Robbie McLaran is a talented Portland photographer who, at the time, was getting a lot of editorial assignments with our largest news publications that were tracking the rising tide of right-wing extremists in politics and counter-culture. The list of subjects included imprisoned Timothy McVeigh right after the Oklahoma City bombing.
Robbie enlisted the help of Johnson and Wolverton, the design shop where I was working at the time, to design the book. We wanted to create a compelling environment for Robbie's amazing portraits that didn't go as far as to distract the viewer from his work. I thought it would be interesting to create a formal color study on "whiteness", using a cheap polaroid camera to create a series of icky backgrounds in various fleshy tones.
The degraded typography is set and positioned with awkwardness and tension-building geometry. The feeling of deconstructed news helps maintain an editorial feel, but with an edge. The text surrounding the images are often feature the subjects' own words.
The result was a multi-award winning little book that is as much haunting as it is moving.
Design: Jeff Dooley, Robin Muir, Hal Wolverton
Agency: Johnson and Wolverton