted to have a positive effect. I want to inspire people to be more creative about what they're shooting and not just get that quick snap. I think there's something also to be learnt, especially from all these experienced photographers and artists that we work with and I want that to come through. Working with Albert Watson in the last issue was incredible because we'd be on set and he would take a shot and it would just be that one shot and most people nowadays hold down the shutter and edit it later. He just knew exactly how to create the shot and interestingly enough, Mr. Wegman works very similarly. He really comes from a time where film and Polaroid was the medium and so he really knows how to create an image.