April 30, 2010 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Henry Luce's original prospectus for LIFE magazine, written with the help of poet Archibald MacLeish:
To see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events; to watch the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud; to see strange things—machines, armies, multitudes, shadows in the jungle and on the moon; to see man's work—his paintings, towers and discoveries; to see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to; the women that men love and many children; to see and take pleasure in seeing; to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed;

Thus to see, and to be shown, is now the will and new expectancy of half mankind.

To see, and to show, is the mission now undertaken by a new kind of publication, THE SHOW-BOOK OF THE WORLD, hereinafter described.
posted by ocherdraco (8 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
That is how to write.
posted by caddis at 10:27 AM on April 30, 2010

Sounds good, someone should totally do that.
posted by feckless at 11:25 AM on April 30, 2010

There's some pretty pertinent stuff we can take away from this, as far in the past as it seems. Luce argues that photos had become so profligate that their emotional impact had been taken away: "Pictures are taken haphazardly. Pictures are published haphazardly. Naturally, therefore, they are looked at haphazardly." In the era when video is uploaded to YouTube four times faster than anyone could watch it, the same could easily could be said about video now. Don't get me wrong, the democratization of videography has led to some really, really amazing stuff. But, a lot of the time (and I'm guilty of this, too), we give as much of our time to the crap as we do to the art. I do worry that it deadens us to the really good stuff.

We need something to collate the really quality stuff, like Tosh.0 but for things that are beautiful. Something like Life magazine was.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:39 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am always a little embarrassed to like MacLeish because he's sort of corny but I do like him. More MacLeish please.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:43 AM on April 30, 2010

Is anyone else able to print this as a PDF or save it some other way? I'd really like a copy.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:55 AM on April 30, 2010

You should be able to print it from the little Scribd window, l33tpolicywonk.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:42 PM on April 30, 2010

To the best of my knowledge it was Briton Hadden who came up with pretty much all the concepts for Time, Life, Look, fortune magazines, including the ideas for the Time-Life Music series. It was all his vision and Luce took the credit for it, hid the truth of the origins in his personal papers, not to be revealed until after his death.
posted by nickyskye at 8:40 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow, just wow. People can be ruthless.
posted by caddis at 10:14 PM on April 30, 2010

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