So I am a bit of a nut for magazines - can't get enough of 'em actually. That is to say, I love the idea of magazines and certainly have my favorites as well as those that I will never pick up, no matter how boring the dentist's waiting room is. Being a photographer, I am mesmerized by my images on the pages, and even more so by the photography of others. I always make a point of reading the photo credits buried in the gutter to see if I recognize the photogs name. The writer in me loves to settle in to a heavy, well-researched, well-crafted chunk of good old-fashion journalism. As embarrassing as it is, i've always had a short attention span when it comes to wading through an entire book. (Don't get me wrong though - the feeling of finishing a good book is for real.) And on the other end of the spectrum, I kind of wish the quick, short, content-diarrhea phenomenon of Twitter would fade away. For me, a good magazine is the happy middle ground. They allow me to sink my teeth into an article on the life of Cream's Ginger Baker one night and follow it up with an (over-my-head) essay on the challenges of closing Gitmo the next night. Perfect! I am sure that I am the customer the subscription departments of Sunset, National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, Conde Nast Traveler, Time, Men's Journal, Juxtzpoz, Rolling Stone, Ready Made, and Outside just dream of.
Why do I mention all of this, other than to waste precious space on the internet for an audience of (insert cricket sounds here). Well, as I have been following more and more blogs, I am watching the world of magazines (and printed material in general) change before my eyes and feel like sharing some things that have caught my eye lately.
Here they are:
As someone who works as a publications specialist at a photography school and occasional contributor to various magazines, I am keenly aware of the cost, effort, waste and impact of any publication. It's obvious, magazines are F&%*ing expensive and wasteful. Recently, Conde Nast's decision to give 3 titles the axe is a prime example of trying to stay afloat in tough times. Well today, another title gets to join them in the wooden box. Nat'l Geographic Adventure is gettin the boot. (Found the story on The Adventure Life blog). Bummer.
Aside from cost, a shitty economy, the convergence of still and video and everyone needing to have everything on a screen is also to blame.
Exhibit A: Sports Illustrated tablet
Exhibit B: Love this parody from UK's The Sun
Exhibit C: Esquire Magazine's WEIRD* Augmented Reality issue
*I should note that when I say weird, I mean that the idea of holding a recently-purchased magazine up to your computer screen so that you can watch a video kind of defeats the purpose of the very magazine you are clinching in your mitts. Congratulations Esquire, you have tricked me into giving you $3.99 for smoke and mirrors.
Finally, all the happenings in the world of magazines has inspired me to do something with the mountains of mags that are currently turning my house into a bird cage. I am gonna take these dead trees and turn 'em into a photo project of my own. Perhaps it will end up so good that you will see it in ... a magazine.