Today's photography magazines are designed to fit almost all of the shooter's needs. The trouble is finding the right magazine. It's not that easy.
Magazine stands have been relegated to the corners of book shops or groceries. If you let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages for a magazine stand, they wouldn't get very tired. You might be surprised at how few are around. The Little Professor Book Center in Placentia advertises that it has the best selection of magazines in Orange County and claims to have more than 1,000 titles.
A recent trip there uncovered seven photography magazines, ranging from Outdoor Photographer, published in California, to SLR Photography, published in London.
To help you find the magazine that will best suit your needs, here is an informal review of each, along with some idea of what you can expect to find in them.
Another piece chronicles photojournalist Dave Peterson's Pulitzer Prize-winning work illustrating the farm crisis in Iowa.
Portfolios are also included, such as still-life photographer Jeff Atherton's painting-like abstract photos of multicolored forms such as wires, gears, computer buttons and cut-up paper. Departments include In Camera, a gossipy feature on photographers in the news; Exhibitions, a review of a current photography show; Assignment, which displays the winners of a monthly photo contest.
American Photographer is not for the person looking for a lot of camera ads. There are no ads from the New York discount camera stores. Also, don't look for comparisons of cameras and film. This magazine delves into the lives of the photographers and their work. It's designed for both the professional and the hobbyist. The one-year subscription rate is $17.90. The newsstand price is $2.50. The January, 1988, issue has 90 pages, including 30 pages of ads.
With the table of contents including such topics as "one photographer combines posterization with photo collage" and "a devotee of non-silver process blends cyanotype with gum printing to help him interpret special places," you know you've stepped into photography's twilight zone.
Other articles dealt with making sure your photographs last, combining video and still photography and cataloging color slides. The one-year subscription rate is $12.97. The newsstand price is $2.25. The December, 1987, issue has 74 pages, with 31 pages of ads.
Even David L. Miller's review, "Point & Shoot 35s for '88," lacks a solid critical assessment. The reader gets a hint when Miller writes, "The 16 models we've chosen are not necessarily the 'best,' but they are the ones that tickled our fancy." The annual subscription rate is $13.98. The newsstand price is $2.50. The December, 1987, issue has 138 pages, 93 of them ads.
The Features section contains articles on subjects such as shooting daredevil skiing, Yosemite at night, sandscapes, composition and filters. The User Reports section discusses video cameras, light meters, 2-millimeter SLR cameras and making black-and-white prints from color negatives.
The special introductory coupon offer inside the magazine makes PHOTOgraphic a great buy at $7.95 a year. The regular annual subscription rate is $15.94. The newsstand price is $2.25. The January, 1988, issue, with 80 pages (26 of them ads) has a special price of $1.79.
The annual subscription rate of $11.97 is a bargain, but using the discount coupon inside the magazine brings the price down to $6.99. The newsstand price is $2.25. The January, 1988, issue is 130 pages, including 72 pages of ads.
The magazine included a very tame review of automatic focus cameras. The article by George Lepp lacked a hard-hitting analysis of what was the best camera buy for your outdoor safaris.
The Travel and Workshops section piqued some interest, letting photographers know about many upcoming outdoor excursions throughout the world. The annual subscription rate is $21.95. The newsstand price is $2.95. The December, 1987, issue has 92 pages, 36 of them ads.
The advertisement for the Ricoh SR-X camera says it is "Definitely not for Nellies or Dumbos." The magazine is larger than American versions. Red graphics stand out on each page. The magazine has style, but what about substance?
Features include upcoming exhibitions, using soft-focus filters, using fisheye lenses, processing E-6 slides, and a profile and portfolio of photographer Lord Snowden. The annual subscription rate is 20 by overseas mail. The newsstand price is 1.50 in England (the price varies in the United States). The December, 1987, issue consists of 100 pages, including 42 pages of ads.
The photography column, which runs each Saturday in Orange County Life, is designed to help both the serious amateur and weekend shooter. Questions and ideas are welcome and encouraged. Write to: Robert Lachman, Chief Photographer, The Times, Orange County Edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa 92626.