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Magazine style


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

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Magazine style

5 Oct 2020 9:22AM   Views : 457 Unique : 312


Has changed over the years. Apologies to anyone who thought I was talking about something other than the design of journals. Fairly recently, I got hold of and disposed of a few relics from somebody else’s photographic life: most were immediately passed on, but I held onto the only magazine in there, the April 1965 edition of 35mm and Sub-Miniature Photography. Catchy name, no?

The cover (quite literally) focusses on the then-new Leicaflex, and the review inside includes the range of four lenses ranging from 35mm to 135mm! It’s a sight more deferential than modern reviews are, but then, it was a rather special camera, Leitz’s first single lens reflex, nearly 30 years after the Exakta started a new trend.


I was charmed that there’s an advertisement from CZ Scientific Instruments for the Werramat II, which explains more about how a camera I own works than I’d seen before. There are readers’ letters and problems, just as in this week’s Amateur Photographer.

There is an annoying tendency to continue articles on a page near the back: thankfully, this hasn’t happened in British magazines for twenty or thirty years. I suspect getting the typesetting done was a far more difficult task when I was 11 years old. And I have no idea why page numbers in the index run from 714 to 758 – though the index (thankfully) runs in page order, instead of being all jumbled up as is the modern tendency.


The front cover is mercifully free of ‘straplines’ – the best example, otherwise, is the subscription version of Black and White, as you can see. The version you find on the shelves at newsagents has plenty of disfiguring writing, so it really is worth subscribing to get that big, straightforward cover. AP is getting rather cluttered these days.

Comparing older copies of magazines with current ones, there’s usually more content in the new ones, though it’s not necessarily terribly original. Some of the monthlies seem to cycle through the top couple of dozen topics, so that subscribing for more than a year is a waste of time, really. Are they wrong? I’m guessing not, or the marketing people would change tack – for a good few years, most magazines have followed a very cynical line, with a stable of magazines, and pretty free interchange of staff between camera, motoring, mountain biking and computing titles. Having said that, a 1989 PP contained a few gems in the editorial, and a splendid Bob Carlos Clarke advertising shot.


Black and White ploughs a lonely and idiosyncratic furrow, and has one foot firmly in the world of galleries and collectors. AP provides the broadest coverage, with decent time given to all genres, including darkroom work.

35mm is long gone: it had become Photography by the time I was reading such things, and died out in the Eighties, after a period of instability. But secondhand bookshops may provide a dividend for the searcher: for most of the Seventies and Eighties, there was a Photography Annual every year, with excellent images reproduced big and at high quality. Worth buying if you see one…


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
5 Oct 2020 9:24AM
Yes, the PP and AP covers are gratuitous glamour. Here's a bonus, though - a shot from the 1989 magazine, involving no post-processing at all...

altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
5 Oct 2020 10:17AM
I have a copy of a German magazine from 1954 called Photo Magazin in the original cardboard mailer it was sent in to an address in Britain. It was supplied with an English translation of the main articles. The photos published were of very good quality, nearly all black & white on good paper. There is also, bound in, one very nice full size watercolour picture on art paper.
The many adverts are most interesting, some for Leica, Braun, Metz & Rolleiflex and others for makers less well known, cameras, shutters, lenses, flashguns and darkroom equipment. There are also ads for cars, such as Borgward and odd things such as shaving soap. I have photographed many of the pages.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
5 Oct 2020 10:58AM
Now, that sounds like a 'collectable' rarity, and rather lovely...
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 37 8 England
5 Oct 2020 11:51AM
Agree with you about the monthlies, they all seem to recycle the same content. I've tried several subscriptions over the past few years and cancelled them
all for that reason. The images and some of the adverts change but the subject matter is mostly re-hashed. Bit like the endless repeats on the telly Smile

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