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Roger Hicks
02-16-2010, 03:59
There's an existing thread on mediocrity - so what do you want instead?

It strikes me that writing about equipment is easiest of all. After that, what is there? Aesthetics (very hard to write about, though I made an attempt in 'Body of Work' recently in Shutterbug); ideas for different approaches (cf my recent 'vintage look' and soft focus articles in Shutterbug); inspiration to go out and take pictures, or to make you think about what you shoot and why (which is what I try to do in AP); and finally photographs, which are as hit-or-miss in appeal as articles: if I never see another macro insect shot again it will be soon enough for me, but some people love 'em. Excessive specialization will always frighten off a good percentage of your readers.

What do YOU want to see? And what do you think people could write about, but don't?

Cheers,

R.

Philly
02-16-2010, 04:07
Aesthetics (very hard to write about, ...)

Hegel had a good go at it.
I'm sure lots of that could be expanded and brought up to date.

Sparrow
02-16-2010, 04:14
Zoom, is the only one I bother reading but I’m sure it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste

PS reading’s probably the wrong word, more looking at the pictures there a lot of pretentious twaddle in the text

Roger Hicks
02-16-2010, 04:15
Hegel had a good go at it.
I'm sure lots of that could be expanded and brought up to date.

I didn't say impossible: just hard. It can also be hard to read. Never mind frightening off the readers: frightening off editors is a risk. But I'll give it a try. (Writing about aesthetics, that is; I'm already pretty good at frightening off editors). Thanks.

Cheers,

R.

Andy Kibber
02-16-2010, 04:56
What do I want in a magazine? Good writing on interesting topics by someone who is more intelligent and insightful than I am, but doesn't talk down to me. And some interesting pictures. I generally like colour reportage or environmental portraiture, but I try to keep an open mind.

Maybe that's not a very helpful response. :)

newspaperguy
02-16-2010, 05:22
I'd love to see a regular column on classic and antique cameras... yeah, like whathizname did for so many years.

Wouldn't matter if it duplicated the original series if it were done from a new perspective.

Just figure out a way to do it so you don't use up all the "good ones" in the first year...

and use lots of photos of the equipment for us junkies.
(As apposed to photos they took.)

oftheherd
02-16-2010, 05:30
When I got started back in Photography back in 1974, I read every magazine and book I could get my hands on. Just devoured them all. After a few years, I tired a little about all the new cameras. I had settled on my Fujica ST 901 kit, and a Contax 139Q for a single lens. It was interesting to read about new cameras with new features as I was often asked about what gear to buy. It was also interesting to read about new lenses for the same reason.

I wasn't so interested in newbie articles, because I wasn't, but there continued to be some articles on things I didn't know about, or much about. That was still fun.

I noticed as time went by, there seemed to be fewer articles on pictures and how they were taken. Then even fewer photos seemed to show up and get commented on. For me, that was what I missed most. I stilll enjoy seeing photos and hearing how they were obtained. After all, it is photography.

But then I am not a good person to ask any more. I don't take as many photos as I used to. I have finally gotten a grip on my GAS also. Digital has kind of passed me by. I still enjoy stimulating articles, no matter the subject. FWIW Mr. Hicks, I enjoy your articles in Shutterbug. Even you gear articles make good reading for me at least, but less so (I don't own Leica gear so if its a review of a Leica camera or lens, I lose interest easily).

I don't guess that really helps, but photos, and how they are made, such as attention to light, including time of day, type of film (yeah digital passed me by), how it was developed if different than normal, an unusual piece of not to expensive gear to get the photo, or better yet, how to do it anyway. Challenges I guess.

oftheherd
02-16-2010, 05:31
I'd love to see a regular column on classic and antique cameras... yeah, like whathizname did for so many years.

Wouldn't matter if it duplicated the original series if it were done from a new perspective.

Just figure out a way to do it so you don't use up all the "good ones" in the first year...

and use lots of photos of the equipment for us junkies.
(As apposed to photos they took.)

That is still often done in Shutterbug. What intrigues me is seeing what to me were new cameras now showing up as classics. :p

squirrel$$$bandit
02-16-2010, 05:34
I would love a magazine that focused on several long interviews with photographers--say, three different kinds of photography per issue, you know, a street photographer, a digital abstract person, a journalist, etc.--that include discussions of the technology they use and how they use it. I'd also love columns about specific cameras, old and new, and other imaging technology--their history, specs, design flaws, and so on.

Basically, I would like a magazine that addressed photography as a creative endeavor tied up with the use of tools. A nerdy mag, for people who love cameras, and love using them even more.

Jim-st
02-16-2010, 05:42
Gear reviews and Photoshop "tips" are done to death, and only feed one small part of the brain anyway.

The history of the subject is of great interest, I think, hooked on either a theme or a photog. People like Weegee or HCB are almost inexhaustible, and remember there's one born every minute (photographer, that is) and it's not that easy for youngsters to access info on the past of the subject these days. Plus there's probably always someone "new" to be uncovered - Margaret Watkins would be a fairly recent example.

And don't be put off by remarks about "pretentious twaddle" - there's always an interest in the aesthetics (the analysis of what makes a photo grab the eye/ mind) - and it's an opportunity to show of some nice sets of pics!

Ade-oh
02-16-2010, 05:47
The only 'photography' articles I find remotely interesting these days are those showcasing and discussing - in depth - the work of individual photographers. News and product reviews are available in a much more timely fashion from the internet, used gear from Ebay etc etc.

Photography magazines have their place, but I suspect nowadays it is mostly as a way for beginners to get their heads round basic equipment, techniques and ideas in their own time before plunging into the big, bad world of the 'net.

lawrence
02-16-2010, 06:00
I assume your talking about a printed magazine. For me the best photographic magazines are about photographs; nowadays you can get all the technical information you need from the internet (this forum being a prime example).

Like others, I went through a phase when I devoured every photographic magazine I could find, from Amateur Photographer to Aperture; this was during the heyday of photo magazine publishing in the early 70s so there were plenty out there. I saved many of them for decades and then a couple of years ago I had a clear-out and disposed of Popular Photography, Modern Photography, Camera Techniques and the like (I did keep a couple for nostalgia). The magazines I hung onto were Camera (Swiss), Creative Camera and Aperture. The reason is that these magazines provide something that the internet cannot -- the beauty of a well-reproduced photograph on the printed page. This was particularly the case with Camera (Swiss), which had the most wonderful gravure reproductions until the mid-70s.

Today I subscribe to just one photographic magazine called 'Inscape' which is produced in a bedroom in Crouch End. It's not expensive and it deals with photography in a way that I like by showcasing the work of keen amateurs. Sadly it's only A5 and not very well printed.

Having said all this, I think the real problem is that today most people are very happy to look at work on their 24" flat screen monitors, which is logical since most work has been produced digitally. However, I guess there could be a space for a magazine that deals with film based content only, both on a technical and visual level. A few days ago I heard an interview with Don McCullin who said that he still does his own developing and printing; it's great that there are still professionals out there who do this and certainly there are many on this forum who do too.

gns
02-16-2010, 06:17
The same thing I want in pictures. Something that will surprise me with its originality and intelligence. In other words, I don't know.

Gary

ooze
02-16-2010, 06:34
Let me try to list what I've found most inspiring and interesting in some of the past issues of various magazines I've followed:

1) Portfolios. Good ones please. Lenswork is excellent for that. You can't please everybody; so a variety of genres, styles, techniques is called for. And the reproduction must be top notch.

2) Intelligent essays and notes. Good examples are/were the late Bill Jay, Mike Johnston and...guess who?...Roger Hicks.

3) Black and White magazine in the UK had a few pages they called "The Printer's Art". I always read that with great interest. For me, this should be around the wet darkroom. I have no interest in the digital workflow. After all, it is the wet darkroom where the alchemy, the mystery lies; hence I find the writing around it much more interesting.

4) Again, the same magazine had a section called "Master Printers", with some insightful interviews with printers. With all that decline in commercial wet printing I don't know how feasible this would be.

5) Interviews with photographers. Possibly together with a portfolio.

Dave Wilkinson
02-16-2010, 06:46
Dear Roger,
As the instigator of the 'magazine mediocrity' thread ( which - surprisingly is still attracting replies ) perhaps I should state my personal likes and dislikes in photographic light - reading. Amateur Photographer is the mag. that I associate you with mostly, and the one that I have received regularly, since the halcyon days of Victor Blackman, Ron Spillman etc. - so my remarks are centered around it, although I think it must be a lot more difficult to maintain interest in a weekly publication than a monthly.
Firstly the 'likes', although not always agreeing, I've enjoyed your page from day one and was quite miffed when dubious alternatives from Mr.Fuchs and Ogden Chestnutt (is he a 'real' person?) started to appear, so more power to your elbow!...creep..creep. Ivor Matanle's exellent articles are always eagerly awaited, but seem to be a little smaller of late. The wonderful Geoffrey Crawley never fails to amaze - with his knowledge and informative articles, to me - a legend!. Now a few dislikes, I have a great admiration for the Joe Cornish's and Charlie Waite's of this world - I have several books, but that style, now continued regularly by the previous year's 'photog. of the year' winner getting in on the act, is all too prevalent and landscapes like 'the old man of Storr', 'Etive Mor' (might have wrong spelling here) 'Roseberry Topping' etc. appear in all the UK mags with monotony, and like yourself - the macro flower and bug shots hold no interest for me.
So what would I like to see?, well - more articles about, and pictures by the news and documentary doyens of the past - Bert Hardy, Dennis Thorpe etc etc and also the leading lights of today - in these fields, although I appreciate it can be difficult, more travel and geographic articles. Finally as someone that does not bother with RAW images ( a well exposed JPEG is usually fine for me) and loath to spend hours on manipulation, the mass of photoshop and PC type stuff is quickly passed over, although I do appreciate that this is a big part of the hobby for many, these days.
Obviously my views and wishes, as someone well into retirement years, will differ from those of a youngster just starting out in this great pastime!
Cheers, Dave.

bmasonoh
02-16-2010, 06:50
The magazine that currently best works for me is Lenswork. Here's what I like about it:
1. No advertisements
2. No gear reviews
3. Real portfolios of real photographers
4. Great interviews

How it could be made better:
1. Make it a monthly publication
2. Include an article each month on famous photographers, i.e. Bresson, Cappa, Weston, Lange, etc. - Many younger photographer only familiar with the names but are not familiar with the people and their actual work.
3. I'd like to see an article a month of a film topic, i.e. developing, printing, techniques, chemicals, film types, etc.

Too much to ask? Probably. Not enough people seem interested in the history and process anymore.

kermaier
02-16-2010, 06:53
Let me try to list what I've found most inspiring and interesting in some of the past issues of various magazines I've followed:

1) Portfolios. Good ones please. Lenswork is excellent for that. You can't please everybody; so a variety of genres, styles, techniques is called for. And the reproduction must be top notch.

Lenswork is currently the only photography magazine I like. Superb print reproduction, interviews with photographers, usually interesting editorial essays. Long may it live.


2) Intelligent essays and notes. Good examples are/were the late Bill Jay, Mike Johnston and...guess who?...Roger Hicks.

3) Black and White magazine in the UK had a few pages they called "The Printer's Art". I always read that with great interest. For me, this should be around the wet darkroom. I have no interest in the digital workflow. After all, it is the wet darkroom where the alchemy, the mystery lies; hence I find the writing around it much more interesting.

4) Again, the same magazine had a section called "Master Printers", with some insightful interviews with printers. With all that decline in commercial wet printing I don't know how feasible this would be.

5) Interviews with photographers. Possibly together with a portfolio.

I used to love B&W Photography (UK). But ever since a series of editorial shake ups began a couple of years ago, they've been on a long slide of monotonocally declining interest. Quality of writing is down (Mike Johnston hasn't appeared in a long time); more space is given over to gear reviews (not even rigorous ones!) and advertorials than to photographers' work; quality of reproduction has suffered; and Photoshop technique is steadily displacing all other technique. My subscription renewal notice arrived with this month's issue, and with sadness I'm planning to ignore it.

So, what do I want? Lenswork, the B&W Photography of 5 years ago, and something exciting and unpretentious about the current world of photography in general (not Pop Photo, American Photo, Shutterbug, etc.).

Ari

Sparrow
02-16-2010, 07:05
The same thing I want in pictures. Something that will surprise me with its originality and intelligence. In other words, I don't know.

Gary

Absolutely, I started buying Zoom back in the early 70s, so far back in fact they were able to carry that Fuji-Girl add that members of a certain age will be fondly familiar with. Off the shelves of W H Smiths 6 issues a year, big, shiny and beautifully printed full of interesting stuff from Autochromes to challenging contemporary.

The problem was the £2.00 an issue it cost, a not inconsiderable sum in those days. I still get it most years and it’s still big, shiny and beautifully printed, probably technically better than ever, but at published by subscription only at just €7.00 now the content must be suffering to keep the unit cost down.

Sparrow
02-16-2010, 07:24
I claim nostalgia rather than chauvinism

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2749/4141180659_948748d86d_b.jpg

not safe at work

Dave Wilkinson
02-16-2010, 07:26
a centerfold.... :eek: Yes - it would probably appeal to a lot of the mag. buyers....and a lot of the contributers here!:rolleyes:

Beemermark
02-16-2010, 07:27
I was thinking the other day I'd like to see a magazine like LOOK. Mostly pictures without much more than captions. One thing I think most magazines miss today are good editors.

John Lawrence
02-16-2010, 07:27
A debate on digital v film photography and whether Kodak and Leica have a future. :)

Sparrow
02-16-2010, 07:30
Yes - it would probably appeal to a lot of the mag. buyers....and a lot of the contributers here!:rolleyes:

the rest of the nudes were art … and the crossword was excellent

johannielscom
02-16-2010, 08:21
Most of the mentioned magazines aren't for sale in my vicinity. Do you write German, Roger? There's a brilliant German magazine called Photographie that could do with good articles, although it never is without any.

I would also like to see a series of interviews with photographers of long standing, addressing subjects like how being a photographer has changed the way they look at the world, how their trade has changed, be it journalism, exhibitions, fashion photography, documentary, whatever. What would the vehicle of their creativity be if it weren't photography? How has their choice of materials affected their work: film, gear, digital, print?

Depth interviews on either of these subjects: one, maybe two of them in a single interview. Not just touching them, but exploring them!

I'd like to see a Sebastiao Salgado interview on his process of obtaining wet prints of digital files, for instance.

wgerrard
02-16-2010, 08:48
There's an existing thread on mediocrity - so what do you want instead?



Roger, I find articles, especially reviews, much more informative and useful if I come to them knowing the writers' tastes and proclivities, even if they are the opposite of mine. That can only happen, of course, if I actually read a sufficient number of articles by a writer. But, the writers also need to expose those personal tastes in their articles. If I know how someone uses a camera, what they expect from a camera, then a personal account of time spent using a new camera is much more informative than a page full of numbers and charts.

Head-to-head comparisons of hardware are typically useless unless the reader has already narrowed a purchasing choice down to those two items.

I'd prefer more technique pieces, fewer pages devoted to nice pix. I like nice pix, but I don't need to buy a magazine for that. Authoritative and trustworthy how-to pieces are in short supply.

That leads to a broader point: I'd like a magazine to act as a filter and an editor of all the noise that's elsewhere in the media and the internet. Have a point of view, but don't hide it. Worry more about being fair and accurate and considerably less about the pseudo-objectivity that's rampant these days.

Bottom line: Have a personalty and a voice. If I like that voice and that personality, they could run recipes and I'd still read them.

Aesthetically, I like magazines with a sense of design. Good layout taxes the brain, not the pocketbook.

Gumby
02-16-2010, 08:53
I would like to see either: true committment to a specialized photographic topic (e.g. large format, traditional darkroom), or a well-balanced treatment of the breadth of photography. One of the most annoying trends I'm observing is that some magazine articles are not much more than recitations of internet forum chatter.

antiquark
02-16-2010, 10:24
Something I've always been interested in is how good photographers work. What do they do all day? How do they approach their subjects, etc? For example, I've always wondered how Steve McCurry does what he does. He's talked about his methods a bit in interviews and and his blog, but a more in depth article by a journalist would be interesting.

Roger Hicks
02-16-2010, 10:45
Something I've always been interested in is how good photographers work. What do they do all day? How do they approach their subjects, etc? For example, I've always wondered how Steve McCurry does what he does. He's talked about his methods a bit in interviews and and his blog, but a more in depth article by a journalist would be interesting.
Dear Steve,

I suspect that the problem here is that most photographers don't have a routine, or a single specific way of approaching anyone or anything. And, of course, the majority of professional photography isn't about photography, so while this might interest you (or indeed me) I'm not sure about its broader appeal.

Also, of course, you have to persuade the photographer to 'waste' an hour or two talking to the journalist.

I'm not saying it's a bad idea. I'm just saying that this is probably why it's not done more.

Cheers,

R.

Lilserenity
02-16-2010, 10:47
I think all I like in a magazine is two things:

1. Lots of retrospectives and essays from different topic matter, from war zones to people doing abstracts from urban architecture say, colour and black and white, be that current or past luminaries.

2. A decent dedicated space to up and coming peeps, as well as amateurs engaged in interesting work. I don't just mean 2-3 pages, I mean a decent part of the magazine.

I'm not interested in technique, film or digital but an even split of both would be good, say 4 pages digital technique, 4 pages darkroom technique. Then a letters page with tech questions and general comment.

And some columns.

I'm not bothered about equipment reviews at all, leave that to all the other magazines. And that includes reviews of film/darkroom stuff too, not just digital stuff.

Pictures and end results is all I am bothered about.

Basically I have summed up a magazine that would

a.) Be really expensive
b.) Die a very quick and sudden death from commercial uncompetitiveness :)

Vicky

Nando
02-16-2010, 12:12
I rarely read/view magazines now. For me, the world-wide web has largely replaced them.

I really like the format of Lenswork and used to be a subscriber. After a few years, I eventually found the content a bit repetative as Lenswork was largely a one-person show. It also didn't cover colour photography. I don't shoot a lot of colour myself but I really like seeing good work in colour. I once saw a portfolio in that magazine and visited the artist's website. On his website, the photographs were all in colour and looked much better than the b&w versions in Lenswork. I didn't really like that the artist had to convert his photos to black and white for the magazine.

I would very much like a magazine in the same vein as Lenswork but with colour work featured along with B&W photos, and with interviews conducted and articles authored by a variety of people.

Nando
02-16-2010, 12:23
Something I've always been interested in is how good photographers work. What do they do all day? How do they approach their subjects, etc? For example, I've always wondered how Steve McCurry does what he does. He's talked about his methods a bit in interviews and and his blog, but a more in depth article by a journalist would be interesting.

You should check out "On Being a Photographer" by David Hurn and Bill Jay

kermaier
02-16-2010, 12:30
I rarely read/view magazines now. For me, the world-wide web has largely replaced them.

I really like the format of Lenswork and used to be a subscriber. After a few years, I eventually found the content a bit repetative as Lenswork was largely a one-person show. It also didn't cover colour photography. I don't shoot a lot of colour myself but I really like seeing good work in colour. I once saw a portfolio in that magazine and visited the artist's website. On his website, the photographs were all in colour and looked much better than the b&w versions in Lenswork. I didn't really like that the artist had to convert his photos to black and white for the magazine.

I would very much like a magazine in the same vein as Lenswork but with colour work featured along with B&W photos, and with interviews conducted and articles authored by a variety of people.

Yes! That would be good, and I agree with you about the sub-optimal constraint Lenswork has in reproducing color work in black and white.

::Ari

Leigh Youdale
02-16-2010, 13:19
There's an existing thread on mediocrity - so what do you want instead?

inspiration to go out and take pictures, or to make you think about what you shoot and why; and finally photographs

Cheers,

R.

Yes, Roger. I'd like a bit of inspiration , a bit of information and a bit of illustration.

It would need to be well written - I'm thinking the editorial panel should be Mike Johnston and Roger Hicks.
It would be bi-monthly - too hard to fill a monthly mag without dredging.
It would include a page covering new cameras/equipment, but for information with links, not as full reviews, and one page reviewing vintage stuff.
An article on or interview with a significant photographer (new or old) together with some examples of their work.
And a section on processing of some kind (and I don't necessarily mean Photoshop although many of us use a hybrid system so I wouldn't exclude it).

Now B&W (UK) used to do this pretty well. I've subscribed for some years but I have to agree with others that from my point of view it's declined since Ailsa McWhinnie vacated the Editor's chair. It could probably be rescued but I suspect the magazine's owners are chasing a different demographic and more revenue these days and are happy with what they're putting out.

Whether the model I've described is viable or not I don't know. There are a couple of magazines here in Australia (which are just full of digital and Photoshop everything) but nevertheless seem to survive very well with high quality printing and a quarterly schedule. Maybe that's part of the answer - less is more. And we also have an equivalent to AP that comes out monthly. I get those occasionally just to find out what's going on and where stuff can be found but the content (for a non-digital reader) is of limited interest.

But I do go to TOP every morning before I do anything else!

johannielscom
02-16-2010, 13:22
I say you should take to depth-interviewing those photographers Roger, I bet Fred and you can agree on how to proceed on that :D

Jason808
02-16-2010, 13:46
I really miss Bill Jay's writing. To borrow from an interview he did with Brooks Jensen: after a meeting with David Hurn, who gave a dismissive review of Jay's portfolio, Hurn told Jay that there needs to be more writing about photography, and it's what started Jay on his path.

There are zillions of pictures out there, I can find thousands to look at and enjoy daily if I wish but very few people talking about what, why, or how they did it other than the usual 1/125, f/16 @ ISO 100 with a Canikon DXX and Wide-to-heavy expensive lens.

That said, It can include gear also but I think it needs to go past the typical reviews.

If you've ever heard the LensWork Extended interviews, that's the type of content I would like to read. I enjoy your AP writings, and I enjoy the few printed interviews in LW. What may be 'pretentious twaddle' to some may be insightful to someone else.

cnphoto
02-16-2010, 14:47
I would love a magazine that focused on several long interviews with photographers--say, three different kinds of photography per issue, you know, a street photographer, a digital abstract person, a journalist, etc.--that include discussions of the technology they use and how they use it. I'd also love columns about specific cameras, old and new, and other imaging technology--their history, specs, design flaws, and so on.

Basically, I would like a magazine that addressed photography as a creative endeavor tied up with the use of tools. A nerdy mag, for people who love cameras, and love using them even more.

THIS.

inspiring interviews and stories from and about inspiring photographers showcasing some of their inspiring photographs. i pick up magazines to be INSPIRED. that inspiration then pushes me to push myself and take photographs and try new things... i do not buy or read photo magazines (aside from flip through briefly on the odd occassion at the newstand). i generally buy specialist magazines most often solely for their photographs (and a lot of the time they are different language publications that i cannot read). a lot of magazines i buy for the photographs first, articles second.

sjw617
02-16-2010, 17:06
When I buy a magazine it is because there is something new. I am tired of the same articles recycled for years in all the "major" publications. Inspiring articles are rare but OK go for it.
I don't like too many gear reviews but maybe why a pro (pj or artist) uses the specific equipment they use. Review of "older" gear sounds worse than reviews of P&S's all year long.
In a thread here on RFF there was mention of editing. Maybe a good series of what good editing is and how to actually do it.
Or maybe a good series on composition. I see many pictures that I feel have poor composition (I am not a pro or have a degree).
How to build a 'portfolio'... would encompass both editing and composition and add how to give your work direction or flow.
Developing a personal style would be a good idea but hard to guide people towards their goal.
If i find an article that interests me I buy the magazine but do not find a magazine worth subscribing to.

Steve

aizan
02-16-2010, 21:45
when you've got all this on the internet, you don't need a magazine:

the online photographer
5b4
magnum blog
luminous landscape
apug
large format photography forum
photo.net
thom hogan
roger and frances
dante stella
sean reid
erwin puts

the only thing i'd add to this list is an english translation of asahi and nippon camera.

but that doesn't really answer the question. i will subscribe to a photo magazine in a heartbeat if it does the following:

- reviews photography exhibits, monographs (new and old)....
- commissions essays about photography history, genres, photographers, photographing and the photographer's life in general (like on TOP, ben lifson's 'making pictures' articles that used to be on rawworkflow, and Robert Adams's little books)....
- interviews photographers without art speak.
- prints portfolios from great photographers (dead and alive), rising stars, and talented amateurs. even better if it's a thin book on its own, with nice paper and printing at whatever size is most suitable.
- has a great op-ed column.
- teaches me advanced printing techniques in b&w and color (contrast masking!).
- revives the lost art of mixing your own developing chemicals, and how to adjust store bought developers to suit your needs.
- guides you through DIY projects, such as how to make an 8x10 field camera, fix up an old speed graphic or other inexpensive large format camera, convert a 4x5 beseler or omega to 8x10, or make cabin projectors for larger formats (6x7+). in other words, how to make certain things that are not very accessible.
- teaches you common camera repairs (clean lenses with haze and fungus, re-lubricate rough or dry focusing helicals, fix russian 6x6 slrs with film transport problems, unjam slrs, how to realign rangefinders). you could get rick oleson to write it.
- step by step camera restorations by mike elek.
- features film cameras in the $500-1500 range, as well as classic cameras (especially how to distinguish the variations), and obscure cheap thrills (can include cheap, old lenses, too. must show photos in this case!). follow the japanese magazine model for this section.
- pay house calls to well known people and businesses in the online community, e.g. mike johnston, jeff ladd, tom abrahamsson, stephen gandy, dante stella, don goldberg, shintaro yaginuma, harry fleenor, ken hough, crr luton, s.k. grimes, john van stelton @ focal point, keith canham, dick phillips, ebony camera, arca swiss, gandolfi, alpa, razzledog, ctein, sean reid, erwin puts, roger hicks, ken hansen, KEH, dirk rösler @ japan exposures, photobackpacker, jörg m. colberg, ilford, efke, nazraeli press....
- misc. arcana, like retouching large format negs, developing by inspection, etc.

that's about it.

sjw617
02-17-2010, 04:48
Aizan,
While some of your suggestions are very good others are so narrow that they will never be seen. Printing techniques, chemicals, your DIY projects, camera repair, camera restorations and film & classic cameras are so narrow that I don't think any magazine will "bother" with them. They are aimed at a very small minority of camera users.
Even reviewing art exhibits would be of a narrow interest in the real world - but I like the idea.
Most, if not all, magazines are geared to more digital and a wide audience. They have to have very 'vanilla' articles to get the readership. I wonder if magazines are really for beginners and not someone who has been shooting for years.

Roger, who do you think most / all magazines real audience is these days?

Steve

Roger Hicks
02-17-2010, 05:19
Aizan,
While some of your suggestions are very good others are so narrow that they will never be seen. Printing techniques, chemicals, your DIY projects, camera repair, camera restorations and film & classic cameras are so narrow that I don't think any magazine will "bother" with them. They are aimed at a very small minority of camera users.
Even reviewing art exhibits would be of a narrow interest in the real world - but I like the idea.
Most, if not all, magazines are geared to more digital and a wide audience. They have to have very 'vanilla' articles to get the readership. I wonder if magazines are really for beginners and not someone who has been shooting for years.

Roger, who do you think most / all magazines real audience is these days?

Steve

Dear Steve,

Bloody good question! If I knew I'd start a new magazine aimed at them! Though I suspect Damien at Amateur Photographer has a better idea than most.

I just got last week's AP, and they're coming very close to what a lot of people here are asking for, e.g. a couple of really good photographer interviews (2 pp of Steve Bloom photographing macaws, plus Benjamin Rusnack on photographing for Food for the Poor, 5pp including a stunning opening double-page spread), the background to the famous James Dean photo in the rain in Times Square by Dennis Stock, 3pp with the contact sheet on a full page, reader galleries, advice on how to improve pics readers have sent in, a good article on exposure in snow by Lee Frost (even though he repeats the common error that an 'average' scene reflects 18% instead of 12-14%), a review of an A3 printer and (can't win 'em all) 5 pages on Photoshop Elements 8. Plus letters, Q&A, news, book and other reviews, and guess who on the back page (it's Chesnutt next week, but I'm back the week after).

And that's just one week!

Not all weeks are that good, but most are pretty damn' good. I'm going to point Damien (the editor) at this thread so he can see what people want.

Cheers,

R.

antiquark
02-17-2010, 08:55
Those who cannot describe what they are doing in short words (or at least in common words) are often unable to explain what they are doing at all. Instead they hide behind a smokescreen of obfuscatory jargon.

What does "obfuscatory" mean? I am unfamiliar with that long word. :D

aizan
02-17-2010, 09:28
i know this stuff probably won't be seen on the printed page, but i'm not sure my interests are narrow. what i've basically described are the interests of the online film photography community, which is compensating for the dearth of information in the printed media. most importantly, the material i want to see is more challenging and in-depth than what you usually see online, things that beg to be in print.

paulfish4570
02-17-2010, 10:22
four rounds of .30-'06, 165-grain hornady spire points loaded to 2,850 feet per second. uh, sorry, wrong kind of magazine ... :)

i don't care about the technical stuff, except to learn what equipment was used - and why - for a particular shot. of course, without a bunch of technical, stuff, gear reviews and such, advertising is hard to sell because gear, film, etc., are all the advertisers have to sell. run the single-copy price up to make a little money, then starving photo artists can't afford to buy.

a cyber mag is the way to go, but then it will be a labor of love. what would you rather spend your money on? some more film? or a print magazine?

aizan
02-17-2010, 10:24
"how" is a graphic design publication.

as far as that goes, i guess my magazine would be the film photo equivalent of "eye", "baseline", "dot-dot-dot", and the old "typographica" and "emigre" all rolled into one.

aizan
02-17-2010, 11:00
i would donate a kidney for dot-dot-dot #1. :bang:

Dave Wilkinson
02-17-2010, 11:13
i would donate a kidney for dot-dot-dot #1. :bang: all sounds a bit dotty to me! :eek:

Roger Hicks
02-17-2010, 12:16
What does "obfuscatory" mean? I am unfamiliar with that long word. :D

That was in fact the point. From obfuscare, to darken or obscure. Part of the readership will understand and think nothing of it; part will understand and feel superior; and part will not understand and feel angry.

Cheers,

R.

Bike Tourist
02-17-2010, 12:22
At one time I subscribed to them all. I don't read any these days — I have the internet. I'm afraid most print publications are going down the same road to extinction.

FrankS
02-17-2010, 13:57
The internet, with Google search and photo forums like this, satisfies all my curiousity and needs that photo magazines used to do. Information on the internet is available on demand, ususally I can find exactly what I want, at the depth I want, and many times it is interactive, and it is free. Magazines just can't do that.

nathanp
02-19-2010, 04:23
I just got last week's AP, and they're coming very close to what a lot of people here are asking for


I like AP and it's definitely the best thing to pick up when out shopping at Tesco/Asda/Sainsburys. I do wonder what a monthly version would be like - maybe I should compile my own out of the weekly editions :)

As for what I'd like to read about, I'd like articles with information on things like composition, seeing creatively and more general artistic advice. Being a fan of film and RF cameras I'd also like articles on some of the lesser known film cameras that can be picked up cheaply for fun. It might be nice to read interviews with more amateurs too - about what they photograph and why, that sort of thing. I can't relate to a pro in Africa photographing lions with a 600mm L series superlens, I'd be more interested in seeing what one can photograph on a wet weekend in Swansea.

One thing AP does that I really like is the "On this day.." part at the front, where an extract from an old issue is reproduced. It may sound a bit cheesy but one of the things I like about photography is the history. And that list of uses for empty 120 film spool is still relevant :D

Ade-oh
02-19-2010, 04:37
I like AP and it's definitely the best thing to pick up when out shopping at Tesco/Asda/Sainsburys. I do wonder what a monthly version would be like - maybe I should compile my own out of the weekly editions :)



If it was monthly, I suspect it would look exactly like all the rest of the dreadful photomagazines out there. At least being weekly means that it can be reasonably topical and react quickly to news.

I'm the wrong person to contribute to this debate because if I want to see good photography, I'll go to an exhibition, or buy a magazine like Vogue, or National Geographic or whatever; and if I want to find out how to do something technical, I'll look it up on the net.

MaxElmar
02-19-2010, 12:35
It's old-fashioned (perhaps) but I like Shutterbug, and I always read Roger and Frances' columns, the other contributors, and the ads. I think SB is doing a good job of reinventing itself for the modern era. I stopped reading periodocals or journals about the art of photography - I just don't give a rats ass about what anyone has to say about it - I just like to go out and do it. (I think getting my MFA kinda' ruined me.) Don't get me wrong - I still like to see good photography by others, but I just go to museums (and other places) to do that.

Spluff
02-19-2010, 13:04
Roger,

Many, many years ago in AP I came across one of your articles where you dissected a photograph, which actually I thought was pretty ordinary. But your insight into the compositional technique, the discussion on the exposure etc. was incredibly informative. Every now and then, it would be great to show us what you see when you take a picture.

Rgds

Roger Hicks
02-19-2010, 14:28
Roger,

Many, many years ago in AP I came across one of your articles where you dissected a photograph, which actually I thought was pretty ordinary. But your insight into the compositional technique, the discussion on the exposure etc. was incredibly informative. Every now and then, it would be great to show us what you see when you take a picture.

Rgds

Interesting thought. Thanks. I'll try.

Cheers,

R.

anglophone1
02-20-2010, 22:05
AG magazine does it for me.
Only quarterly, expensive, but beautifully put together, an excellent blend of technical, asthetic and interview.
No Ads!
Bill Jay piece in current issue..........
See
http://www.picture-box.com/current.html
Clive

shimokita
02-20-2010, 22:36
Hi Roger,
I have always found "Nippon Camera" a good example of a monthly publication. It is only available (like their website) in Japanese. Good combination of what's new, what's coming, local events etc. There are long running articles, technical reviews, photo pages from local photogs in different films, etc - the normal content but well done on good quality paper. The head to head reviews are interesting. Of course being "ad" driven, there is a focus on the new stuff.

I also like their ad sections (toward the back of the mag) as a good way to find local (used) camera shops and keep up on pricing of the used equipment etc. They are not afraid to include some histrical stuff when a maker brings out something new. As well you might find some insite about the big camera companies. The section on what's new (not the big stuff, but the accories etc - trade mag style).

There are a couple of other major momthly publications (glossy), but since I started with Nippon Camera, I kind of stuck with that format.

Casey

surfer dude
03-08-2010, 05:42
Hi Roger,

Quite a few years ago I used to read a French photo magazine, the name of which escapes me now (maybe you'll remember?), which used to have very informal but informative little chats with great photographers (a couple were Jeanloup Sieff and Sebastiao Salgano). They would basically ask them the sort of questions you might ask these people if you were sitting down with them over a pastis - how did you get interested in photography, what gear do you use and why, what is your personal philosophy when you are going out to shoot, how do you approach your subjects etc. I thought that was about as instructive as I've seen in a photo mag.

Cheers, Phil

presspass
03-08-2010, 12:52
In sorting through old mags, and tossing the ones I no longer wanted, I found the older American Photographer magazines had a good mix of tech articles and user tips for those of us still doing our own darkroom work. They also had extensive - eight to 12 pages and sometimes more - articles on photographers, complete with works of same. Then the name changed to American Photo and the good stuff seemed left behind. So I saved the old ones and tossed the newer - early 1990s on. Lenswork is good but has become too digital to suit me. So, for now, my good magazines all seem to be old magazines.

FS Vontz
03-08-2010, 13:03
I want to be inspired to get out and take more pictures. I'm not going to tell you how to do this, unless I get the money you get for doing it.

Carterofmars
03-23-2010, 20:48
Articles on Street Photography, rangefinders, lenses, technique. Some features on the old masters and I mean long and in depth features; Winogrand, Bernice Abbott, Atget, Bresson, etc. Also, some of the old portrait/studio photographers from the 30's and 40's.

I'd buy that.

Dunk
04-08-2010, 09:21
I enjoy reading well written in-depth technical articles and for me BJP excels in this respect particularly since it changed to the new monthly format. JE's article comparing quality digital compact cameras in the BJP March issue was brilliant and his expertise and experience with these cameras really shone through.

AP magazine's articles tend to be shorter and less technical unless written by Geoffrey Crawley - but then he is a former BJP editor. I often wonder why GC hasn't been mentioned in the New Year Honours lists for all his services and contributions to photography over so many, many years.

I do not enjoy reading 'journalese' and silly words and phrases eg 'happy snapper', 'keen amateur' and that 'orrible word ... 'gear'

Neither do I enjoy having to look at photos of scruffy looking unshaven writers (our host excepted of course) at the start of their articles .

And I do not enjoy having to read adverts in the back pages of magazines which list used camera stocks which probably do not exist - and then be advised by magazine editors that 'the advertising is nothing to do with the editorial staff'. Surely editors have a duty to their readers in this respect?

I stopped buying AP regularly when the magazine started publishing a silly tongue in cheek article about a ficticious photographer on the back page - it was so silly and annoying I vowed never to waste money buying the magazine again - at least not when that stupid monthly story was published. And I often wonder who wrote it and to which readers, if any, it was aimed at?

dunk

mike-s
04-08-2010, 12:32
I still remember, as a teenager in the 1950s, rushing home on Thursday night to get my copy of AP. At that time the magazine was full of monochrome landscapes, tasteful nudes and articles (totally lacking in condescension) with technical details often going as far as giving the paper used in the print. The regular features, including the excellent amateur column "How I make my exhibition pictures", "Conversations at the club" and Lancelot Vining's somewhat quaintly titled "Miniature camera gossip" proved more than a match for grammar-school mathematics and history homework.

I can't help feeling things have gone somewhat downhill since. Modern magazines with their various editors seeming to be trying to outdo each other in displaying their technical know-how, their deference toward professionals and the sameness of much of the imagery are moving too far into the area of processing and manipulation and too far away from the joy of taking pictures.

What do I want in a photography magazine? I want one that is about photography.