Bill Cosby: 35 Women Accuse the Actor of Assault on New York Magazine Cover

The magazine's director of photography details the emotional shoots.

ByABC News
July 27, 2015, 4:59 PM

— -- Dozens of women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of assault since late last year.

In its new issue, New York magazine photographed 35 of them for a stunning cover story.

"The minute you see something from a bird's eye view, you start to understand the scope," explained the magazine's director of photography, Jody Quon. "Once we organized it and put the women in chronological order based on the year of their alleged assaults, you started to see the only thing they had in common was Bill Cosby, and that’s when we thought, 'This could be a really powerful photo essay.'"

Through his attorneys, Cosby, 78, has denied the allegations of sexual assault and rape and has never been charged with a crime. Martin Singer, one of Bill Cosby’s attorneys, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News regarding the magazine cover.

Many of the women in the New York magazine portfolio, including model Beverly Johnson, have said over the past few months that they were drugged by the comedian in decades past. Others, including model Janice Dickinson, also alleged rape.

Those interviews were what inspired the magazine to do the story, Quon said. Last winter, New York magazine staffers began cold-calling women named in various outlets to see if they'd be interested in participating. When they received enthusiastic responses, they scheduled six or seven photo shoots around the country, sometimes in large groups and other times one-on-one, depending on the women's schedules.

"The photographer Amanda Demme told me what was amazing was how the day developed and how the women became more and more at ease with each other. There was crying, there was laughing. They went through all the emotions through the course of the day and when they left there was a great community," said Quon of the first shoot in Los Angeles. "That’s what I witnessed [at a photo shoot] in New York [too]. ... It was really, really, really cathartic for them."

Demme photographed all of the women in two outfits -- one light and one dark. The concept was to keep their ensembles consistent so as not to detract from their faces and body language.

"Then Amanda thought, 'Let's photograph each woman on a chair and be very direct,'" Quon added of the cover image.

Ultimately, Quon said that in the days before the magazine went to press, 31 women had been photographed, and four more women agreed to participate in the story at the last minute. Some others declined, however, either because they'd been advised not to participate, legally, or because they just didn't feel comfortable sharing their stories, Quon said. The empty chair on the cover is representative of those people, as well as women who may come forward in the future.

"It's so personal but that's why I'm so proud of the women that decided to participate," Quon said. "That shows an incredible amount of courage."