The Digest – August 5th, 2012

©David Chancellor - via [Wired Rawfile]

I have a pile of magazines from the last few months laying around. Most of them I haven’t opened. The nice thing about the New Yorker is that you can pick up one from three months ago and still find interesting things to read. The articles have longevity. I think that’s probably going to be the key for print magazines in the future. They need to be something you want to keep around and collect.

I think this is why photography will be in good shape in print for a long time to come. I mean, when I open most of those magazines piled up on the floor, I’m basically just looking at the photographs. I’m also reminded of the awfulness of print advertising. Magazine publishing is a tough game, whether in print, on the web, or as the guys from Once Magazine found out, on the iPad.

Once Magazine Folds

The guys at Wired wrote up a nice article that covers some of the reasons why Once folded:

For nearly a year the magazine put out a monthly issue of high-quality photojournalism paired with text and interactive features that was well-received by photographers and thousands of readers, delivering eleven-fold on the modest promise of its name. But after a host of technical glitches and lack of funding, the team called it quits last weekend.

In the same article they also talked to the creators of Auto de fe:

Whether Auto de Fe will suffer the same fate as Once remains to be seen but Laurenson says they are going to do everything they can to push the magazine forward. As an incentive to get contributors interested they developed the “Inquisitive Photography Prize” that will hand out $5,000 in prize money next year to three photographers who are chosen for publication in some of the upcoming issues.

“I think what Once has shown us in that there still is a thirst for this kind of in-depth journalism,” Laurenson says.

There certainly is an audience for photojournalism and documentary photography. How large is the paying audience? That’s tough to tell. But I’m guessing it’s not that large. The other major challenge is sensibility. Once you start to make choices, the audience will start to shrink. Photojournalism and documentary photography are diverse fields. You might be able to put together a great iPad app but if the work doesn’t resonate with enough people, it won’t be sustainable.

I think a smart publisher could potentially appeal to a wide enough audience. It will always be tough as a start up though. I think bigger, more established publishers will experiment with photography specific tablet apps. I could see the New York Times releasing an app for the LENS Blog, same Time LightBox. A monthly issue would compliment the daily blogs nicely. They have large enough audiences to make it work I think too. Maybe in a few years.

Alex Prager – via [reFramed]

Links of Note

Alex Prager interview and feature on Framework from the LA Times:

I’d guess that only about 70% of the image is complete after the initial photo shoot. A lot of my creative process takes place in post now, as well as on the shoot. … The ideas I have for a picture don’t always work out as well on the actual photo shoot, so sometimes I’ll spend a lot of time creating an entirely new concept in post-production with the images I have shot. This isn’t always the case, but I’m very open to my shoots not coming out as planned because I know I have a whole other process afterward that allows me to create something that might be even better than the idea I had originally thought up.

Blake Andrews in conversation with Mark Steinmetz:

Photography is at its most basic a method for sharing. You stand in front of something, take a picture, and then someone else in a different place and a different time might be touched by it – so I think photography is just about always for some kind of audience, even if it’s an imagined audience.

Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective @Guggenheim reviewed by DLK Collection: 

What I found most impressive about this consistently superlative body of work is how Dijkstra’s underlying ideas about the nature of portraiture have been evolving. While much has been made of her historic ties to Sander and Arbus, I think Dijkstra’s portraits start with these influences and then quickly move somewhere new. There is an enormous amount of experimentation and innovation visible here, all of it closely clustered around the challenge of getting people to show their true selves.

Stephen Alvarez ponders Instagram: 

World events might look very different in a Instagram universe. How long before collectives of photographers begin covering events under one Instagram name? Imagine what @MagnunPhotos_tahrirsquare or @GreenRevolution_VII could have looked like?

Shelby Lynn Adams in conversation with Catherine Edelman on Flak Photo:

When having someone sit or stand in front of a 4×5 camera, it requires a more conscious commitment. Your subject has to stay relatively still and not move. I often engage people in conversation before we make photographs, making sure that they are comfortable and relaxed within themselves, and we talk about no specific topic. I ask people to tell me their stories and they do. What the viewer does not see is the test Polaroids first made to check exposure, focus and technical issues. I’ll make approximately three Polaroids and develop them, sharing them with my subjects. This usually takes several minutes. If one is particularly good, I ask my subject if they would like for me to make a Polaroid just for them to keep. Usually, people want more than one. We study the backgrounds, compositions, eyes, lighting, etc. and discuss the direction to look, almost always right into the center of the lens. After making a couple of images, people settle and become more serious, even children. I tell people to be natural, look for their own reflection within the lens and hold steady, I rarely say, don’t do this or that, only when someone is acting stiff or too rigid, I might say, take a deep breath and relax.

Photographer Noah Devereauex had a run in with some Nigerian scammers: 

What first tipped me off was the the suggestion that full transportation and hotel will be covered. While I don’t make it above 23rd street very often, Central Park isn’t so far from Brooklyn that I can’t take the subway and sleep in my own bed after it’s all done. I think they meant to target a photographer a little farther away. Even given the last minute nature of this supposed wedding, I rarely get couples so eager to book without some kind of personal recommendation from a past client. There’s also no chance that a couple from the UK or anyone else for that matter would be able to book the Central Park Boathouse for a good size wedding on such short notice. I’ve photographed a number of small weddings in Central Park for Swedish couples who have been a joy to work with but those weddings I’ve often wound up signing the marriage application as a witness as there are no other guests attending.

©Shelby Lee Adams – via [Flak Photo]


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