SI Vault
February 17, 2012
More is the word. More platforms, more music, more classic shots, more rhinos....
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February 17, 2012

Editor's Letter

More is the word. More platforms, more music, more classic shots, more rhinos....

"Done is better than perfect" is one of the sharpest mantras of digital development, especially on deadline in the design offices at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. This is where creative director Chris Hercik and his team built Swimsuit out across myriad platforms: iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Barnes & Noble Nook Color, Amazon Kindle Fire, Motorola Xoom, Android smartphones and a new custom iPhone edition with every photo in the magazine, 68 videos (including 18 that feature music from top acts whose songs make up the issue's playlist), interactive 360° bodypainting, the ability to share and "favorite," and AirPlay, which allows users to beam both videos and images to Apple TV. Labors of love top to bottom, but "real artists ship," as Steve Jobs once put it in the face of so-called perfection paralysis, which makes it so hard to let go of favorite projects. That said, you will see when you start to turn pages that the photography in this most modern of Swimsuit issues remains old school.

"I wanted to go as big as we could everywhere we went with whatever it took to get that one picture that blows you away," says SI Swimsuit senior editor MJ Day. "And then I tried to do it again. And then again...."

In Panama (page 158), Swimsuit operated off a research vessel, choppering to tiny islands sometimes inhabited by a single family. In the Seychelles (page 122), uncooperative tides, winds and weather finally yielded some of the most dramatic beach pictures ever. In Zambia (page 48), crew members sat with cheetahs in their laps, flirted with rhinos in the bush and got mugged by a huge baboon. But the signature moment of that trip was a group portrait on the edge of Victoria Falls (below).

Sleep was a luxury on all five locations, especially in Australia (page 84), where Walter Iooss Jr. made the cover image of Kate Upton and where the 14-hour days often started with 2:30 a.m. call times. "You just have to be there when the light is right," says Iooss. "So everybody up!"

And then there was that sandbar in the Coral Sea, the one perfect location that might or might not be there depending on conditions. "So you try to find a helicopter or a boat to get you there for under a billion dollars," says Day. "'Oh, yeah, and you need it tomorrow? Ha ha ha ha ha.' " But Day got to that perfect sandbar, the one that might or might not be there, and the pictures are, well....

Premium SI Swimsuit iPhone app ($6.99) is free to SI subscribers in the App Store.