Audrey; The 60s

Schmidt_bio_photoThis is my interview with Stephen Schmidt.

What inspires you? These days, mostly beautiful works of design and art. Also travel, foreign cultures, and music. I like nature, but I can get bored quickly with pure nature. I’m much more interested to see how the architecture and designs of man harmonize with nature.

What was the best thing about designing this book? I very much enjoyed designing this book, because I love to produce elegant illustrated books that people can use as a distraction from everyday life. Learning all about Audrey’s 60s era style was great fun. As with all such book projects, the trick is applying the right amount of graphic design while respecting the image material.

Why do you think Audrey Hepburn is still popular today? Her impeccable sense of style, her elegant beauty and personality, and the terrific, iconic movie performances she left us with.

What was one of the best things that happened because of this book? Receiving praise from Audrey fans from around the world. And, as a designer, it was quite rewarding to be part a photo book project involving such an icon.

Which books do you recommend? A mix of novels, non-fiction and of course illustrated books. Reading is important to spark imagination. I’m into David Foster Wallace at the moment. His journalistic account of a week spent on a cruise ship – ‘A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again’ had me laughing out loud. My wife thought I was going crazy until she read it herself. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

Which movies do you recommend? I recommend people take the time to watch films from around the world, to see other perspectives. I do enjoy Hollywood produced movies too – usually dramas that tell good stories with great highs and lows. Scorsese’s ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Boogie Nights’ by Paul Thomas Anderson, Woody Allen’s ‘Annie Hall’ are some favorites. My wife is Mexican and as a result of her influence I’ve come to enjoy latino directors and actors like Guillermo del Toro, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal. I really liked del Toro’s ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and Luna’s documentary on the life of Mexican boxer Julio Caesar Chavez.

What are your favourite products? The older I get, the more I find myself interested in experiences over gadgetry, but I’ve always been drawn to well-designed products. I still appreciate what Apple is producing. I recently upgraded my Apple computer, monitor, and iPhone, and it’s been a pleasure to work with their latest products. I was also very impressed the other week when my wife and I visited a Best Buy store and saw a 65” 4K television for the first time. Wow! I can’t wait until higher resolution becomes the standard for TV broadcasts and the Internet. Smartphones have to be the best consumer invention in years. I like that the smartphone market has opened up possibilities for developers and designers to produce their own apps. With my developer friend Jot Kali I have produced an app called Amazing Story, which allows iPhone users to create stories with other people utilizing image, text, audio and geo mapping. We want to empower people to produce ad-free stories of high quality to create lasting memories in the digital world.

Do you collect anything? The closest thing I have to a collection would be my modest library of illustrated books – mostly on architecture and design, but also fine art and photography.

Who else would you like to write a book about? I’d like to do a photo book on the US Festival concerts that took place in Southern California in 1982 and 1983. They were put on by Steve Wozniak of Apple, and featured an incredible varied line up of top rock acts of the era, including Van Halen, The Clash, The Police, Fleetwood Mac, The B-52’s, Ozzy Osbourne, Missing Persons, etc. It was a unique cultural event of the 80s. It would be great to do it as a multimedia project, though securing rights to the video, audio and still images could be a real challenge.

What are you working on next? I’m working with David Wills on a photo book about style in the 1970s. It will have everything from name photographer images to paparazzi candids. We have a challenge ahead of us to bring all that varied material together, but that’s the fun part of designing!

Read my review of ‘Audrey The 60s’ here.

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