For Shaz Madani, art director of Riposte Magazine, “it’s definitely the case of judge a magazine by its cover”. A cover should mark what a magazine believes in and Riposte, with their signature text and iconic portraits of women, adhere to this ideal.
Shaz tells It’s Nice That, “we started Riposte because we didn’t connect with the way that women were being portrayed on the mainstream newsstands”. By using only text on the front cover, they removed the false and overly idealised image of a female that so many commercial magazines adopt. They “wiped the slate clean”, focusing on “elevating women’s voices” rather than any “visual aesthetics”; a decision that has singled them out from other publications.
Only once they’d become aware of how they wanted to use imagery did they start to introduce an alternative photo cover. However, the text-only cover will always remain as a stable signature, giving Riposte room “to experiment and explore” with the imagery on the others.
To mark their tenth issue, Riposte has commissioned two special front covers, and one back cover from photographers Steph Wilson, Devyn Galindo and Izumi Miyazaki. This issue is all about “saluting and celebrating women who have inspired, challenged and made us think differently”. It features conversations with a collection of smart women including rapper Princess Nokia, choreographer Holly Blakey and filmmaker Crystal Moselle, alongside a host of other topics such as death, childbirth and masturbation.
For their tenth issue, Danielle Pender, founder and editor of Riposte comments, “we wanted to push what we could do with the covers rather than just rely on photography from the issue”. The images act as a stand-alone commission, included in “a dedicated insert within the magazine”. Each cover features a photographer with a strikingly different aesthetic. “I want our covers to make me feel uneasy and nervous because that’s when it’s exciting and we’ve got something good”, Danielle explains.
As part of the New Life series that Steph Wilson produced, the image chosen, of a swollen and pregnant belly, stands out as particularly raw and honest. Devyn Galindo’s The Kiss “brought in a layer of tenderness – a perfect way to celebrate queer love in a quiet but confident moment”. Devyn is a photographer who “uses her queer inclusive lens to expand the visibility of LGBTQ culture”, overturning out-of-date, reductive stereotypes.
The back cover made by Izumi Miyazaki, beautifully mirrors the text on the front cover, with its striking simplicity and bold colours. Her “surreal take on the theme of celebration sees her transformed into a Japanese Daruma doll – a talisman of good luck in modern Japan”. These covers do not set “unrealistic expectations of beauty and style”; they honestly showcase women in all their beautiful realness, a message Riposte wants to relay.
However, each cover brings something unique and different to the theme, adding a "little intrigue” and encouraging the reader to discover what else lies inside.
Riposte No. 10 is available to buy here
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