May I respond?
Well, let me first state our "mailing list policy" -- the same policy we've had since the inception of LensWork back in 1993: We will never, ever sell, rent, loan or in any way make our mailing list available to anyone for any purpose. Period. We never have, we never will. Period.
Now as to offering my own work via LensWork emails, I did and do -- but only to people who have signed up for our email notifications and have requested emails from us. We don't SPAM. Never have, never will. In our email signup, there are various areas of information you can choose to receive (or not receive) as you'd like. You may sign up to receive information about my personal prints. You may sign up to receive emails about items available in the LensWork store. Yesterday we sent an email to those two lists (only) about two new prints of mine. You would have only received these emails if you have signed up for them.
As to the larger issue of "editor neutrality," I have always been very up front with our readers about this. I have no neutrality and have never claimed to be neutral. I am an advocate for fine art photography. I believe passionately about photography and the creative path, about prints, about creative vision, about making photographs. I've been passionate about photography for over 35 years and LensWork is an outgrowth of that passion. I am not neutral because I was a photographer long before I was an editor and will be one long after LensWork is a publishing memory.
I wonder if this thread is about me or about "commerce"? Some of you know how expensive it is to publish a magazine. None of you have any idea how expensive it is to publish a magazine printed on a book press to museum-book printing standards. I do. I do it every sixty days. And I do it without taking any outside advertising. Where do you think the money comes from? We don't take outside advertising because we don't want to waste the valuable space in LensWork with ads and because we don't think photography is about equipment. We want to preserve every square inch of the magazine we can for CONTENT. Compare LensWork to any other magazine, and you'll see the difference immediately. I suppose I don't need to mention this to most of you. We do, however, use a few pages, in the back (usually 7-9, rarely more) to inform our readers about other products we publish -- call it advertsing if you'd like -- and we do sell things to help pay for the cost of running our business. I am not apologetic about this. Nor am I apologetic about the fact that some of the items we sell are things I produce myself -- like my books of essays about photography, my discs of podcasts -- or my prints.
You see, I am one of the luckiest guys I know. My "work" and my "play" are the same thing. I do not distinguish between what I do for a living and what I do for passion. My life in photography is not divided between my "business" and my "hobby." I think photography everyday. I do photography everyday. I talk photography everyday. I love it. If you think that I should somehow separate my personal work from my professional work then you miss the essence of LensWork entirely. Since LensWork #1 we've include this statement on the very first page of every issue of LensWork -- that "Photography is, or can be, a way of life." I am simply living that statement.
I know some of you have begun to sour on LensWork, on me -- partly because of my use of digital stuff, partly other reasons. I feel badly about this; it is my nature to be bothered that I seem to have offended folks. But I must admit that I have been puzzled by this animosity toward the one publication that seems to be exclusively devoted to the highest quality reproduction of fine art photographs rather than the latest equipment.
The bottom line: I am who I am. LensWork is my publicaiton (I should say "ours" because it belong entirely to Maureen and me -- by the way, we were married 9 months before the birth of LensWork and remain blissfully so) and will continue to be an advocate for fine art photography as long as we choose to continue publishing it. We will continue to offer other products to help us defray the costs. Some of these products will be our "personal" photographic artwork -- as it has been since our very first LensWork Special Editions offerings in 1998, one of Maureen's nudes titled Suspended. If this is offensive to you or you think this violates some concept of "editor neutrality" I guess there is little I can do to persuade you otherwise. To the rest of our readers who find inspiration and fellow travelers when they read our magazine, books, and CDs, sometimes listen to our podcasts, or buy our prints, thanks. If it weren't for those of you who appreciate what we publish, we'd be out of business in a flash. In fact, you guys are the reason we are in the publishing business. You mean more to use than you'll ever know.
Editor, LensWork Publishing