By Paul Tarricone
July 1971 was an eventful month. The voting age in the U.S. was lowered to 18 with passage of the 26th Amendment; President Nixon announced he would become the first U.S. president to visit the People’s Republic of China; and yours truly, as a young lad, was enjoying the summer in Bayside, NY. But the biggest development that month was the launch of a new monthly lighting magazine named LD+A. (Okay, I’m a little biased.) So, with that, we use this edition of the magazine to officially say, “Happy 50th Anniversary LD+A!”
Indeed, the number 50 is the thread that connects much of what appears in this issue. First, we look back at the magazine’s 50-year run by choosing five issues that capture the evolution of the industry, the inspirational power of light and the IES’s role in facilitating both. Believe me, it wasn’t easy choosing which five LD+As to include, and during a pandemic it took some fancy footwork to get back to the office and review the archive.
Next, what defines a profession are the big milestones—or “moments”—along the journey. We’ve selected 50 of these “great moments in lighting” to offer context on how we—both LD+A and lighting at large—got to this point.
But remember, there would be no LD+A without the IES. So as a tribute to our origins, we’ve dusted off an LD+A classic by reprinting lighting historian David DiLaura’s piece entitled “It Has Been Proposed to Form a Society…” which first appeared in our IES Centennial celebration issue in 2006. For his part, columnist Alex Baker pored through the 1971 archive to assess how IES committees and lighting practices have (or in some cases have not) evolved over the past five decades.
Enough about the past. Anniversary celebrations also afford us the opportunity to look ahead. For that mission, we enlisted Brad Koerner, Mark Lien and Brian Liebel for some crystal ball gazing and predictions about what to expect in the 2020s and beyond. In addition, our editorial team reached out to 50 professionals from all corners of the lighting universe to tell us the “big ideas” that they would like to see grace our pages in the years ahead.
Finally, a personal note and another relevant number: 36. That’s my percentage (in years) as LD+A editor over its 50-year history. It has been a privilege and an honor.