The Daily Heller: Midcentury Magamodern Design

Posted inThe Daily Heller
Thumbnail for The Daily Heller: Midcentury Magamodern Design

The Exakta Camera Company in Bronxville, NY, was the North American importer and distributor of the Exakta line made by Ihagee in Dresden, Germany. Part of the USSR zone after World War II, the enterprise published and distributed Exakta magazine for free to camera owners until 1953, when they began selling it.

This was a gem, a rare find in the periodical design pantheon. Early issues of the magazine were designed by Midcentury Modernists, including Leo Lionni (in a Constructivist-inspired style), Alexey Brodovitch (employing his signature experimental approach), Ernst Reichl (known as a book designer) and David Sala (who is unknown to me).

With the exception of Brodovitch's issue, showing an abstracted photo of a couple doing exercises, the interiors were fairly practical and commonplace and did not live up to the promise of the covers. Eventually, the magazine was transformed into a dealer buyer's guide with trite, cute cover images. But for a brief moment, modern design triumphed.

Leo Lionni, designer and photographer.

Richard Sala, art director. Dennis Stock, photographer.
Alexey Brodovitch, designer. Ben Rose, photographer.

Richard Sala, designer. Henri Leighton, photographer.
Ernst Reichl, designer.