Everyone wants Taylor Swift on their magazine cover this week. Everyone needs Taylor Swift on their magazine cover this week. But whose Taylor Swift magazine cover best gets at the essence of the Taylor Swift phenomenon? Who wins the Taylor Swift cover sweepstakes and two tickets to Subway (sponsored by Diet Coke and iHeart Radio)?
Here's Taylor Swift photographed straight-on and point-blank by Martin Schoeller, in his signature style—familiar yet slightly distorted, up close yet detached and impersonal. This is how we apprehend our world leaders and other historic icons.
Taylor Swift's face expands to consume the entire frame of the magazine cover. Her eyelashes are starbursts; her red lipstick is the red "IS" of the cover line (Ehyeh asher ehyeh) and also the red of the the magazine banner. Taylor Swift is Bloomberg Businessweek yet is also larger than Bloomberg Businessweek.
A departure from the usual representational protocol: in place of the familiar schematic palette of blue eyes/red lips/flaxen hair/porcelain skin, here is a tanned and "natural" Taylor Swift: hair darkened as if washed and not yet dried, brows thickened over eyes that almost but not quite assume a quizzical or searching attitude. But not quite. Her gaze is still, ultimately, impervious. You are the one looking quizzical. Who is this newcomer? You do know. You always have known.
— PAPER Magazine (@papermagazine) November 12, 2014
Paper goes even further than Wonderland. Here is a side of Taylor Swift that readers have rarely seen—exuberant, bursting out of the constraints of her usual image, almost brunette. The famliar gangly collectible doll has become the Venus of Willendorf. It's a near-shocking revelation, but in the end, all that's revealed is Taylor Swift.
New York magazine
Now we return to the essence of Taylor Swift as the mind's eye knows her best. The white, the red, the kinetic energy. A veiled allusion to the Swift Company, the slaughter and dismemberment leading into a chain of product that ties America together, nourishing and sustaining us all. Ladies and gentlemen, Taylor Swift.