View Full Version : Old Photography Magazines!

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Roger Hicks
06-10-2006, 11:30 AM
Dear Jeanette,

There are copyright issues...

You'd almost certainly be OK but I'd not risk it personally, even with 67-year-old material, without permission.



06-10-2006, 03:54 PM
Dear Jeanette,

There are copyright issues...

You'd almost certainly be OK but I'd not risk it personally, even with 67-year-old material, without permission.



Great point, Roger! I sure don't want some OWM chasing me down with his cane for violating his copyright! ;) haha

It would be interesting to know if copyright was ever renewed on these articles. US Copyright prior to I think 1978 was only valid for 28 years, and had to be renewed after that... for another 28 years. There are some interesting twists & turns in the laws... :rolleyes: as usual... a lot of whereas and heretofore... :D

Roger Hicks
06-10-2006, 05:31 PM
Dear Jeanette,

My knowledge of US copyright is miniscule, but as far as I know, what you say was indeed the case at one time and may still be so. On the other hand, worldwide publication (which I think the net must be) could easily fall foul of other laws, and I believe (though I have taken less interest than I should) that copyright in much of the world now subsists for 70 years after the death of the author. It may even be that the USA has signed up for this.



06-10-2006, 11:00 PM
From the "letters" section of the June 1940 issue of "Minicam Photography", a gentleman from Marlborough Massachusetts wrote: <snip>

Thanks for posting this - it was some of the best reading I've done in the last few weeks.

- Randy

06-10-2006, 11:02 PM
I found a step-by-step article this morning on making prints using this process.

I'm wondering if people here would want to read some of these articles... think I should make a list of some of them & post it? I'd be more than happy to scan the articles and put them in the database if anyone would want to see them.

Couldn't you post the process itself and reference the article to avoid any copyright problems? The copyright would be for the text itself and not the process unless there is some specific passage claiming copyright on the actual process.

- Randy

06-16-2006, 07:10 AM
If anyone is interested in obtaining (free + shipping) some of these vintage magazines, I just cleaned out my dad's house and there are lots of them. Let me know. They're from the 30's & 40's.


Jim Noel
07-19-2006, 12:29 PM
I agree with all that has been written here. The old magazines are what I used to learn photography. In fact, my first enlarger I built using a film pack camera and the instructions in a forgotten magazine.

If you want to look for an old magazine which is really packed with information look for "The Complete Photographer." It was issued "thrice monthly" beginning in 1939 or 1940.

Each chapter is written by a different knowledgeable practicing photographer. The chapters are in alphabetical order so that when the set is complete it forms an excellent encyclopedia of photography.

I still have mine which I subscribed to, it wasn't sold on newstands because of paper use restrictions. Periodically a student wil bring up a subject which I know is covered better in this publication than any other so I look it up.

One example is the chapter on Portraiture which was written by Edward Weston. There are articles by Adams, the Feininger brothers, and many others.

These magazines sometimes show up at camera swap meets for basically nothing. They have been invaluable to me.

Wigwam Jones
07-19-2006, 01:06 PM

I am not familiar with "The Complete Photographer," but I'll look for it. I have a growing collection of old photography magazines and books myself - find them an excellent resource.

I have found "The Mentor" from the 1920's to be useful (not 100% about photography), as well as "Kodakery," which was put out by Kodak itself. Old "Pop Photo" and "Modern Photography" of course, and "The Camera" out of Ohio were all good. There are others as well, including small chapbooks or semi-regular publications such as "Photo-Kinks" (not what you might think, more of a DIY camera gadget book) and such things. "Photographica" out of Great Britain is also excellent - very, very, useful to collectors - but hard to come by especially in the USA.

I like to read everything in them - the letters to the editors are great - you can find (for example) people ranting about the 'death of glass plate photography' and 'the death of medium format' and yelping about how 'miniature' formats (35mm) were going to kill photography as a useful tool for the artist, and so on. TLR versus SLR wars. Many of them sound very much like what you read online now - only applied to the d-word as opposed to format of camera or size of film.

I also like to read the ads - they give a good historical perspective on what accessories were available, third-party add-ons, and lenses, etc.

I find that I prefer the magazines from the very earliest days of consumer photography, then jump to the WWII and post-war years to about 1962, and some (not much) in the 1970's. I really don't find anything useful in the magazines from about 1977 on - but it could be that it is because I'm a product of that generation - got into photography as a teenager about that time.

I've used some of the older books on photography as guides to learning portraiture in a 'different' way, as most of the advice is still valid - one just has to translate into modern terms for the type of lights, temperature values, and so on. I have noticed that there are several professional photographers out there who are attempting to recreate that "Hollywood" or "Glamour-era" style photography, B&W or creamy pastel colors with dramatic shadows, angles that emphasize stronger facial features, and so on. I really like it - I think I prefer it to the more modern 'fill every pore on the subject's face with even light and make sure you get a catchlight in the eyes' method. Or maybe I just like it because it is not as often used these days.

I also like the older books on photographic chemistry - there is a lot in there that can still be used today. Currently, I pretty much use off-the-shelf developers, but I'd like to get into some DIY B&W processing, and there are a lot of resources there.

Jim Noel
08-03-2006, 08:57 PM
How about "Minicam" which preceded "Modern Photgraphy", although I am not sure if it was by the same publisher.

"The Complete Photographer" appears infrequently at photo swap meets, possibly even at regular swap meets. Often it is in a box under the table because the dealer does not realize how good it is. I have forgotten how many issues there are in the complete set, but I am willing to count them for you if you are interested.


08-04-2006, 03:44 AM
I imagine these folks know about any copyright issues.


Perhaps they'd even be interested in hosting some of your material.

I too am fascinated by these old magazines, though I don't have many photographic ones in my "collection" (accumulation might be more accurate).