“…in a world where photographic images are ubiquitous a photography magazine can seem redundant if not irrelevant.” – Jed Perl, The New Republic, February 14th, 2013
What is the purpose of a photography magazine? After I read that quote from Jed Perl in his review of the re-launched Aperture, I knew this was a question I wanted to try to answer for myself. I’ve written four versions of this article, each one in a different tone and with a different conclusion. In one version I was sure that there was no purpose and concluded that I should just shut down LPV and be done with it. That feeling didn’t last long, but it’s always in the back of my mind.
There are numerous photography magazines out there these days. Some old, some new, some analogue, some digital. Photography is as popular as ever, or so the links on Twitter tell me. Aperture, FOAM, The British Journal of Photography and PDN all do an exceptional job of keeping readers current on trends, ideas, technology and innovative new photography. But can they cover everything? I think that’s doubtful given the current state of photography. There’s just too much out there. But that’s why we have blogs, and Tumblr and independent magazines.
One of the pleasing things about being interested in photographs is that it is really perfectly OK to admit to not knowing even important groups of pictures. In a narrower specialism, say in craft pottery or in modern literary fiction or in contemporary dance, it’s embarrassing to miss first-rate stuff. In photography you can even turn the whole argument around: far from being embarrassing to have missed something, it may be that to live only with those pictures that have good kudos in your particular neck of the photographic woods is to be limited, to lack curiosity and openness.
That’s something to think about. I know I need to discover a more diverse range of photography perspectives, but it can be tough in the daily information stream. Sometimes you get caught up in a current and it becomes difficult to take the time to look around. My hunch is that there’s plenty of interesting things happening beyond my field of vision.
So, where does LPV fit into the equation? I don’t know for sure. I’ve stopped thinking about it and have decided to embrace the uncertainty. The process is continuously inspiring and challenging, so I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. LPV was born out of the connections I made with other photographers on the internet and continues to evolve because of these connections. Creating these connections and then sharing them with others is the most fulfilling aspect of the process. I never really know what’s going to be in an upcoming issue. I’ve allowed serendipity and the connections I’ve created to guide me to the work I want to publish. I look, I ask friends, I think about it. Gravity brings it all together.
Welcome to LPV 6.
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