The Dell Magazine Company launched Foto in 1937, possibly to capitalize on the success of the photo-dominated magazine Life, which Henry Luce, the founder of Time magazine, had launched in 1936 after buying the title of a long-standing humor magazine.  In its first issue (June, 1937) Foto introduced itself as “the candid camera magazine.”  Unlike Life, Foto seems to have done little to promote the individual names of photographers whose work appeared within it.  While its early covers were notable for artful poses and fashionably geometric designs, the magazine’s interior features focused on crimes, human oddities and the sorts of miscellany more typical of the tabloid newspaper.  By 1939, as the final image here shows, Foto had dropped a black-and-white cover aesthetic in favor of the color photographs and sexualized images of women more typical of other popular news magazines.

Foto ceased publication in 1939.  Its original editor, West F. Peterson, was editor of numerous other Dell titles.  Its Art Director, Abril Lamarque  was a Cuban-born cartoonist and designer who served as art director at Dell from 1927 until 1941, when he went on to redesign The New York Times Sunday Magazine and establish a prominent post-war design firm.

The gallery here contains issues from 1937 and 1938

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE; DATE OF PUBLICATION WILL APPEAR IN IMAGE VIEWER

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