How we made: N by Norwegian, September 2015

For sheer variety of features, this one is up there with my very favourite issues of N by Norwegian

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There’s just a nice mix of places and themes – from a jumpstart film-maker from northern Sweden to brutalism in London’s Barbican, pintxos in San Sebastian and Chinese food in San Francisco. Then there are the cool portraits of the Micronation leaders, where deputy editor Mandi built stories around images from a book by photographer Léo Delafontaine.

But the treatments are also all very different, from the quiet Barbican story to the loud, 80s-inspired Kung Fury layouts on a green screen background. The one that rounds it out in a way is the China food story, which we’d initially intended as a straight up people and places photography story. But the photography of San Francisco’s Chinatown just wasn’t strong enough, and we felt like it needed something more.

So we had regular still-life photographer Liz McBurney make burgers, hot dogs and donuts from Chinese rice, symbolising the way the food centre planned to demystify Chinese ingredients. There were shades of Lucky Peach magazine in the result, and it turned a story that could have been quite dry visually into something with real pop, supplemented by the cute little lucky cats and chopsticks.

I was pleased, too, with the opener to the Kung Fury story, given that we didn’t have that much to work with visually, and didn’t have the budget to go up and shoot film-maker David Sandberg (we also weren’t sure it would be worth it). It just felt like it fit the 80s analogue feel of the film well, even if it was a long way from the prettiest feature we’ve ever done.

Ditto for the cover. I’m still not convinced by green covers, and I don’t think it’s one of the best we did on N. But it has that humour to it, which has always been a real part of the magazine. Read the full issue here.

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