The only photography magazine that I read regularly and subscribe to is LensWork. That fact that there are no advertisements, that there are three photographer’s work featured in each issue with a significant number of images from each, and that focus on the creative process are what got me hooked. Truly an Photographic Art magazine.
And then there is the print quality. As a photography magazine, the team behind LensWork (photographers themselves) take great care in the print quality. Each issue comes in a sturdy cardboard envelope. I open each issue on the day it arrives and take great care in handling it. I want to keep each in pristine condition. I keep the envelope and store the issue in it until I’m done reading (this is because I typically read my issues while I’m sitting on airplanes, so the envelope absorbs all the abuse of my briefcase). I view each issue as a collectors item.
So I was quite disappointed a few days ago when my latest issue arrive and the envelope was severely bent. It appear as if the magazine was bent in half across the spine! Oh, how disappointing. Not that I’m disappointed with LensWork, more with the postal service who abused my fine work of art.
As I thought about this more and more, I realized that this is more of a statement toward the state of the photography magazine industry than anything else. I go to the book store and I see dozens upon dozens of photography magazine. Most are crammed full of ads that don’t add any value to me. Even the only commercial photography magazines that I used to like have let me down. Practical Photography and Photography Monthly (competing magazines published out of the UK) were always different than their American counter parts. But lately, I can tell you exactly what each issue’s cover will look like because it’s the same as every other issue…and on both magazines. The next issue will be October’s and it will have a title of “Take your Best Fall Landscapes Yet!”. They will both have great images of the UK landscape, some great tips on shooting, editing, etc. And I won’t find anything exciting about much of it…ok, mildly excited about the landscape images.
And yet I get excited about each issue of LensWork. Like every publisher (whether in print, electronic, or even audio) there are things to gripe about or disagreements with editorials…and that’s a good thing. But I don’t keep old issues of other magazines around as collector’s items.
Which just means that I have to head out to the book store to pick up an un-crushed copy of issue 72.