Big thanks to the guys at Kayak for working with me on their Titanic anniversary issue cover.
The sinking of the Titanic was one of the big events of the 20th century; a tragedy that ended the lives of many people, but also marked the decline of an era of optimism and faith in human engineering and commerce. It also was a bitter display of classism at work – a theme that was played up heavily in James Cameron’s movie. As I was working on this, I kept wondering if society was slipping back into Titanic’s time, where a small number of super rich ruled the world and literally jumped ship when calamity struck, leaving behind the poor to perish. There were some 1st class passengers who did answer the call of noble self sacrifice, but the stories of those who didn’t have become even more legendary.
My initial suggestion was to show the Titanic in a more positive light, perhaps leaving port or being built. The magazine wished to depict the sinking however, but requested it not look too gruesome. I did want the ship to be visible, but I also wanted the passengers to be be prominently visible. So we settled on a shot of people in a lifeboat looking in shock at the sinking ship. I would have preferred not to have the small silhouettes of people in the water (as this is a children’s history magazine), but I guess for historical accuracy they had to be there.
The cover was accompanied by 2 spots in the article. I’d originally suggested the guys in the Marconi room, but we later changed it to the band instead.
For the record, in my head, the rich guy in the life boat is Bruce Ismay. He’s not meant to look like Ismay, but in my head that’s who he represents.