Monday, 23 July 2012

Photographic Magazines

Editors of UK photographic magazines have a hard time. Publishers want and need maximum sales and that means catering for as large a market as possible. The mass market, sadly, has the attention span of a gnat, the educational achievements of a 1950s ten-year old and the intelligence of a a less than bright lowland gorilla. Editors who have tried to raise the standards have been pushed out of the way over the years as publishers have made it clear that only the volume of sales count for their survival and their advertisers’ profits.
I picked up a copy of Practical Photography. This once very good magazine was pushed downmarket a number of years ago. Quite clearly, it is firmly entrenched there. Amateur Photographer still tries to achieve a balance, sometimes successfully but often not. It has the added difficulty of being a weekly publication. I thought that Digital Photographer was trying hard and in the right direction for a while but has recently gone downhill.
One Editor who, wherever he has been, has tried to raise the standard is William Cheung. His Advanced Photographer started very well and I now subscribe to the digital version. Recently there has been — for me — an overemphasis on studio lighting with photon-by-photon accounts of set-ups for portraiture. Time will tell if this one can keep up its early high standard.
I occasionally buy a copy of British Journal of Photography to see what angle ‘professional’ photographers are taking on what it considers good work and good equipment. However, and cutting beneath the arty-farty self-reverential tone, only a few features justify an occasional purchase.