Why 50 is a big number
By Lisa Barnard CEO, Illustrated London News Ltd
A quirk of Aston Martin Magazine is that each issue is identified by a number. That’s how we refer to the edition internally while it’s being made and on every cover. It’s a global brand; these days there is no such conventional thing as a summer or winter issue — you may be reading this in London in English or in Shanghai in Mandarin. The magazine started life as AM1 and as we have been moving through the late 40s, we knew we were gearing up for the big five-oh: AM50.
Fifty editions is no mean feat in publishing terms. I have always been struck by the fact that the Spanish expression “dar luz” means both to publish and to give birth. Blood, sweat and even tears are involved in creating a magazine. So that’s 50 children. My company, ILN, has had the privilege of publishing Aston Martin Magazine for 10 years, so we’ve only been a madre for a chunk of the 50 issues. Working with Aston Martin, there is a surprise around every corner. The creativity, the energy and the pace within the company know no bounds, especially as it is a small team.
It is relentlessly inspirational to tell the stories about the concepts, products and people relating to this extraordinary brand. The launches in recent years have been phenomenal, we can hardly find enough pages to fit them in and do them justice. And it’s never dull. During the pandemic, we prepared just three James Bond special issues, while awaiting the release of No Time To Die. We called it No Time To Publish. Instead of showing you 50 covers or 50 cars, our team has curated some of our favourite images from over the years. Hats off to the editors, writers and art directors who have been involved, and we’ve been so lucky to have something stunning to write about in every issue.
If you have any favourites or feedback, please email me at email@example.com.
MAKING A SPLASH
For issue 21, the second-ever issue produced by ILN, we commissioned the acclaimed photographer and director Matthew Donaldson to do something different on the theme of bespoke colour. His solution was to drape a set of specially made V12 Vantage maquettes with paint from the new Q by Aston Martin Collection, creating a perfect piece of pop art.
Aston Martin’s first partnership with Danish design legend LEGO was celebrated in issue 41. Photographer Mitch Payne had to hand-build set number 10262, the iconic James Bond™ Aston Martin DB5, before he could shoot it. Our cover showed the famous ejector seat in full flight, just one of the many gadgets built into this highly collectable 1,295-piece set.
Rankin’s cover image of Daniel Craig alongside his bespoke Aston Martin DB10 accompanied a feature on the actor’s penultimate outing in the role of James Bond. In Spectre, directed by Sam Mendes, Craig was joined by Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann and pitted against Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld, in a story that would ultimately conclude in 2021’s No Time To Die
Matthew Porter’s stunning imagery was originally commissioned for the Aston Martin Centenary Yearbook, published in 2013, and reproduced in the winter 2013 edition of the magazine. This group portrait showcases four of Aston Martin’s most memorable power units, from Tadek Marek’s six-cylinder and twin-supercharged V8 through to a Tickford V8 and the Ted Cutting-designed straight-six.
Autumn 2013 saw a focus on the evolution of Aston Martin’s core technologies in a feature by Matthew de Paula. The accompanying imagery was created by Tom Mannion, who blended studio photography with digital processing to create these Surrealist still lifes.
For our first visit to a fully operational Aston Martin St Athan, we commissioned photographer Greg White to showcase the new line in action. With the space home to Aston Martin’s new state-of-the-art paint shop and all DBX production, White found technology, precision, and perfection in the quest to build beauty.
THE MIGHTY ATOM
Spencer Murphy captured the Aston Martin Atom in full flight, a rare sighting of this pioneering 1939 concept. For issue 25, editor Andy Tongue traced the car’s innovations and subsequent history. This was the very car that encouraged David Brown to acquire Aston Martin in 1947.
VALKYRIE RIDES IN
Benedict Redgrove’s studio shoot of the mighty Aston Martin Valkyrie set a new visual standard for this superlative machine. Capturing the essence of Valkyrie’s aero-formed bodywork against an abstract, geometric backdrop, Redgrove’s images gave Valkyrie a fitting introduction to the world.
DB11 DESIGNER SPECIFICATION
2016 saw the introduction of the Aston Martin DB11, the latest in an illustrious line of luxury grand tourers. Tasked with chronicling the six exclusive Designer Specifications launched with the car, photographer Mitch Payne built a series of seductive abstract still lifes for issue 33.
V12 Vantage Roadster
João Canziani was given the enviable job of capturing the new V12 Vantage Roadster at its international launch in Palm Springs. Abby Bassett got behind the wheel, taking a tour of the city’s famed modernist houses and sampling the winding roads in the hills above the Coachella Valley.
Commissioned by Aston Martin for a darkly dramatic portrait of the new DBS Superleggera, award-winning fashion photographer and image maker Nick Knight took his own idiosyncratic path. Issue 40 was graced by a still from his film, its strikingly rich imagery fusing abstract forms and fluid animation with the new DBS powering into the future.