Field Notes: Bitch Magazine’s Imagery

Something essential to note about bitch magazine’s imagery is certainly its preference for illustration over photo. The magazine quite rarely ever uses photos and will only specifically use photos for photo essays, like the examples below:

As you can see from these two examples of photo essays, bitch tends to use large rectangular cut photos that take up a good chunk of the page. The photos are also rather graphic and in some cases, close up to human body parts. The magazine also likes to use color in anything they do, which is why it is interesting why it chose to do a black and white photo essay. While the latter photo essay not only pops with color from the sharp photos themselves and the bright blue background, the former photo essay lacks in color, but definitely makes up for that with the splashes of pink organic shades and shapes throughout the photo essay. The magazine certainly also does not lack in the creativity department, as while the photos may be in black and white, the magazine makes up for the lack of color again in this essay, by changing up the shape of some of the photos a little bit, and creating a sort of ripped edge along the borders that is not smooth or polished, but certainly catches the reader’s eye and is still aesthetically pleasing.


While photos are solely used for photo essays, stories and everything else are essentially accompanied by massive illustrations. Such illustrations take up the full page parallel to the story’s title/headline and are usually drawn in the same color or shade (or somehow incorporates the same color/shade) that the given headline is printed in. These massive illustrations certainly play a big role in the magazine’s brand (which I’ll discuss more below when I talk about the magazine’s sections) and the reader can always anticipate on the magazine to come up with creative illustrations in each and every issue. But more importantly, the reader can anticipate on having breaks in between readings and resting their eyes for a bit, as this is what having these illustrations throughout the magazine permits – the full page illustrations take up space where text from a story could be instead, which is helpful for the reader, especially since bitch magazine’s pieces are usually quite sizable and are of much substance containing rather complex ideas. You’ll see below that 1/2 stories don’t start until the third consecutive page (the page right after the massive illustration):


Another thing the magazine likes to do is create full page illustrations for sections of the magazine. (Well, more than a full page, as the illustrations go a little onto the following page). I think these illustrations are quite grand and are a rather unique way to introduce the section of magazine, as I have also never seen another magazine really do this before,  and I also think it is a great way for the magazine to maintain its brand throughout its issues; as you can see below, the illustrations are rather consistent and parallel to each other. One artist (as attributed on the illustrations below) is usually assigned to create the illustrations for these two sections and the illustrations come out looking very similar.


Lastly, the magazine will sometimes change things up even more (which, of course, only speaks even more to its creativity) and include a collage somewhere in its issue. In its last issue, rather than utilize a mere single photo or illustration, Bitch cleverly utilizes a whole collage as an art piece to accompany the last story, which is quite rare for a publication to do, as I have not seen this in many magazines before. This certainly keeps the visual aspect of the magazine refreshing and keeps the readers on their toes, as we can never really know what to expect next when it comes to bitch magazine’s creativity and inventiveness!