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."
.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-
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
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."