Sunday, August 21, 2005

R.I.P. Analog Photo Magazines?


If you're into photography, particularly digital photography, there are a ton of magazines out there that offer good, useable advice and feature wonderful portfolios.

But what about those of us who also are into good, old-fashioned analog photography (that's film photography for those of you who care). Well, there aren't that many publications left that specialize in analog topics and the ones that do cover the traditional subjects basically suck.

It's obvious digital is the wave of the future. And publications accept ads from digital equipment manufacturers because there's plenty of dollars to go around and there are plenty of advertisers to go around.

But analog is not dead yet. In fact, there are two new publications covering analog photography that either just recently debuted or are about to make their debut.

One publication, called Inked (it just recently announced it will change its name to Focus ) just put out its first issue. But already it plans to revamp is publication and change its focus. It used to be geared toward collectors of black and white analog photography. Now it plans to cater more to photographers than collectors. The first issue (which was actually the second issue. The first issue was so riddled with mistakes and typos the publisher said he recalled all the issues and went back to the drawing board).

Then there's a new publication called Emulsion. It's premier issue hasn't come out yet, but it promises to be just what the analog photographer ordered. It claims to be so anti-digital that it will not accept digital advertising or cover digital topics.

One can only hope.

And then there's the Ansel Adams of analog photography magazines, LensWork. if you believe all the chatter on the newsqroups about this magazine, LensWork is the savior of analog photography. But the problem is, it's boring and its portfolios are so pretentious.

Granted, its a beautifully printed magazine. It's printed on heavy paper stock and meticulously edited. The photos are reproduced wonderfully. But it's boring. The photos are your typical pretentious "art photography" crap that passes for good work.

They also put out a CD version called LensWork Extended, which offer more photos and photographer interviews than they can stuff into the magazine. These photos are no better than the paper version's.

I subscribed to both versions, just to see what all the fuss was about. I've read four issues so far and cannot for the life of me figure out why anybody reads this magazine. The articles cover the typical "art photographer" pseudo-philosophy crap about hiking in the mountains and sitting around for six hours waiting for the light to be just right.

But by the way this magazine is described on the newsgroups, you'd think it was the Second Coming or something. Obviously, there's a need for good, quality analog photography publications. But what we're getting so far ain't it. I guess when you're desperate, you'll take whatever slop they throw at you.

1 comment:

Mark Z said...

I think LensWork has some great photos in this month's issue. Robb Kendrick's wet-plate images are awesome. Not boring at all.

Mark