PHOTOGRAPH: a digital magazine

Today I want to introduce you to a new digital magazine I have been reading.

It’s a big publication, over 120 pages in each issue, with huge inspirational photographs, tips and tutorials that I know you are going to love.

But before I get to the magazine there’s something I want to say …

Now that I have over 5,000 people on my newsletter list and 40,000 people following in various forms of social media, I receive emails every week from people who want me to promote their products.

People have offered to pay me to allow them to write a post on my blog that promotes some piece of equipment.

Or they want to pay me for an advertisement which, while they say it is photography related in the beginning of the conversation, always turns out to be online poker (uh oh, I know I’m going to get spam for even using the words “online poker” in my post).

Ok, it’s not always poker, sometimes it’s an airline that doesn’t offer flights to North America where most of my readers are.

I always decline these offers. Why? Because I put my readers first and I know you would hate that crap.

Even though I would like to make some money to help sustain this new nomadic lifestyle, I want to do it on my terms.

From all the email conversations I have had with my actual readers, I know that most of you have a lot in common with me. That’s why I only ever promote or recommend products or services that I have personally used, ones that provide value, ones that I’m comfortable associating myself with, and ones that just give me that warm fuzzy feeling when I know you are going to thank me for letting you know about it.

And I try not to worry about it if I think the product is in competition with my own products because I know most of you are here because you want to learn about photography and that’s what I want too! For me and for you!

So anyway …

I just finished reading the second issue of a new digital magazine called “PHOTOGRAPH: A Quarterly Magazine for Creative Photographers” published by Craft & Vision.

PhotoIssue2_Preview_1Of course I loved the first issue, but I wanted to make sure they would be able to maintain the level of quality and inspiration I saw in the first issue going forward.

Well … they did!

Craft & Vision consistently puts out quality products and you may have seen some of my reviews of their ebooks before. Some the ebooks I don’t review because they are not in my niche (like the ones on studio lighting for example) and, like I said, I’m not going to recommend an ebook that I haven’t read.

But the thing I like about PHOTOGRAPH is that each edition covers a wide range of photography-related topics written by a variety of authors so there is always something of value in it for everyone.

This is a gorgeous, ad-free magazine full of great photographs and articles from exceptional photographers and authors who understand that this is not only a technical pursuit, but also an artistic one, and write as much from the heart as they do from their expertise.

Each issue contains stunning portfolios that not only inspire but give us insight into the minds of photographers. By studying a collection of their images along with a Q&A section we discover how and why they make these particular images. We learn a bit about the photographer’s background, how they found their path to photography and to their unique niche in photography, and what inspires them today.

In Issue One of PHOTOGRAPH:

Bruce Percy presents a collection of 21 stunning landscape photos from Iceland. In the Q&A Percy talks about the need for photographers to have an increased awareness of the movement of time over a landscape such as “the timing of clouds as they drift across the landscape, of waves as they rise and fall … how they break and what sort of patterns they leave behind.”

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Nate Parker presents a collection of 29 long exposure black and white images of Acadia and New England. In the Q&A Parker discusses how he uses black and white to achieve a sense or serenity and intimacy by reducing the photograph to its essential elements: texture, light, and form. Parker talks about how his photographic journeys are a time of solitude away from all distractions which he uses to dig deep and discover new work within himself. Interestingly, he finds his breakthrough doesn’t usually come until the 4th or 5th day. I like the idea that he gives himself this time to create. It’s not just a matter of going somewhere, running around making tons of images and returning within a few hours. It requires time. I like that.

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Art Wolfe, one of my greatest inspirations, presents 16 images from Burma and Hokkaido. In the Q&A Wolfe talks about the importance of his emotional connection to his subjects. “You have to love your subject before others can love your photos,” he says.

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In Issue Two of PHOTOGRAPH:

Martin Bailey presents a collection of 20 wildlife and landscape images from Japan. Bailey talks about how living in Japan and the exposure to Japanese art has helped him hone his craft so he is able to communicate his vision with as few visual elements as possible. Bailey says that patience is a big part of his art. One of his images, red-crowned cranes dancing in the snow, took him 7 years of going back to the same location to capture this very special moment. “That memory is as dear to me as the photographs I made that morning,” he says.

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Andy Biggs presents a collection of 20 black and white images of African wildlife which was deeply inspirational to me. He is making the kind of images I aspire to make one day. I have longed to go to Africa for many years to make images just like these. The elephants at the watering hole, the zebras running across a river, the acacia trees in the mist – all of these images I wish were mine.

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Chris Orwig presents a collection of 20 mesmerizing portraits in sepia. He captures the essence of a person as their gaze appears to look right into the viewer’s soul. For Orwig the most important ingredient to a compelling image is not light which is contrary to how most photographers think. Rather it is his connection to the subject, be it a person or a tree. “I am interested in pictures that are authentic, meaningful, full of life and not just well lit.” Now I understand why his images seem to touch my soul – because they touched his and he shares that with us through his images. The Q&A with Chris made me put some thought into my own creative purpose and honesty and authenticity in my art.

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The internet gives photography enthusiasts an unlimited ability to find inspiration and learn from new photographers we find online. We all have intentions of spending time studying the masters of our craft. But somewhere along the way of finding the greats and deciding what kind of photographs we like and who is worth reading we get distracted and find ourselves lost in Pinterest or Google+ inundated with hundreds of photographs until it all becomes a blur.

PHOTOGRAPH gives us an opportunity in that the great photographers whose work is worth studying are presented to us. We are given a stunning portfolio of their work along with the background and insights as to why they photograph, how they photograph, and their unique approach to their art.

It is an opportunity to turn the outside world off for awhile to study and learn to become better photographers ourselves.

It is this part of the magazine I like the most. But each issue also contains a variety of articles on topics like creativity, composition, post-processing, editing, printing, and yes, even gear. Just like the name of the publisher suggests, the magazine is a great mix of craft and vision, both essential requirements in photography.

If you are a fan of David duChemin’s writing, like I am, you will find plenty of it in PHOTOGRAPH.

In “The Art of the Edit” duChemin writes about the importance and difficulty of editing our work. Digital cameras have made it possible for us to shoot as much as we like with ultimate freedom and without the hindrance of processing costs in the back of our minds. But editing is an art in itself and one that we should all take some time to learn for it is then that we decide which of our thousands of images will be seen. duChemin gives us some tips to help us both during and after the shoot.

In “Capturing the Moment” duChemin claims that most of the skills required to make a compelling image have little to do with the gear we use. What the gear does for us is “get the photons onto the sensor; the rest is up to us.” With cameras in everyone’s hands these days everything has already been photographed. Our challenge is to “express our unique view of those so oft-photographed subjects.”

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In “On Missing the Shot” duChemin says that getting the great images is more than being there at the right time, it’s being present in the moment and being receptive to what is there. We tend to look for what we are expecting which makes us blind to other options.

In the first two issues you will also find articles by other well known photographers:

  • John Paul Caponigro writes about creative composition and using the frame.
  • Younes Bounhar writes about backlight and long exposures.
  • Andrew S. Gibson writes about portrait photography.
  • Chris Orwig writes about fueling your creativity.
  • Kevin Clark writes about homemade fluorescent lighting and food photography.
  • Piet Van Den Eynde writes about image processing.
  • Martin Bailey writes about the art of making prints.
  • Nicole S. Young writes about making the most of your gear.
  • Al Smith introduces us to the gear goodies we all love.
  • Finally, each issue is polished off by a narrative story by Jay Goodrich that makes any photographer want to grab their gear and head for the next adventure.

One of the things I like about the magazine, aside from the huge photographs, is their business model. There are no ads or sponsors and all of the artists whose photographs and writing are featured in the magazine get paid for their work. That says a lot when photographers these days are constantly asked to give their photos away for free in exchange for photo credit. This magazine values photographs the same way we as photographers value photographs. They are our muse, our purpose, our passion. And that’s worth something.

PHOTOGRAPH costs $24 for four issues per year, which works out to $6 per issue. You also have the option of purchasing individual issues for $8 if you want.

Find out more about the magazine and subscribe here.

I truly hope you have enjoyed this review of PHOTOGRAPH whether you end up subscribing or not. There are some golden nuggets of inspiration in these short summaries. The magazine is very different from my own products. The ebooks I have written so far, including the one I am working on right now, are about the “how” of photography. This magazine is more about the “why.”

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3 Responses to “PHOTOGRAPH: a digital magazine”

  1. How could I resist after a review like that. I’ve ordered my subscription. Now if I can only find time to read….

  2. Sandy Reich says:

    I agree with you about the excellence of this publication. Unfortunately, you forgot to mention that the magazine cannot be printed. This presents a problem for those of us who cannot read 120 pages off a monitor screen.

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