Lenswork Magazine?

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by hoffy, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I was listening to the latest "Film Photography Podcast" today and they made mention of the "Lenswork" magazine.

    Considering this was the Film photography podcast, I would have thought that the magazine would have had a film slant, but from the looks of it on the website, the mag is yet another "digital is so great" reads.

    Does anyone get this one? Is there any film content? Curious to know.

    Cheers
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    The amount of film content can be dubious at best. I have a subscription to Lenswork extended and get all of the interviews and 'darkroom' tours, of which a few are of real darkrooms. I do enjoy the magazine. And being 'digital-is-so-great' could not be further from the truth. They don't promote the medium used, just plain great photography, IMHO.
     
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  3. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I used to read Lenswork, and study the portfolios of the various photographers in each issue. But I am unable to look at work without first learning whether it is analog or digital, and I lose interest as soon as I find out I am looking at digital images. Over time it seemed like the number of digital portfolios began outnumbering the analog ones, and Lenswork became, for me, more of the digital noise out there, as did the old Black and White magazine of a few years ago.

    Is one refuge from the digital storm too much to ask?
     
  4. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Yeah, I've subscribed and unsubscribed on and off for years. I definitely feel as if lenswork used to have more film work,
    but that's probably due to market shift more than editorial choice. I agree with Chris that the focus is more on excellent fine art photography more than digi vs. film. If they were more dedicated to film I would be a more dedicated subscriber. In fact, my resubscriptions were almost always driven by a great film-based feature (e.g. A Jay Dusard spread a couple of years ago that I really enjoyed). And almost every time I give up on the magazine it's due to a complete lack of film examples or editorial salivation over digi-collage photos that, while I respect as art, repulse me. All in all, I don't currently subscribe, but I would say it's the only magazine in its vein that I consider subscribing to.
     
  5. wfe

    wfe Member

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    It's probably the best true photography publication out there and is about photography and the creative process not about digital or analog. I find that it offers choices and options of which there are many for photographers today. If a photograph is strong and has merit it's strong regardless of how it was created. I believe that they evaluate the submissions without even knowing weather they are analog or digital.
     
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  6. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    When I lived in Sweden I used to make sure I went to the public library to read the new edition. I really enjoyed it mostly because of the focus upon high quality portfolios (with only a few slips in decency - I remember a truly awful HDR portfolio) and the avoidance of equipment fetishism. In fact, perhaps Lenswork and Aperture are the only two mainstream publications which don't try to titillate their readers by gushing about some equipment.

    Unfortunately, I'm now living in the UK, no library near here carries Lenswork and the cost of a 6-issue overseas sub is $80. Too rich for my blood.
     
  7. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I subscribed to Lenswork for several years because of the quality of its printing and its editorial content. I enjoyed seeing the portfolios, and especially enjoyed reading Bill Jay's end notes. I tried the "Extended" version for a year and discovered that I never looked at it. As much as Brooks Jensen crowed about it, I would much rather hold a well-printed paper magazine in my hand than look at a lot of pdf files and images on a computer screen. I let the Extended subscription lapse last year, and this year did not renew the print magazine. I still subscribe to Brooks's podcasts -there's one in my inbox now waiting to be played- but when he starts talking about his digital workflow, I lose interest and delete the email.
    I still get B&W magazine, but was disappointed when they opened up to digital submissions as well.
    When I look at the photography magazine rack at Borders, these two used to be the only magazines that covered analog photography at all. Now both have more digital content than analog.

    All I can say is... thank goodness for APUG!
     
  8. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Interesting and timely question.

    I thought I responded earlier this morning - but apparently I was hallucinating. My initial thought was that Lenswork focuses on the image and not on technique, but in recent years they have included more images produced by non-analog processes than film images.

    Then, today the latest issue arrived. And in glancing through the issue, I noted that they didn't specifically note the process that the photographer used. There were one or two instances where the photographer mentioned his process during the course of an interview, but that was the photographer speaking and not a reflection of what the editor/publisher thought was important.

    It's still one of my favorite magazines because it does concentrate on the image and not the technology of photography.
     
  9. whlogan

    whlogan Subscriber

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    All of the above are quite true. Lenswork is now the only media where one will find any discussion of the merits of a photographs relative merits, saving here, of course, where it will most surely be found. Setting aside Lensworks move to the dig**al side, it is still the finest such magazine around and Brooks the best such philosopher to be found.
    Logan
     
  10. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Morning Hoffy. I have subscribed to Lenswork for a few years now. It is more about images than gear, but a reasonable amount of film work turns up in it. The mag is very nicely produced too.

    Ian
     
  11. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Mr. Jensen, the editor, is unabashed about featuring great photography accomplished by any means, and in my opinion his magazine (and as far as printing quality goes calling it a magazine sort of misses the mark) does just that. Film images might be featured more if there were more submissions from film shooters that met the criteria for the magazine. I believe that the magazine holds absolutely no prejudices at all, other than an affinity for the best of photography.
     
  12. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I whole heartedly agree

    I think great images are great images regardless of the medium. Shooting a bad image on film doesn't improve it nor give it greater validity. For the record, I shoot both and was trained traditionally with film and the use of the darkroom. There's a Chinese saying "It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice".
     
  13. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Same when you wok the dog.
     
  14. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Not constructive to the art and craft of photography

    Your comment doesn't further the art and craft of photography. Yes Chinese people do eat dogs, but how is that related to photography? BTW, I'm of Chinese ancestry :D
     
  15. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Now now, play nice :wink:

    Thanks for the comments. I have to admit for the price (it appears to be double, though, if you get it shipped to Aust), it certainly seems to be good value from what I read.

    And my comments? Last night I had a look through the website, which includes Brooks blogs........which seemed to smatter a lot about digital processing, CS5, etc, etc. I have to admit that if the magazine was full of articles on processing on a PC, I would leave it alone (I get enough of that from many other mags).
     
  16. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have eaten dog. I did not, however, photograph it, so you've got me there. I'm not Chinese.
     
  17. Lanline

    Lanline Subscriber

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    I think started getting more accepting of digital as Brooks started getting more comfortable with digital. When I heard a podcast when he spoke of no longer using his darkroom, I lost interest in LENSWORK.

    I am not a snob or a purest, I love both film and that electronic form of photography... It's just right now at this time in my life, I've returned to film and the labors/joys associated with it. Anything outside of my tunnel vision of film distracts me from shooting. I get caught up all the gear, software, etc. Film is simpler and my return to it improved my photography.
     
  18. photobum

    photobum Member

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    I subscribe to Lenswork magazine and skip the extended. I like to read and look at a nice portfolio in the hand. They always have something of intrest. I am a bit tired of old, poor, farmers in Quazumistan being "art"
    Brooks, please enough. Poor does not = Art.

    I was a long time suscriber to Aperture. Gave that up ten years ago. Just could not take anymore cross processed film beaten and frayed, reported as "art". Aperture is the home of MFA's with no craftmanship covering their lack of skill with artspeak.
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I think I agree. I stopped listening to the podcasts for the same reason, and they are excellent.

    It's fair to say that a great many of us here use digital & analog, from choice or sometimes necessity, (most of the Moderators included) but we are here because of a passion for traditional photography. So it gets frustrating to have an unbalanced approach, but that's his decision, it may well mean some of us don't subscribe to Lenswork because of this, perhaps unfairly.

    The same sentiments are in the very long thread about the UK B&W magazine.

    Ian
     
  20. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    I find this statement intriguing. I used to work with a Director of Aperture. At a function we attended I attempted to discuss her views on the publication, photography as art, and photography as a passion. Her responses seemed hollow and rehearsed on all three topics. As they say in Italy, "tutto fumo, niente arrosto," which translates to "all smoke and no roast." Aperture's decline may have developed from the top down.
     
  21. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    This seems to me like probably a fair comment on Brooks Jensen's editorial work outside of the printed magazine, but I don't feel it's reflected in the print _LensWork_ at all (I can't speak to the "extended" version). The vast majority of the magazine is the portfolios, and it seems like the interviews with photographers try to focus on artistic aspects rather than gear and technique.

    Lately the editorial content seems to have spent a lot of time on marketing and presentation---largely in digital media, so I guess that aspect is digital- or hybrid-centric, though I get the feeling that if an interesting all-analog path to a market other than the traditional expensive-high-art world popped up, they'd discuss that too.

    Some of the portfolios work for me, some don't, which I think is OK. I don't remember seeing anything that made me say "wow, this is crap". I think they go in a little too much for the "pretty landscape" genre, but then I tend to like the "old poor farmers in Qazumistan" stuff... :smile:

    -NT
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The problem is Nathan that when you're not flush with spare cash even little things tend to tip the balance, and living outside the US it's a lot more expensive. Add to that not being a past subscriber what you've never had you din;t miss.

    Ian
     
  23. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    I would love to subscribe to Lenswork but being in the UK the cost is too much. It seems to be twice the US price. I do have a large number of back issues obtained second hand and they are superb. The printing is of the highest order and the articles and portfolios always interesting.

    The thing I like about it the most is that there are no technical or technique articles. (My main complaint with Silvershotz.)

    Yes, many of the portfolios are digital, but that's what most people use these days. Just look at the work for photography's sake and don't get hung up on how it was produced.

    The same with Brooks' podcasts. They are primarily about the art of photography and the life of an artist. Of course they mention digital, usually to illustrate a point, but so what? Again, even if they do, look beyond it and see how you can apply it to your own, analogue work.

    Mike
     
  24. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Did you start to bark after you eat it!:laugh::laugh::laugh:

    Jeff