The weather has been so foul recently that I’ve found myself huddling close to the radiator, photography magazine in one hand and cup of tea in the other. I know that the hardier landscape photographers of my acquaintance will be out there regardless, capturing the fleeting moment of dazzling light between the rain and the gale force winds, but I have frankly no inclination to join them.
Photography magazines come in many flavours, but here are my top choices just in case you’re wondering what might be good. Or perhaps you’re fed up with seeing the same re-hashed seasonal stories in your current magazine. Yes, this is a perrenial problem in photography magazines, there are only so many guides to shooting “in low light” “for autumn colour” “long exposures” and so on, that you can really be interested in!
I talked about the Lenswork podcast in my photography podcasts guide last year, and everything I said about it also applies to the print magazine. It’s a small format, bi-monthly magazine produced in the US but easy and not too expensive to subscribe to in the UK. Lenswork is primarily a showcasing magazine with portfolios of work from different photographers each month plus editorials. The thing I like best about Lenswork is the sheer variety of work they show. You’ll get brand new work from digital photographers alongside a collection of black and white film images from the 1960s. The editor and I clearly share some taste in photography as there is rarely a portfolio I do not enjoy and given the mixture of landscape, abstracts and documentary style work that is saying something.
I’ve just renewed my Lenswork subscription because so far I’ve found no repetition in the editorial articles and they are always thoughtful and accessible. For what is essentially a fine art publication the writing style is neither arty nor snooty and retains a conversational style throughout. I also bought the book “The Creative Life in Photography” by Lenswork editor Brooks Jensen and thoroughly recommend it!
Black + White photography walks a fine line between showcase and teaching magazine. The whole aesthetic of the print publication is cool and high quality and they spend a good deal of time on both inspiration and perspiration. By that I mean that you’ll find plenty of portfolios from talented people (inspiration) alongside project ideas you can try yourself (perspiration). The great thing about the projects is that they aren’t formulas for creating certain images, they are just ideas to get you thinking.
Another great feature of recent editions has been articles on printing, and not just how to get a nice print (which is in itself useful!) but also ideas for making things like booklets and other forms of presentation. I really like this holistic approach to photography, its about more than just making the image, it’s about the whole process from visualisation to printed product. I really think that reading this magazine has made me think more creatively about what I do with my images as well as how I make them.
While not strictly a photography magazine, Aesthetica is the latest edition to my print subscriptions and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve recently become interested in fashion photography and opted for this subscription because it carries plenty of art, fashion and pop culture material and will I think be a great source of inspiration for styling shoots (and possibly my wardrobe!). Aesthetica does feature a lot of photography, some is featured as photography but much is editorial accompaniment and even that is really beautiful.
There’s also a lot of great information about exhibitions all over the world, and since I’m not likely to get to many of them it’s great to read about the artists and see a snapshot of the content, all while drinking a coffee at home.
Since this is quite a new subscription for me it’s hard to say whether the content will start to repeat, but I’m hopeful that it’s focus on current and upcoming exhibitions and new work will mean that it won’t. In any case I recommend picking up a couple of issues if you’re at all interested in art, fashion or pop culture in the broader sense.