II 45 L R Y Jvron Musser would he the last man well, almost the last man to disparage photography per se. How ever, when one has taken seventeen commercial artists under one's wing one may be pardoned such an occa sional well-bred epithet as "craze" in commenting on the current craze among advertisers for photographs. And, as Mr. Musser himself will point out, if he didn't sincerely believe that advertisers should lean less heavily on the camera he might, without too much trouble, take seventeen photographers under his other wing. To emphasize further the scientifically dispassionate nature of the discussion he may also point out that, craze or no craze, certain advertising agencies (notably Campbell-Ewald)are still keeping him and his seventeen artists (of whom Robert Fawcett and John Atherton are perhaps the best known) too busy for him to spend much time in malicious brooding. And so, his premise established and his voice carefully subdued, Byron Musser will proceed with his genteel indictments: Photographs of the product itself? Yes. Unusual and stunt photographs? Yesprovided they are unusual. "But a photograph of two people, say: why that's simply a picture of John Smith and Mary Quinlan and I can't substitute myselfas I could if it were a drawing of two peoplefor John Smith in the picture." Mr. Musser is confident, however, that the pendulum will swing back soon. Meanwhile he works on his ship model and tells callers that "Byron Musser, Inc. is an oasis of art amid the present desert of photography." A*. .elen Dryden has found her greatest happiness beneath the cloak of anonymity which all designers of vases, automobile hardware and other decorative bric-a-brac must wear. Several years have passed since she retired (voluntarily) from the editorial field in which she had scored her first great success; and she has yet to regret what must have seemed, at the time, a fool- hardy step. Not that she was exactly unhappy in the röle of one of America's foremost designers of stylized coversbut! the first bloom of any routine task (and according to Miss Dryden, cover-designing is just that) soon wears Off. A good commercial designer, furthermore, is generally much better paid than a good cover artist. "And I had worked hard all my life," she will tell you. "and T wanted to play a bit." But Miss Dryden thinks there is even stronger jus tification for her bold decision of several years ago than simply that it brought her relief from drudgery and monotony: she has found that the purely mechanical limitations, never twice the same, with which com mercial design is constantly challenging her ingenuity have kept her, of necessity, mentally young and artis tically alert. Unlike cover design, she says, even the slightest achievements in this new field call for a certain amount of pioneering. "Fortunately there is only one school of commercial design," she will add, and that is Good Taste." Burford Lorimer

Advertising Arts en | 1932 | | page 61