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Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by Aggie, Sep 8, 2003.
I've been catching my breath, and preparing an answer for the idea of using APUG as **THE** ulitimate source of intelligence of a "Shall we go digital or not" decision... and to some of the specifics as to how it was done over there.
Whatever ... Anchell was, and continues to be, a significant contributor to the conception I have of my personal aesthetic world. Draft him ... "*HIS* ideas are truly worthwhile ... I don't have any idea of the rest of that group.
I don't think a printed magazine would be feasable. The minimum print runs must be huge. An online magazine however would/might be possible. I've read some car based ones that exist like that. They usually have 3-5 articles each month, with the previous ones staying online, slowly building up a sizable knowledge base. APUG already can take articles (which it already does on an adhoc basis) so maybe formalising that (with a dedicated main homepage) with regular articles each month that someone (Aggie ) could be in charge of (Editor in Chief!). As a past editor/publisher of a Kart Club newsletter, I know just organising enough freebie articles would be a sizable job.
While we are at it ... I have a suggestion: Brazenly. out-and-out flat **COPY** "Camera & Darkroom"!! As long ago as that magazine went under, there is *still* a dedicated following. I have *no* doubt that I am not alone in re-reading the old issues, and crying in my socks when I reflect on the fact that it is no longer available.
What a lineup of contributors!! Gordon Lewis, Ctein, Steve Anchell, A.D. Coleman, Tom Fuller, Mike Johnston, Alfred A. Blaker, Dave Howard, Dean Brierly... Tom Harrop, and Ana Jones as editors....
To tell the truth, APUG is the closest thing I've found to C&D.... that is, to a large measure, why I am here.
I think a print publication would be a very dicey proposition in light of the struggles that Steve has had getting subscribers to Photovision and the fact that View Camera and Camera Arts have had to move increasingly to digital content, to gain new readers or satisfy existing ones.
A web based publication would be the way to go. But then you have to decide how are you going to finance the site. Advertising with pop-ups and banner ads? Do you go the subscription route, and who is going to maintain the site and be responsible for gathering content.
If we do explore the web option, you need to contact Ed Buffaloe at Unblinkingeye.com. He has the closest thing in many ways to a web-zine with galleries or artists, technical articles that he adds to with regularity written by some outstanding practioners of photography. He might be willing to provide some input or connections, maybe be a contributor.
I think essays and articles about photography, and photographs should be included, not just how to articles and interviews with photogs. Photovision does a good job with its columnists and another example is the essays in every issue of Lenswork.
The suggestion to mimic C&D is a good starting point. But I also think we need to think hard about the advantages the Web provides and use them to our advantage to create something unique.
As content grows, you could also look at the possibility of reproducing issues or selected articles, portfolios and essays onto a CD and selling to subscribers to help promote the site.
Anyway just some ideas.
One other suggestion when it is up and running, please place a one year moratorium on publishing color photos of slot canyons. Refer such submissions to View Camera magazine or Outdoor Photographer. They seem to need such material about every other issue.
I second that.
Perhaps base it on Black And White Photography (UK mag) and just do a better website than theirs (the one of theirs I found sucked).
Expand the moratorium to include Anazasi ruins and Half Dome Mountain as well, and I'm in
I agree that a print magazine is a little dicey right about now... What about having a pdf soft copy "magazine"?
I think a web-based option would probably be a better bet than paper, especially given how spread apart we are. Logistically and financially it would probably be better too.
How about a pay-per-view area of this site, possibly with the articles trickled onto the main site after a suitable delay?
I would love to be involved, but have, umm, another magazine that takes up just a little bit of my time... If I can help in terms of advice/ideas/proofreading, then please just let me know.
By the way, you're quite right Robert, our website does leave a little to be desired. It's being worked on, I promise!
Lets not throw in the towel before we even beguin. I think Aggie is a smart person and she can give us a synopsis of what it would entail to produce a mgazine after some research. Perhaps some of you are correct and it would be too much effort/money, but perhaps not. If simmons could do it, why not her/us?
I envision something more along the lines of Lenswork magazine with a very big difference. This magazine will exclusevely be for analog photographers, using everything from minox to ULF both in color and B&W. I dont think there is a magazine out there like this. I would like it to be more of a showcase for all the different formats and techniques.
PV was a step in the right direction, but we certainly would have to be different. I know it will be an uphill battle, but then like the saying goes, if it was easy everybody would do it....no?
After the production costs research, if we can lock some advertisement to produce the magazine then it might be feasible.
Someone mentioned we are too far apart for an effort like this, I think this is our strenght, while PV, PT, VC, CA etc have mostly US based photographers we have access to photographer from all over the world which will make the magazine more interesting, IMO. For example Niege lives in Australia, he can contact some known photographers there working with analog and we can use them. Woildnt it be neat to see photos from Australia other than the Sydney opera house and than big rock?...
C`mon people lets starts looking at the glass half full..not half empty.
I agree with Jorge...see what its gonna cost in terms of time and money and then determine if it is workable. Going straight for the web route is like new photographers going straight for the digicam b/c it is 'easier'. I for one don't particularly like reading from a monitor, and would really love to enjoy something from APUG that I can actually hold in my hand and use w/o the need or an electrical outlet.
Before getting carried away, we need to find out the costs of such an endeavor based on minimum run required by printer, number of pages, number of issues per year, paper stock, image reproduction, distribution and any pay that may be required for someone to either edit or do page layout and design work.
I guess from there you decide if you will pay for production with subscriptions and advertising or through subscriptions only. Subscription only means a price of around $8-$10 an issue.
Get the data on the above questions and then you can begin to build a strategy for producing the publication.
Then you have to decide how to come up with the money for the first run. I don't think printers operate on credit for new publications, and advertisers will want to pay lower then standard industry rates per column inch because it is an unproven commodity in the market.
I do believe that if you can get a loyal following, you could probably build up a pretty good advertising base of companies that specialize in traditional photography products.
BRAVO!!! Jorge. Well said. If any new publication has a chance of succeeding it will be *BECAUSE* it is different, not in spite of it.
I read the editorial in Photovision.
Recapping ... An offer was made to send a sample issue to the "first 100 who requested it. Thirty-four (did I get that number right? - or somewhere around there -) responded. I am not sure what you should use for a "base" - either the `720 members of APUG, or 100. Either way, that is a *very* respectable rate of return - showing definte interest. "Somewhat less than that" subscribed."
Am I mistaken, or is that not a *very* successful advertising campaign/ market temperature survey? If the PV Board of Directors - or whoever - did not think that indicated an intense interest and accepatance of the magazine, just what would have met their idea of "success"? Would it be ALL 720 APUG subscribers clamoring for an "unseen" freebie issue, with 100% subscriptions as a result?
Anchell, in his edtorial, stated that Photovision was dedicated to the "Technique and Art of Fine Photography, with the emphasis on Art". IMHO, that is an excellent formula. I am not at all aganst the D****** practioners of photography per se, but if the inclusion of D*.. also changes the underlying philosophy of the magazine to, "NEW!!! NEW!!! - You GOTTA have..." and "This is How Any Dumb-assed Dolt Can Cheat His Way Into the Upper Echelons of Fine Photographers by Using Photoshop" - in essence, following the "Lead Lemming" - I think that would be a horrendously terrible mistake.
His resignation in the face of all that would make perfect sense to me.
There are printers here in the US that do only magazine printing. One that I encountered a couple of years ago was located in Pennslyvania...I don't recall the name but know the location. I will check into that if you wish, Aggie. Addtionally there are other printers off shore that may be more reasonably priced. I have notice a fair amount of photo books are printed off shore today.
The same thing holds true for distribution. There are companies that do just that. I think that distribution is vital. The best magazine in the world will go unread if it isn't on the newstands. I don't think that subscriptions alone will carry the mail. It takes both newstands and paid subscriptions.
Advertising pays the bills...but it is kind of a catch 22 in that advertising rates are determined by circulation. Someone at PV shared with me that they had pumped 200 thousand into PV in the last couple of years to get circulation up (with limited success).
My personal thoughts are that there are only so many technical aspects that can be covered to the point of ad nauseum. The slot canyons, aspens, Australian Opera House, beautiful sunsets of otherwise ordinary scenes, etc. bore me to tears. They have all been done to death.
I feel the same way about Howard Bond, John Sexton, and Bruce Barnbaum. While excellent photographers, I don't care if I never see another of what has already been done to death in their respective efforts.
I agree that a good publication is needed. Traditional photography needs to be reported on and supported. I agree that traditional photography isn't very well represented in print today. I had hoped that PV was that publication. Apparently financial reality indicated otherwise.
I've been involved in the production of an academic journal in a format not unlike _Lenswork_, albeit without all the photographs.
Note that LW could get rid of advertising because they sell other products (_Lenswork_ Special Editions, Interviews on CD-ROM, etc.), which is probably a good model for this group. I rather like the idea of "APUG Special Editions" produced by traditional repro methods, without a digital neg. Advantage--superior repros that can be as good as the original, Disadvantage--superior repros that can be confused with the original!
It's not an impossibility, if we can count on some donated labor. Figure about $3-4/issue to print a run of 1000 before anyone gets paid for articles, proofreading, layout, editing, selling advertising, managing subscriptions (if that is done in-house), etc. There are a few printing companies that print most of the academic journals in the U.S., and it shouldn't be hard to get an estimate, if that's the format we're after. If the journal is serious and looks good, there are two major U.S. distributors that handle these kinds of things and place them in better newsstands.
It doesn't hurt to have an editor with some talent to get submissions into shape (though, alas, this is neglected at some of the photo publications that I read regularly), and connections to potential contributors who will enhance the publication's value.
Probably best to start with a schedule of 2 issues per year, and then ramp up if there is demand. It's a lot of work, and it's not likely to be financially profitable, but it still might be worth doing.
I love the idea of a APUG magazine. However, I agree with a previous poster who suggested that the mag could be distributed as a pdf file. If the concern is about magazine piracy, then an eBook would work. This would eliminate the printing and distribution costs while drawing in the benefits of a distributed contributor base.
I don't think Photovision will probably survive if it begins to include digital. Then it is in direct competition with Camera Arts, Practical Photography, even View Camera. I know I will not renew my subscription. If the magazine is 30-40% digital then for me it is 30-40% over priced from what I originally paid for my subscription. I will just sit down and read it at Borders and put it back on the shelf when I am done.
Lenswork may present work that is produced through digital methods, but at least it is there because of the photos content, art and message. In other magazines it seems digital is only about a gee whiz, look what i can do now attitude, or more about how you can duplicate what others do with film.
If you plan for no ad revenue then any ad revenue would be a bonus. Getting ads and then getting paid isn't easy. Some have commented on newstands. Getting broad distribution on newstands can't be that easy. Even if you do the costs must add up. With a sub only publication then you don't need to print up extra copies hoping they'll get bought.
A couple of ideas. I used to get a journal that was basically just laserprinted in major part. The few pages with photos got farmed out. The whole thing would show up in an envelope and you'd slip the pages into a binder [The pages came punched] Worked. Once into the binder looked just fine. I assume you could get the text articles photocopied? The advantages are you can adjust your print run fairly easily. It's cheap. It's flexible. No min number of pages.
Somebody mentioned a pdf or other electronic versions. Personally paper is nice and it doesn't need to be expensive.
One final thing. I'm willing to go out on a limb and state that the actual printing process will be the easy part. Filling up a magazine with good [non-repeat] stuff will be harder. I assume the idea will be a quarterly or less often?
Probably you are a little ahead of your time Aggie. Presently I think we should support the great magazines that are out there stuggling away to make ends meet. Black and White Magazine is one of my favorites and I buy it thru my local magazine store rather than take out a subscription. I know the mag makes more money if I subscribe, but I want to support a local business in addition to the magazine.
Look from another viewpoint:
WE ARE Internet geeks, otherwise we would symply read a magazine and not be here...
I don't think anyone who has posted in this discussion has said no to the idea. I think everyone is trying to flesh out how to make it happen or areraising valid concerns about the F word- finances.
To be blunt, this endeavor costs money. A certain level of quality requires a certain level of $. The suggestions have been about how to make this thing happen from a variety of viewpoints regarding costs.
I agree that we at APUG have a great resource of talent and contacts to provide content. But that does not mean anyone here is an expert in photography magazine publishing. Therefore someone needs to get facts and figures from a current knowledgable person in that business.
It is fine to get opinions and have a poll but you need to be realistic about participation on APUG by registered members. Out of 800 plus members probably 50 contribute 80-90% of the posted content. That is the nature of the medium. Photonet probably has several thousand registered in various forums but a similar percentage contribute the majority of posts and replies. All that means is that you have to look beyond APUG for subscribers.
Finally, no great idea ever gets done by committee. Someone has to take the lead, ask for participation and then assign responsibilities. As Sean stated earlier, it is the person with the idea that usually has to run with the ball.
Don't get discouraged. Investigate some more. Ask specific questions that others on the site can either answer authoritatively or can point you in the right direction. I think you will find a lot of people willing to help. You just have to take a leadership role. Have a thicker skin when it comes to people disagreeing or questioning you ideas or decisions. If you know the idea is good always stick with it and make those who disagree have to prove their case.
I agree with pretty much everything in your post. A hold-in-the-hand paper magazine would be far preferable to the web option. My only concerns in that area were the additional cost, work and distribution problems it would cause. If I completely missed the point (not unusual!) I apologise.
I responded via the message and not via the poll as I wanted to give a better response than just a tick in a box.
I think the magazine is a great idea but also a huge amount of work. What I would say is, please don't get disheartened or discouraged. Design by committee never works anyway.
Am I interested in an APUG magazine? Yes.
Would I pay to receive one? Yes, within reason. (I have a fairly broad sense of reason on this issue!)
Am I prepared to help out? Yes, within reason. (I have a very demanding full-time job and my photographic knowledge is not sufficient to be a contributor, but I'm happy to do a bit of proofreading, etc.)
Whether this idea goes forward or not, it's still a damn good one.
All the best,