How I Work: New York Magazine photo director Jody Quon

In her role of overseeing the bold covers and photography work at New York Magazine, Jody Quon is no stranger to overcoming challenges. She discusses how to be convincing, taking creative risks and minimising the fallout

Jody Quon grew up surrounded by newspapers and magazines, so it seems inevitable that she would one day move into the publishing world. She initially took on a research job at the New York Times Magazine, where she worked under revered photo director Kathy Ryan, before joining New York Magazine as photography director in 2004.

Quon has since overseen its transformation into a bold magazine known for its unexpected, often daring photography that gets to the root of a story. Whether commissioning a photographer to shoot Manhattan’s power outage following Hurricane Sandy, capturing the 35 women who came forward about Bill Cosby when nobody else would, or publishing that Trump cover from 2016, she has helped New York Magazine make gutsy statements that others merely gesture at.

Speaking at this year’s magCulture Live event, along with a revelatory follow up conversation, Quon shares how she approaches some of the challenges of the role, and the key to being convincing.

Starting out When I was growing up I thought I would want to be a fashion designer, and I went to Rhode Island School of Design, and studied art and fashion. Both have influenced me quite a bit. When I first started working, I worked for a fashion PR company – my account was Comme des Garçons. The work that I was doing for Comme des Garçons was a lot of research in art and photography for them, for their Japanese office…. It was before the internet and before information was as global as it is now, so because I worked in the New York office, there were so many resources to research in New York that I would then ship off to Tokyo for their design lab – they had a magazine called Six, for their exhibitions. A lot of that work definitely informs so much of what I do today.