First up in this edition of the inbox is St. Thomas, from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. The magazine has an alumnus and ace photographer named Mike Ekern, and editor Brian C. Brown is smart enough to use him a lot. The fall 2010 issue begins with Ekern’s great cover image of freshman twin sisters, followed by a fabulous two-page image of strongman Dave Ostlund—that’s him over on the right, in one of Ekern’s images—who is subject of a feature story about his arcane sport. (It’s weightlifting, sort of, but includes events called Farmer’s Walk, Atlas Stones, and the Hercules Hold. It’s easy to imagine Ostlund as real good at that last one.) The twins show up again inside, as part of a collection of stories about seven incoming freshmen illustrated by Ekern’s black-and-white portraits. It’s some great photography, well reproduced.
The September/October issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette (John Prendergast, editor) has a compelling story by Susan Frith on Penn alum Susan Senator, who is the mother of an autistic child and has become an activist in support of parents in her situation. Here’s a taste:
It’s another day at the neighborhood park. Quinn, the hypercharged kid whose mom you met in childbirth class, is running in 10 different directions at once. And then there’s your own two-year-old, sucking his thumb, and refusing to climb out of the stroller. When you coax, he cries.
You know Russian history, enough to fill an unpublished novel and a thesis on Tolstoy from your grad-student days at Penn. But your firstborn is a mystery.
The best cover image I’ve seen recently comes from William & Mary Alumni Magazine, edited by Melissa Pinard. The photo, by AP photographer Gerald Herbert, is of a boot dripping muck from the BP oil spill. I’ve seen a thousand pictures from the Gulf Coast of the spill’s damage, but none that conveys the horrible mess as effectively. Inside the magazine, I smiled to see a book section that featured the following titles by William & Mary alumni and faculty: Ditch of Dreams, Meditations on a Moose, Taming Alabama, and The Uterine Health Companion.