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Amateur Photographer magazine


A photograph that gives food for thought is usually more interesting than one that supplies all the answers ready-made.
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Amateur Photographer magazine

22 Oct 2017 2:05PM   Views : 1102 Unique : 324

After fifty-plus years of exposure to its once-revered pages and over a decade of contractual quarterly expenditure I have just cancelled my subscription to Amateur Photographer. I'm no longer learning anything from it; I can get more up-to-date news and read as many camera/lens reviews as I wish on line.

The current style of the magazine, developed since the departure of Damien Demolder, with its weekly concentration on single topics such as light painting, wildlife or car portraiture, frequently leaves me practically nothing to read. The magazine sets up a trio of relatively well-known photographers most weeks to produce a brief, straightforward instructional text on a common popular theme; almost all the tips and so forth are no more than common sense. Regular two-page features on British landscape locations strike me as encouraging people to follow the herd and take the same photographs as everyone else rather than indulge in some original thinking.

I can't get inspired by the APOY competition because all the winners are now chosen by some sort of worldwide sampling, ensuring that they are increasingly 'trendy'; most of the photos are reproduced at thumbnail size and scattered confusingly and almost at random across the pages. Not attracted by the trends, I'm never likely to get to know the photographers either by frequent exposure to their work or by actually meeting them.

The long-awaited return to two letters pages from the present singleton – promised maybe six or eight weeks ago – has failed to materialise, leaving me little to read beyond the rapidly-diminishing pages of advertisements. 'There is lots more on our website', they say. The more AP puts on line, the less need we have to buy the magazine, which then loses more pages– it has a score fewer now than a year ago – and more readers, so they put more on line, cut a few more pages, and so on ad infinitum.

Meanwhile on ePHOTOzine we can follow the progress of interesting, thoughtful and frequently original photographers, encourage them and receive encouragement, enjoy their work and even meet up with them.

Of course, by stopping AP I'll have to forego my weekly dose of inspirational journalism from the controversial, entertaining, gloriously quirky and always astute Roger Hicks - but I can read far more of him on line too.


SlowSong Plus
14 10.3k 30 England
23 Oct 2017 1:47PM
Gosh, Bill, if I had your way with words it could have been me writing your post. I can't disagree with anything you say and it's disappointing that much of the magazine is of absolutely no interest. Far too expensive, as are all photography magazines, and so repetitive we might as well keep them a year and just re-read them the following year. Like you, I don't like the new APOTY format. It used to feel like a club, but now it's gone multinational and lost the intimacy it once had. It's hard to break a habit, but with each issue I feel as if I might as well just flick through it in the shop and then put it back on the shelf. The days of settling down with a cup of tea and a good read are gone. Sad

The only magazine I subscribe to is Black and White Photography which includes some good articles and does actually inspire me to get out with the camera at times, although I often think that unless an image is mostly black, fuzzy or just a snap, it's not worthy of publication.
woolybill1 Plus
15 38 79 United Kingdom
23 Oct 2017 2:20PM
Great to read your thoughts, Chris. Here's another vote for Black and White Photography from me, including the caveat about mostly black and fuzzy (sometimes, anyway). Tim Clinch's articles on mobile phone photography have inspired me to try it as an alternative to the old faithful Emergency Lumix, though I process on the laptop in the usual way - I can't get away with the combination of fat fingers, titchy screen and apps that come without a manual to explain what to do. And I'm starting to appreciate Alex Schneideman's articles too.
What B&W can't do, despite its frequent efforts, is persuade me to try extra-large-format wet collodion photography: life is too short. But every page gives food for thought even for this grizzled old-timer.
woolybill1 Plus
15 38 79 United Kingdom
6 Nov 2017 8:49AM
To enlarge on one earlier point: the Letters page in the latest issue of AP (cover date 11 Nov) contains two columns of letters; the third and final column is advertising. And the letters include photographs, by the way, reducing printed comment still further . . .

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