One time one of my photographer friends asked why I subscribe to so many photo magazines. He thinks it's a waste of money. But I look at it this way. I can't get out to all the tours, classes, workshops and seminars I'd love to attend. I'd have to win the lottery to be able to to do this.
So this is my way of "attending" and getting ideas, inspirations and instructions, plus seeing image-making from many different points of view. And also, via the ads and product reviews, learning what's new on
the horizon. All in the comfort of my own home--no driving and airport hassles. And for a fraction of the money that would have to be spent attending workshops, etc, in person.
I'll mention briefly "Shutterbug," "Popular Photography & Imaging," "Practical Photography," and the like. These are very good, general all-purpose magazines that try to be everything to almost everyone. They are full of ads, "Shutterbug" in particular, making them big and bulky. Also, it's hard to read articles when you have to hunt through back pages for the rest of each article.
So here are some of my favorite photo magazines, some of the lesser known ones, most of which I subscribe to. All but one of these can be found on the magazine racks at large booksellers, such as Borders, and Barnes & Noble. Many of these also have websites.
First of all is the Canadian "Photo Life." I'm listing it first, not because it's one of the best, but because it's the only one I subscribe to that is published in a country other than the USA. I don't subscribe to some other foreign magazines, because the exchange rate is not favorable. And because US booksellers in my area do not carry any from countries other than the UK.
Listed in alphabetical order:
Aperture, Black & White Magazine, Camera Arts (no longer published in hard copy form), Color (new), Contact Sheet, Focus, LensWork (http://www.lenswork.com/ no longer available in bookstores), Nature Photographer, Nature's Best, and Outdoor Photographer.
Aperture - http://www.aperture.org/magazine/magazine-new - This magazine was founded by Minor White, one of the past greats of photography of the 20th century. It is now published by the Aperture Foundation, Inc. Its subject matter includes articles and many images, color and monochrome, of photographers famous and not-so famous. Plus reviews of gallery openings and auctions, and books on various photographers. The current issue, #194, Spring, 2009, include articles and photographs about Sally Mann, Jiang Jian, Photography & Human Rights, Rwandan Children Born of Rape, Pertii Kekarainen, Scrapbookers, William van der Weyde, and Lise Sarfati. Only 10 pages of ads, one is on the back cover. Aperture also issues an email newsletter - sign up on the home page. Large format (9&1.2 X 11&1/4 inches), 88 pages, printed on heavy, glossy paper. Published 4 times a year.
Black & White - http://www.bandwmag.com/ - Black and White Magazine is a high-quality journal for collectors of fine photography. It contains over 200 photographs in each issue. Even thought there are not "how to" articles, photographers of all persuasions can learn a lot just by reading the interviews, artist's statements, etc, and paying attention to how each photographer made use of light to delineate or suggest form. Also of interest to pro photographers may be the listings and reviews of auctions and gallery/museum shows. Twice a year, this magazine runs single photo and portfolio contests. The winning photos and portfolios are published in the magazine as special issues, one issue for each contest. Then throughout the year, select portfolios are published in each issue until the next year's contests. Large format (8&1/2 X 11 inches), 240 pages, printed on glossy paper. Lots of ads, which are also very beautiful. Published monthly - except Jan, May, July & Nov!
Camera Arts - http://www.cameraarts.com/Contents.htm - This very fine magazine was published from 1998 to 2004. Now it is published as pdf files which anyone can download from its website! So it went from a subscription, to free on-line content.
Color - http://www.color-mag.com - The folks at Black & White magazine have started a new magazine, Color: for collectors of fine photography. Laid out and with contents very much like its older sibling, Color's premiere issue was April, 2009. This magazine also offers single image and portfolio contests. Large format (8&1/2 X 11 inches), 144 pages, printed on glossy paper. Lots of ads, which are also very beautiful. Published bi-monthly.
Contact Sheet - http://www.lightwork.org/publications/ - This magazine is publish by Light Works, starting in 1977. Each issue is devoted to the works of only one photographer. This allows subscribers access to a greater overview of each of these featured photographers. Of course, since we all have individual tastes and likes and dislikes, I have appreciated the work of some photographers more than that of others. Subscribers have to take what is issued. We don't have a choice. But those of us who do stick with the subscription, are exposed to a wide variety of styles, visions and cultures. Medium sized (9 X 10 inches), 48 pages, printed on high quality glossy paper. Published 5 times a year. Four issues are catalogs, each of work by a single photographer; the fifth, a special issue, The Light Work Annual, includes work by artists invited to participate in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program.
LensWork - http://www.lenswork.com/ - Devoted to "photography and the creative process" this magazine has never disappointed me. Containing articles, interviews, and portfolios, it is devoted to monochrome work. In addition to a fine paper magazine, they also publish LensWork Extended, on DVD (must have Adobe Acrobat #7 to read, as this DVD is all pdf files). Extended has additional material - additional interviews and photographs from the paper version portfolios. You can subscribe to one or the other, or both. Small format (7 X 8&1/2 inches), 96 pages, printed on high quality glossy paper. Published 6 times a year.
Do check out some of these excellent publications at your local bookseller. You may get some wonderful advice and inspirations. Check back from time to time, as I'll be finishing up the reviews of Nature Photographer, Nature's Best, and Outdoor Photographer soon.
OnLine Photo eZines - The Definitive List of Online Photography Magazines - Exactly as described, this website is devoted to listing photo magazines found only online, as befits the digital generation. No attempt to summarize purpose or to evaluate these magazines. So you are on your own here.