A hope for UK magazine Black+White Photography !?

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by K-G, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. K-G

    K-G Subscriber

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    In their latest issue ( B+W144 December 2012 ) , editor Elizabeth Roberts writes in the editor's letter that her Assistant Editor, Jemima Greaves, announced that she wanted to do proper photography . To make a long story short, it seems like she wasn't met with enthusiasm but insisted and Elizabeth helped her to find a darkroom and got her started. Jemima has now gained more respect and curiosity from her colleagues and there are obviously more analogue dicusions going on at the editorial office . I'm sure this will not turn the magazine into an all analogue but a slightly increased recognition of traditional photography certainly helps. I will send Jemima a supporting e-mail.

    Karl-Gustaf
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Good news. It went downhill when Ailsa left (I don't think I have bought it since then). I know it will never be what it used to be but it might be better than it is now.


    Steve.
     
  3. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

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    The problem about photography magazines is that they debate between gadgetery for gearheads, technical explanations and being a pure art magazine. I let my subscription expire about 2006 or 2007, there it was little things for me because I'm not a collector, a gearhead, nor a digital user looking for better conversions to monochrome & printing them; interviews were less and less interesting than when I suscribed.

    It might be just me, but finding the balance between profitability and what an old dog will want in a magazine should be a hard target.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Finding the right mixture to interest as much readers (or rather buyers) as needed to be profitable is difficult.
    In Germany short ago an analogue-only printed photo-magazine started! In such case there even won't be advertisers with large budgets.
    (If you go their website, the first thing you see in center meanwhile is an ad by Tetenal...)

    http://www.photoklassik.de/
     
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  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The problem is they've been turning away good analog articles from people who were once regular contributors and in their place running truly awful digital articles on how to recreate analog processes.

    Ian
     
  6. C.poulton

    C.poulton Member

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    Shame that its only in German, looking at the contents, it looks very interesting and something that I would definately subscribe to if available in an English version copy (like LFI)!


    Christian
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Or learn German!


    Steve.
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    As did Eastman, as did Gevaert...
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    This might start analogue discussions amongst the staff and might( this is much less certain than the first might) produce a few more analogue articles, especially about her learning trials and tribulations( good human interest) but it is what the market demands that counts and unfortunately we are not the market.

    pentaxuser
     
  10. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Playing the Devils Advocate here, the magazine is on the market with the intention of making money for the publishers. Digital imagary is the greater interest now than B&W or colour darkroom work, so unfortunately we analogue users get left out. There is now a generation of photographers (I use the term very very loosely) who do not have slightest idea what good photography is. They depend on the skills of the program writers rather than developing skills of their own. Each to their own, if it pleases them so be it.

    I ran a couple of photographic quiz's at my last club and the 1st year I did it they all complained it was too hard. The 2nd year the complaints were all about why I always asked questions about 'ordinary out of date things' and not digital. 70% of the questions were digital and they still found them hard. The simply have no idea!
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Part of the problem is the magazine is aimed at two disparate markets and the owners would like to go one way many of the readers would like it the other way more analog biased and the deitorial staff are in the middle. Silverprint and others seem to have stopped advertising.

    Ian
     
  12. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Ian,

    I stopped subscribing to the magazine in 2007 at it seemed to have become very shallow and beginner orientated.

    Tom
     
  13. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    I'm all for variety, but about a year ago, they ran an article about a guy taking pictures of his sister moving house, or some such thing. It got about 4 pages, and in my opinion, was a bunch of not very good pictures of some person moving house. What we, as readers were supposed to get out of this was a complete mystery to me, and that finally finished me off. That and the fact that they went almost purely digital.
     
  14. K-G

    K-G Subscriber

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    Yes, I agree that there has been some articles, especially technical, that were hard to digest for an analogue photographer. When my subscription ran out last time I was doubtful as to continue or not, but being a born optimist I decided to give it one more try. During the last year most technical articles have been of no or minor interest to me but there has been quite a few portraits of photographers working in a classic manner. Also the American Connection by Susan Burnstine, quite often is about classic photographers.
    Some of the articles on general photographic subjects are also really good. From what I understood of both the ending of the Editor's Letter and also from the answer I received from Jemima, there will be some kind of follow up of her progress in the beginning of next year.
    Even if the potential for improvements is immense, everything isn't all bad.

    Karl-Gustaf
     
  15. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    So, the magazine about B&W photography is run by people who admit they know nothing about traditional B&W; however one of them has expressed some interest in learning about it. I think I'll be giving that rag a miss.
     
  16. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I prefer to find 1950s to 80s magazines from antique book sellers. Same happened at sailing magazines , look to 50s yachting world and today. National Geographic is lost all the glitter. No need to propaganda to Soviets and no need to make something good.
     
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  17. jerry lebens

    jerry lebens Member

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    I think you guys are being a little unfair regarding the editorial team at B&W. Liz knows her way about a traditional darkroom - I know, because I'm the guy who dragged her, kicking and screaming through it; before digital photography reared it's ugly head. And I know for a fact she found the transition to digital not very much to her liking. However, whatever Liz's preferences, the market went digital and, so, B&W had to go digital too.

    As it happens, it's me teaching Jemima - from mid tone readings all the way through to split grade printing. She's a willing student but she only gets one day per month in the darkroom because she's chained to a desk dealing with subscriptions and order forms etc. How she remembers it all from one session to the next is beyond me; I can't remember why I walked upstairs five minutes ago, and I live in a flat.

    I agree with you all that reading articles about 'how to make digital cyanotypes' can be trying. But if an article like that encourages just one reader to try doing the real thing, it's got to be positive, hasn't it?. B&W is never going to turn it's back on digital. But credit where credit's due - how many other mainstream magazines feature analogue at all?
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Jerry, I for one don't think the problem is the editorial team, I've been told by people who have written for the magazine in the past that their articles aren't wanted.

    I don't think anyone doubts that the majority have gone digital but there is still a large niche analog market, so just as a magazine decicated to LF photography can survive (View Camera Magazine) so could a magazine with a greater content of analog photography.

    However I think that B&W Magazine is in an uneasy position, most people with decent Digital P&S cameras and DSLRs shoot colour and there are plenty of 100% Digital magazines that have B&W issues and cover similar topics. For a magazine to have a meaningful analog content it needs to cover colour analog processes as well.

    B&W magazine has lost the advertising from major analog supplierss, Silverprint and others aren't there any longer, nor is Ilford.

    The number of people on all the Forums who liked B&W magazine and have posted about stopping their subscriptions is rather large and that alone should be something the management takes into account, they are just the tip of an iceberg.

    A good magazine biased more towards analog and hybrid photography would have a far larger potential market than View Camera magazine and that's an area that no-one else is pitching at. If it has to have a modicum of digital content in an attemt to entice digital photographers to try using film and a darkroom that might be OK.

    There's various large forums aimed at film and darkroom users and substantially more other like minded photographers out there so maybe the owners of B&W magazine should realise thism then look at how much larger their potential market could be with some changes in direction.

    Ian
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I think Ian has expressed how most of us feel.

    I no longer buy any magazines. Instead, I spend my money on books in charity shops (mainly Oxfam).


    Steve.
     
  20. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Might the real problem be that most people here are... beyond buying such magazines. Personally, I can't see why anybody who has a healthy book collection (most people on APUG) would continue buying an amateur photography magazine, traditional or otherwise. I think I bought the magazine once for a Michael Kenna interview and found the rest of the articles dealt with basic principals and processing techniques. Even if they started doing features about the darkroom, would anyone here really learn anything from them? The information shared here is surely enough for any traditional photographer - albeit a bit light on colour. Maybe people just want an excuse to spend money unnecessarily... Why not spend that £5 or whatever on film?
     
  21. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Even for well-read people there might be something that was hidden from their sight, or a new aspect on a well-known subject is depicted.
    Current applications of processes, especially out of the field of arts could be interesting.

    I must admit though, that the classical technical article, now with the combination of text-book and internet forums, has lost much of it's appeal in the sense of teaching. However, in the sense of teaser technical articles could be interesting for beginners.