Early in my career, I studied photojournalism, and my romanticized view of the future was nicely trimmed with the idea of shooting for magazines. Being keen on things like long-term projects, war photography and documenting the human condition I held publications like Life Magazine in the highest of regard. The magazine was sacred ground. The ultimate sign of acceptance and admission into the world of high-stakes, professional photography.
Much has changed over the years, but one thing holds true. Magazines still hold a special place in the heart of most photographers. The only difference now is that we can create our own and I routinely do.
Magazines are different from books. Magazines are less formal. Not to say trivial, not at all, but magazines are softcover and are treated differently than books. I can’t imagine someone taking their prized, hardcover, first edition book to the pool while on vacation, but I can surely see that same person taking a stack of magazines. A magazine is entirely consumable. Read then pass along to someone else.
The magazine was sacred ground. The ultimate sign of acceptance and admission into the world of high-stakes, professional photography.
Magazines also represent serial publishing, meaning the reader knows that by the time his or her current issue is feeling stale there will be yet another on the way. This is a great tool for photographers who are publishing long-term stories, updates their portfolios or even publishing in installments.
Magazines are also a wonderful collaboration tool. One of my favorite parts of a magazine is the “Contributors” page. I love to see all the writers, photographers, etc. So if you are publishing your own magazine think about asking colleagues or friends to join in the event. Think about themed issues where you can settle on a subject then show a half dozen different perspectives on the same story. Or, if you are part of a photography collective or online group, the magazine is a great way to recap the best of the best each month, quarter or year.