photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Photography Magazines


in General Rants , Friday, July 18, 2003
I'm a photography magazine addict. Actually I'm a magazine addict full stop. But I read a lot of photography magazines, especially Chasseur d'Images (France), R?ponses Photo (France), Practical Photography (UK), Outdoor Photography (UK), and sometimes Outdoor Photography (USA), and if I'm really desperate, Popular Photography (USA) (and I always regret it). Generally these have interesting and sometimes very good articles on the art, craft and science of photography. But the reviews.... Reviews can easily be split into three categories: (a) totally useless press release rewrites (b) sycophantic superficial junk (c) honest appraisals remarkably this maps quite well onto: (a) USA (b) UK (c) France A particular case was a recent US magazine which featured a "first look feature at the Hasselblad H1" (or similar). In any jurisdiction with a trading standards body this would have been called "full page advert by Hasselblad". Actually Hasselblad would have done it better and with 200% more class, but whatever. Then we get the UK magazines. I'll focus on Practical Photography, because this is otherwise a pretty good magazine. ALL their reviews are skimpy, utterly basic, and always award, at an absolute minimum, 75 points out of 100. I'm being generous here - I don't think they ever go below 80. This from a publication that appears to understand digital capture - and hence should understand that using 20% of available bandwidth means that your capturing a lot of noise. Obviously they should recalibrate: if everything is rated between 80 & 100, then after a certain amount of time mean will tend towards 90. Which means an average, just about good enough piece of equipment gets 90%.... But I suppose the manufactures (a.k.a advertisers) would not be very happy to see an average result be (fairly) awarded 50%. Which leaves us with the French, who have absolutely no problem with giving a piece of junk "nul points", and frequently do so (especially C d'I). They also refuse to play the game of press embargos. They prioritise their main customers - their readers - who in turn reward them with remarkably high circulation figures. And when you read a 5 star review here, you can be sure it is deserved.
Posted in General Rants on Friday, July 18, 2003 at 01:00 PM • PermalinkComments (0)