Art of Photography

Rob Townsend

Exercise: Juxtaposition

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Take any book you like and make a suitable cover illustration using two or three relevant juxtaposed elements.


I chose “Kill Your Friends”, a novel by John Niven. It’s a very black comedy about the UK record industry in the 1990s, and centres around a hedonistic A&R man struggling to stay ahead in his career at the height of Britpop. He turns to violently murdering his rivals in a desperate attempt to rescue his failing career.

Kill Your Friends

Kill Your Friends

The two elements I felt needed to be illustrated were (a) his career and (b) the murders. So the juxtaposition of the CD (not vinyl, not cassette, it was the CD that dominated the 1990s) and the knife sprung to mind. I also thought blood-red for the text supported the imagery.

What I’ve learned:

Whilst this kind of illustrative work is new to me – it’s more like graphic design than pure photography – I quite enjoyed it. If I’m honest and self-critical, I’m not at all convinced that it matches the quality of real paperback covers, I am happy that the juxtaposition aspect of the CD and the knife works in terms of illustrating the contents.


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