This month’s FRONT was an interesting one. It’s kind of gone under the radar in my opinion, with not a lot of “bigging up” or even discussion. With this piece I hope to highlight some of the good things about this month’s issue, as well as maybe mentioning possible reasons why it’s not been lavished with praise. Let’s get straight into it…
As we always do, let’s begin with the front cover. Sabine adorns the cover of this Easter issue, and I think this may possibly be the first reason why the issue hasn’t taken off. There are some people who just don’t seem to like Sabine for whatever reason. When she made her debut it was greeted with a range of emotions, largely ranging from indifference to dislike. I must admit, I wrote that her first appearance in the mag was not spectacular. However I changed my tune when she reappeared in issue 164 with an amazing showing in what has been one of the best issues of FRONT in years! But people did have a problem with her originally, and it has stuck for some. I personally am on board with Sabine in FRONT, and was looking forward to seeing what she had for us this time. Having said that though, I was only sure it was Sabine when I read the accompanying circle of text just below her right knee. I didn’t recognise her from just looking, and it’s become a feature of her work with FRONT. Looking back from issue 161 to issue 164 and now issue 167, every time Sabine has appeared, she looks different. It definitely denotes a versatility and reinvention, but you also want to be memorable don’t you? As for Sabine’s cover shot, it’s 100% FRONT, and reminiscent of the work Rosie Jones did in her early years with the magazine. Girls in trainers was what brought FRONT to the dance, so to speak, and it’s perpetuated here. The shot itself is gorgeous of course, but that’s down to Sabine’s physique and beauty solely. There’s nothing really earth-shatteringly original about it, and there’s quite a disservice done to the other girls that appear in the main feature. Alice and Courtnie aren’t even mentioned on the cover, let alone seen. Unless I just picked up the Sabine version of a three cover special (which I didn’t), I think Alice and Courtnie should have had a presence on the cover, especially seeing as there seems to be more shots of Courtnie than Sabine in the main feature!
Moving inside and straight to the “Readers’ Shit” page, just a quick mention for the picture of Alysha Nett in the bottom left hand corner; Anthony’s drawing isn’t perfect, but it’s good, and it reminded me of Alysha being in the mag, which was also good.
On page 16 we are greeted with one of the massive positives about issue 167, that being the return of Cala at the beginning of the “Full Frontal” section. I had just interviewed her last time she appeared in the mag, and that just added to the praise I heaped upon her then. This time her feature starts with a four window page, in which she sports some unfeasibly sexy thigh-high socks/tights. I love the photo in the bottom left of the four panel page, the coy hand in front of her face, and gorgeous underwear with that pink shirt just works! Page 17 shows off Cala’s amazing bottom, clad again in some incredible black lacy undies. The arch of her back helps to emphasise her beautiful tattoo, and the light coming through the window onto her face leaves an angelic haze that is pure pretty.
The images are sharper on pages 18 and 19 as Cala moves away from the light source. Still resplendent in those socks, these pages are all about Cala’s face and of course her wonderful bosom. Her hands on head pose at the top of 18 is playful yet sultry, and her gaze into the distance at the bottom of 18 is equally emotive. These two photographs show off Cala’s excellent use of her features when posing, and while she is topless, you consider each picture as a whole, it’s not just boobs!
The next three pages are straight out of a calendar, or definitely should be. FRONT has spoilt us with three full page photos, the first of which on page 19. Here Cala’s bright eyes and full pouting lips draw you in, and you follow her tussled hair down her shoulder to take in yet another example of this wonderful model’s body. Page 20 and 21 are my favourites from the set I think, although there is a lot of competition. The fairy lights and butterflies in the background of 20 echo the free spirited stance and pose of Cala, there’s a lightness and elegance here, with her arms stretched up almost in a balletic manoeuvre. I also love the touch of the belly button jewellery, it’s very Cala, fun and feminine. Page 21 finished the set perfectly. I’d love this image blown up as a poster, it’s such a sweet image, full of contemplation and intrigue. There’s nothing detracting from the grace being show, Cala’s nose ring hints at a stylish flair, and it’s just a terrific picture.
Moving on to page 28, and I must flag up Stef Nurding’s interview. I didn’t know who Stef was if I’m honest, but this little interview definitely grabbed my attention, and I’d love to interview her in more detail sometime. Fingers crossed. She is of course a gorgeous lady, but very interesting also, and I’d love to know more about her passion for boarding, both skate and snow.
My next stop is page 30, and unusually for me, I want to dwell on the “illustrator profile”. It’s a section of the mag I have not been moved by in previous issues. It’s an issue of personal taste, but I haven’t liked the style of a lot of the guys that have featured. This month is the turn of Kate Prior though, and I really enjoyed her interview. Her work reminded me of some classic cartoons and illustrated adverts from the 50s, but with a very modern twist on the comical elements. There is also a unique spark in her use of colour to achieve vibrancy and a more demure understatement. I’m no art expert, but I really love the examples of her work, and it’s moved me to check out her website. The most impressive things is her interview though, and the humour that jumps off the page. Kate seems like a very cool lady indeed, and yet another discovery from this issue that I would love to talk with someday.
To be continued…
Image taken from FRONT’s tumblr, you should go check it out.