The Mag recently teamed up with ABC News’ “Nightline” for a special behind-the-scenes look at its seventh annual Body Issue. Front Row spoke with Mag senior deputy editor Neely Lohmann, ABC producer John Kapetaneas and ABC News correspondent Kendis Gibson about collaborating on the Nightline segment, scheduled to debut Tuesday morning at 12:35 a.m. ET.
How would you describe your experience working together?
NL: We’ve toyed with doing a “behind-the-scenes” piece about the Body Issue for a couple of years. So when “Nightline” reached out about doing a “Making of the Body Issue” segment, we thought it was a great idea. There is so much preparation and planning that goes into every photo shoot, and so many conversations involved in selecting the photos — we were excited to see that process brought to light. The producers were also respectful of our process — that was key for us.
The Body Issue exists in large part because of the trust we are able to establish with athletes when photographing them nude, and we all agreed early on that respecting the athletes’ privacy would be the priority. [“Nightline”] took a fly-on-the-wall approach to the segment, and it worked well. It was a really positive experience.
When it came to allowing the “Nightline” cameras at specific photo shoots, the most important factor was getting the athletes’ consent. We had conversations with [MLB star] Bryce Harper’s and [Olympic gymnast] Aly’s Raisman’s representatives and made certain that this was something they would comfortable with on set. The athletes were excited to be involved.
JK: The open and honest discourse during the editorial meetings made the job of reporting the process behind the issue all the more interesting.
How did the concept of doing this kind of piece come about?
KG: I’ve always been a huge fan of the magazine and the Body Issue. My first priority when landing at ABC News was to try to do something that hasn’t been done by any outsider. It was a fascinating process – from being on set to watch Bryce Harper go from being fairly shy to walking around nude by the end of the shoot day, then going to Bristol [ESPN’s Connecticut headquarters] to meet the people who work so hard this on the issue and how they decide which photos of the thousands gathered get used.
Visit ABCNews.com to see the “Nightline” feature.