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The cover is the face of the magazine, often the deciding factor on whether it gets opened on not. Not using the cover to ask a central question that is answered by the content inside is a lost opportunity.

The torso of a young girl holding a small goat by some twine.
Power of the animal

This was not a photo I chose. The photographer pushed it under my nose, and it turned out to be one of the most enduring and enjoyable covers I have designed. I still don’t know what pleases me. It may have something to do with juxtaposition of the title The Power of the Animal with two kids, or because so much of the centre of the frame is empty and “story” lines the sides.

Women framed by a doorway face obscured by fabric

Reporting on a project helping former sex workers in Bangladesh develop job skills and meaningful employment presented numerous challenges, not the least was never revealing a participant’s face in any of the photographs.

A figure walks away from us on a dusty road
South Sudan

A street scene in southern Sudan set the tone for a cover story relating how, after twenty years of war, with violence receding, people had begun to return.

A large yellow plastic jerry can

Water and yellow plastic jerry cans are a daily part of life in many areas of the world. This photograph had the kind of tight focus on the daily struggle to get enough water that would carry the viewer to the details inside the magazine.

A face close up in profile

A close up portrait of a teenager in Northern Uganda seemed a way to communicate the ongoing personal cost for children — who had been violently co-opted into the Lord’s Assistance Army — when they are returned to their home communities.

Portrait of a women smiling

While A Common Place usually has a person on the cover, it was rare for me to go with a smiling face . . . story told, happy ending . . . no need to open the magazine. But when the cover story is about the effects of AIDs, particularly on the wives of migrant workers, who contract it from wayward partners, and shows how access to medical help and moral support can transform lives, a smiling face seemed the best introduction.

Three quarter portrait fills the page

A contemplative portrait felt like the way to bring home the work of the Israeli organization Zochrot, as they keep alive the history of the Palestinian past of Israel and bringing it into the public discourse of Israeli Jews.