A Tribute to Art Director Henry Wolf

Whenever people ask who is the greatest influence on my graphic thinking without hesitation I reply Henry Wolf. The image above featured on the invitation to  ‘Trees and Sky‘, an exhibition of photographs by Michael Eldridge and I in 2010.

Born on May 23, 1925 in Austria he fled his country of birth with his parents to avoid the persecution of Jews in Hitler’s Germany.

After a period of military service, with American forces, Wolf became art director of Esquire in 1952. Later he worked for Harpers Bazaar, Show, and the advertising agency McCann Erickson.

Wolf’s images all share a surreal style. They benefit from being made to today’s computer enhanced technology. Today, though, I have no doubt Wolf’s studio would be equipped with the latest digital equipment.

I produced this image, somewhat, in Wolf’s style. It was used as the background to the opening invitation to the Trees and Sky Exhibition hosted at Netsel Marina Gallery in 2010.

In 1971 Henry Wolf Productions, his studio devoted to photography, film and design was launched.  In a speech titled “What’s Wrong With Magazines”, (reproduced in Print magazine in 1965), he insisted, “A magazine should not only reflect a trend; it should help start it.” Today, no doubt, he would say the same for material prepared for tablets and other web based graphic devices.

Wolf died on February 14, 2005.

Wolf was a master of what he called Visual Thinking, which he defined as ‘methods for making images memorable’. He identifies seventeen of these in his book. I used two of them here. Can you deduce what they are?

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