WestWorld Senior Art Director
WestWorld magazine, owned by Canada Wide Magazines and Communications Ltd., is a travel and motoring magazine published five times a year for the Alberta Motor Association and four times a year for the British Columbia Motor Association and Canadian Automobile Association in Saskatchewan. These membership publications feature auto club related news, as well as unique local and foreign travel spots and practical travel tips. Art and photographs are essential elements in the compilation of this magazine, hence the need for the skilled work of Rick Thibert, WestWorld’s senior art director.
Rick Thibert, formerly a freelance illustrator and designer, has worked for Canada Wide Magazines and Communications Ltd. in Vancouver for the past fourteen years. As Senior Art Director he is responsible for the photography and graphics used in magazines such as Westworld Alberta, Pacific & Alberta Golf and the recently relaunched 99 North. Despite being a self-professed amateur photographer, his years of working with closely with photographers have given him a real appreciation for the medium; and his background in illustration and design allows Thibert to aptly apply professional standards to the photos he chooses for his magazines.
Subject, composition and light are carefully considered, just as they were when he was a practicing illustrator. However, what makes or breaks a photo for Thibert is the emotions conveyed. “Does it draw the reader in, that early morning sun creeping across a landscape, or the lone horseback rider on a dusty trail? Or the intense look on a sport figure gripped in the action It’s that split second frozen in time that makes you feel like you are part of the action or wanting to bet there.” Although technique, creativity and originality play a large part in deciding which photos will be used, the feeling the image generates is crucial to Thibert and his editorial staff. The biggest reward for him is when the editorials, photographs and layout all compliment one another.
Photographers; whether freelance, in-house or represented by stock agencies, that work with Thibert and his staff are encouraged to take the article/story vision Thibert has and interpret it in their own manner. He enjoys being surprised by a photographer’s ability to take a common subject or place and shoot it in a very dramatic way, using unusual lighting, angles or using day or night light to enhance a subject. This also serves to keep the readership happy as they enjoy beautiful and thought provoking photography, and curious as numerous requests come in questioning where and how certain shots were taken.
When asked if he had a preference for traditional or digital photography, Thibert responded with, “I have a very good friend that is a professional photographer, and we have an ongoing debate on this issue. But I still like film best; there is still something that transfers onto film that I just can’t explain. For me it’s the little nuances that seem to come across on film. Digital for me is very good and cost effective and is the future of photography, but for me I still find it a little flat.” If the images, film or digital, pass the final criteria of subject, overall feeling/lighting, colour and quality, then they get included. The editor, interns and Thibert will painstakingly go over every photo to make sure it tells the story visually from the large lead shots to the smaller detail images on trail pages. That is what their readers expect.
What Works and Doesn’t Work for Rick Thibert
These images were picked because they are typical of what he and his staff deal with on an ongoing basis. The first three photographs and commentary are supplied by Rick Butler, a shooter used often by Thibert . The last photo is from the library of stock photos at Thibert’s disposal.
If you wish to have your photographs considered for publication by Rick Thibert, contact him through the Canada Wide Magazines company directory at www.canadawide.com. They publish approximately twenty-five titles, so there are many areas needing photography.
by Jennifer McCormick