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 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