Why I Hate Photography Magazines

  1. They wouldn’t print my pictures.
  2. My other gripe is the standard of pictures that pass for ‘amateur’ photographers.  Each magazine has a readers’ pictures section with pictures that range from crass filler material to epic pieces of photojournalism.  Some of the best pictures are taken with a £10 000 camera using a paid model in an expensive studio environment, in other words – professional.   A lot of amateur magazine contests seem to be won by pros, supplementing their income.  If they’ve already got the great shot (or an unused out take) why not submit it and win some brand new kit or cash?
  3. There’s a hellova lot of kit reviews.  Kit reviews usually mean digital these days and I’m biased.  But, how interesting are three page articles comparing different ISO setting on the same camera?  Usually, it involves a lot of snaps of things a short walk from magazine’s office – that means London and either The Eye or Big Ben.  I just don’t believe that you kit matters that much.  I need more examples of great pictures and more descriptions of how great photographers work, not how their camera work.  For the price of a magazine, you can normally get a half decent photo book and learn more about images that way.

So I hate them all, until they start printing my stuff.


23 thoughts on “Why I Hate Photography Magazines

  1. I recently started a free film photography magazine, digital editions at the moment. I can’t offer much except the free time I’m putting in this project. If you are interested in submitting a film photography portfolio (5 – 15 images) please feel free to contact me via my blog -> contact.
    The magazine is for film photographers to write or show their work. No fancy stuff, no adds.


  2. Good on you, apart from which we got the web anytime anywhere. Haven,t bought a magazine for years, they are all crap same old same old. they used to criticise grain in photos one month then run an article on how wonderful grain is the next month ect ect depending on who was advertising that month I guess. Have to say I use digital for commercial reasons though I would have to admit I do not miss a darkroom in the slightest. As regard theory,composition ect my method is to read,history of photography,about photographers I admire, the technical shit can be learned a camera is just a machine after all, its the mind not the kit that makes a difference. Still battling with the mind bit!


  3. great post. i can remember entering some of those “amateur” photo contest back in the day. i sh*t you not, one of the winning photos was shot from a helicopter at a volcano in hawaii. i was like, “how the hell can i compete with that?” don’t get me wrong, it was a great shot but it looked WAY TOO GOOD to be done by an amateur. it wasn’t too much longer after that i started just shooting for the fun and love of it….and that’s all i have done ever since. i shoot mostly with a 1974 rangefinder…how can you compare a shot with a single fixed lens rangefinder with a shot done with a canon mark d5?


  4. I’m not alone! Being new to working in the medium, I subscribed to a few with the crazy idea that there would be something in regards to process, theory, composition techniques, etc. The ones I have are gear-head zines.


  5. Very well said.. completely agree with you. I have similar viewpoints regarding the Nature photographer of the Year contest, a lot of very high end photos taken in locations most of us won’t get a chance to venture into, and some right crap photos..


  6. Very true. But the not so hidden agenda of mainstream photography magazines is to push the latest gear and software, and to keep people upgrading. Afterall, their revenue is highly dependent upon advertising, most of which is from the photography industry. That’s why I never read them!


  7. Heh, heh… Good post, except it was early morning when I read it and I laughed out loud and woke my wife who was sleeping on the other end of the house.
    Since I was always slipping out of the house before dawn with a camera in my hand or leaving on the motorcycle with a camera in my saddlebag, a few years ago my wife subscribed to a couple of the photo mags for me. She had good intentions, but I found them to be a continuous source of aggravation.
    1. They are not about photography, so their names are misnomers.
    2. They are about selling the idea of constant equipment “upgrades”.
    3. I was nearly always mystified by the selection of the contest winners.
    4. Many articles were about why one needed to do extensive post-processing with software that one didn’t yet own or care to own, rather than why or how to capture a photo in the camera instead of spending too much time at the computer.
    5. 99% of my photos are used on my web site, but I never saw an article about using a $20 hammer to pound that nail. The magazines would invariably advise that one buy a $2,000 laser-guided, water-cooled, compressed air nail driver to do that job, when the $20 model was overkill to begin with.
    6. They are not about photography, so their names are misnomers.

    A self-serving link to my site follows: http://rralexander.wordpress.com/


  8. I also find that when magazines do group tests, they always choose at least one bit of gear that is in a different price range or totally different specs to the rest. To be honest, I’d rather read about other photographers and see more portfolios than the opinions of so called photography journalists.


  9. You missed out…
    4. They wouldn’t print my pictures. !

    Well said. If you are a regular subscriber to any photo magazine, it is inevitable that you will be reading the same routine tips and techniques, month in – month out. Much better to publish, as you have stated, great pics along with all the details as to how, where, why and when.



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