The Borders Issue 2019

The Story Behind the Dual Covers of VICE Magazine's Borders Issue

We chose dual covers for the issue because it would have been impossible to pick one image that could adequately sum up the complexity of borders. Luke Archer and Dustin Thierry explain the backstory on their cover photos.
VICE Magazine's 2019 Borders Issue covers

This article appears in VICE Magazine's Borders Issue. The edition is a global exploration of both physical and invisible borders and examines who is affected by these lines and why we've imbued them with so much power. Click HERE to subscribe to the print edition.


Cover photo by Luke Archer

VICE: Tell us the story behind your cover image.
Luke Archer: I’m very pleased this image made the cover as it’s a personal favorite of mine. I was visiting Gibraltar in September 2017 and noticed these guys going for a swim in the ocean. I got out of the car just in time to get a shot of them with the tankers in the background. I like the human presence in this image as it helps give a sense of how vast the ocean is.


In a way, the image also reflects Gibraltar’s isolation: It’s a peninsula that juts out from the bottom of Spain and is the only part of British territory located on mainland Europe. An open border allows for freedom of movement between both entities, but the looming uncertainty of Brexit has brought up many difficult questions about the future of that border. With The Rock, I wanted to document these challenges while also highlighting Gibraltar’s heritage.

One of the reasons I shoot film is so that I don’t overshoot and end up with thousands of images to pick from. This is the only image I took of this scene, although my hit rate isn’t always that good!


Cover photo by Dustin Thierry

Tell us the story behind your cover image.
Dustin Thierry: Back in 2013, I was introduced to Amber Vineyard at one of her first Ballroom events in Rotterdam. I never thought that my project Opulence would have grown from that chance encounter and make traveling around the world possible.

As an orphan and a child of the Caribbean living in the Netherlands, I’ve always somehow managed to get involved with projects that harness topics dealing with the idea of family. These have me questioning sides of my identity while engaging with social political issues I often feel challenged by.

While discussing portfolio possibilities for the Borders Issue I suggested covering a set of Ballroom events happening in Berlin and Paris.

I shot this portrait of Shigo LaDurée at the F.E.M. Mini Ball in Paris, which was presented by EU Mother Riya West. I spotted LaDurée in drag walking up the runway in the “Face” category and was awestruck by her performance and the uplifting chanting of the audience gave me goose bumps. She won the category and I rushed off the stage to formally introduce myself and take portraits of her. The more time I spend with this image, the more relevant and personal it becomes. A dear friend once said to me that “a portrait is always a self-portrait of the photographer.”


Luke Archer is a London-based photographer and the editor of Loupe, a free photography magazine distributed across the UK.


Dustin Thierry is a contemporary artist and photographer from Curaçao whose work is focused on the Afro-Caribbean diaspora in the Netherlands. Portrait by Daan Muller.

More of Luke's work can be seen here and Dustin's work here.

If you want more border stories, check out this additional package which explores how the borders that divide and surround Europe affect the lives of the people living near them.