Culture+Travel and Polar Bears, Oh My!

C+T.jpgIf you haven’t picked up Culture+Travel lately, go ahead and treat yourself. The current issue is devoted to Asia, but you won’t find a typical tourist’s to-do list. Instead, try elephant polo in Thailand and a search for giggles in India. In our recent interview with C+T editor-in-chief Kate Sekules, we couldn’t disguise our obsession with the January/February issue cover (pictured at right), which featured a cuddly-looking (and possibly napping) polar bear, illuminating writer Joe Yogerst‘s piece about a tiny Manitoba town frequented by migrating bears and the tourists who love them. We asked Sekules how the cover came about.

I had seen that the brilliant photographer Jill Greenberg had a recent show called “Ursine” [at ClampArt in New York City] that was actually up at the time when we were putting this issue together. I had just seen the black and Kodiak bears she had photographed. Then I discovered that she had also photographed polar bears, so we found those images and got extremely excited. At that point, that’s when we realized that this story would work, because we don’t want to do anything when the visuals don’t work. It has to be extremely strong visually.

…Greenberg is a very successful commercial photographer but also an art photographer, and she does not cross the beams— ever, or at least that’s what she said. So I had to beg her. I pointed out to her that we’re not really like other magazines, and we have very much an art focus. After my begging for some time and some back and forth, she said yes. So this was from her art show. They weren’t shot for us, but they just worked perfectly.