Archive for August, 2008

O Revealed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 18, 2008 by Thomas Allen


Now that the September issue of O Magazine is on the stands, I’m ready to reveal the images created for last month’s O’s Memoir Feast.

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The handwritten text you see on the furniture is my grandmother’s. She died suddenly when I was 10. To this day, it continues to be the single-most tragic event in my life. When I was 28, I was given a shoebox filled with a stack of writing tablets that contained my grandma’s secret journals.

As a kid, I saw her as a very happy and jovial person. As an adult, I was introduced to a woman who spent most of her adult life drowning in a never-ending flood of pain and sorrow.

This one was chosen right away, with no additional edits. The symbol of McCracken as a pine tree, reaching for her unborn child really moved me.

I cannot begin to count how many revisions it took to get to this point. This is my favorite one. Her memoir, A Three Dog Life, is heartbreakingly beautiful.

In her essay, Sandra Tsing Loh reveals that she was fired from her job at NPR, but doesn’t offer any details. This photograph illustrates why (and that’s all I’m going to say).

The idea for the waves cut from the book cloth came immediately. The rest of the image grew from there.


In Abigail Thomas’ essay about writing a memoir, she refers to it as a side door into a person. That’s where I got the idea for a screen door. However, as you will see later, the figure leaping through the book was not part of my original idea. I thought the backlit door, by itself, was a very powerful icon in relation to the text. I’ve had people look at this final version and tell me, “This does not look like your work at all.”

It was the art director’s idea to add the figure. I thought it was a bad idea, but rather than bite the hand that feeds me, I bit my tongue instead. This is my least favorite image.

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As a bonus, I’ve included 24 jpegs of mockups that didn’t make the cut. A few of these may look familiar—they were “leaked” to Stickers and Donuts on July 28th.

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