So you’ll recall the shoot last year, right? Casino Royale theme? Where I got all dressed up in a Tuxedo at a club in New York that was kitted out as a Casino playing blackjack and so forth (click right) and getting very cosy with Ms Moneypenny? (Wait, that last bit didn’t happen.) Along with some actual stars, from entertainment, sport, fashion, etc? You don’t recall? Well, that’ll teach you not to use the blog’s archives more during your coffee breaks…
To recap (but please read properly about the background here), it was a photo spread with short bios for an annual piece called “Coming Kings” for a men’s magazine called “King”. I’d got the call out of the blue from them, and decided to do it since it’s an opportunity to do something a little different. To put some awareness of science and scientists in places where you normally don’t find much (if any) of it, rather than only targeting the more traditional crowds. It’s all about, as I said:
Reaching out. More science in the public domain, and on the lips of the regular person on the street. The usual things you know (from my writing here and elsewhere) that I’m passionate about. The readership of the magazine in question is not commonly exposed to images of scientists. The world of science and practicing scientists hardly intersects with the world of R&B, hip-hop, sports, fashion, the primary foci of this magazine and many others.
I see no reason why not, but those who work in the media that control most of the images we see think otherwise.
Except for some creative people at King magazine. King magazine is a men’s magazine aimed primarily at young African Americans. [...]
It was those creative people who called me. Anyway, I’ve really not had a good read on how it would really play, but decided that it was for the greater good. I’ve been meaning to tell you one unexpected spin off that came of it, but I’ll save that for another post.
They shot video while we were shooting back then, and I found it on YouTube (of course). You can have a look, for fun:
Oh, and yes, maybe you’re wondering. Since there’s a refreshingly harsh “what have they done the last year?” ranking that I noticed last year:
Er, there’s one scary thing overall (no, not the thought of this magazine appearing on the Provost’s or President’s desk! – they’d see the greater good in this…): At the end of the spread, they do a “Where are they now?” piece and rank the people from the previous year according to how well they’ve done (using goodness knows what metric). You can (from top to bottom) be a King, a Bishop, and Knight, a Rook, or a Pawn, interestingly. I can’t imagine how they are going to assess things for me – will they use scientist/academic criteria, or showbiz criteria?
I went to pick up a copy of the magazine today from the newsstand (which was a bit embarrassing, since the proprietor’s usually expecting me to buy SEED magazine, not something that looks, er, like this mag does…(click right) – yes, the magazine’s content is safe for work, but only just, in some parts…), out of curiosity. Cycled it home (along with a copy of SEED), and opened it up. What was I classified as, based on the last year’s efforts? I was honestly and fully expecting to be a “Pawn”, but instead… Well, look for yourself (click below left).
Much more importantly, I’m pleased to note that last year was not a one-shot experiment. This year’s photo spread (which has a sort of secret society club theme, with cups of tea and G+Ts being served – some video here) features scientists and engineers too, right alongside the musicians, producers, actors and so forth. They get it! Combine the cultures!
You know, whether I’d been “Kinged” (which is very unexpected and flattering) or not… I really like how the editors of this magazine are thinking.
Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):