Wednesday, May 5, 2010
A letter to photo magazine editors
Dear Editor of (add name here) photography magazine,
I'm just letting you know that I've stopped buying your magazine today. I wouldn't normally bother writing to a magazine I no longer read, but as I've been a reader for 30 years I thought I'd let you know my reasons (as they may apply to other ex-readers too!).
I find that the magazine no longer speaks to me and the images do not engage me. In the past I've bought your magazine for a single article, test report or even to read the adverts, but recently I've found very little to catch my eye.
My principle reason for not buying your magazine is that there are too many photographs and articles on landscape photography, the same goes for nature photography. I've been overloaded by photographs of the Isle of Skye and Arizona (plus several other old chestnuts), that all look the same. I'm tired of seeing step by step articles on how to photograph a bunch of flowers, or take a portrait of a child. This style of photography is called pictorialism and it's of a very poor quality.
Your test reports used to be useful and well written, but now I find them long winded, and just like tests on the internet, packed with more information than I or most people need. I've noticed that magazines are no longer satisfied with testing cameras and lenses but are now giving their opinions on everything from winter gloves to lens wipes.
Apart from the test reports, I've noticed that there seems to be less writing in the magazine. An average week will see the appraisals of reader's photographs, reader's letters, famous photographs or photographers, an article on landscape photography, a bit of news about new products, and a short editorial. Added together it's probably less than 30 minutes reading. There is nothing new there for me.
I'm guessing that the target audience for most photography magazines are people of 55 and older. The reason I'm drawn to this conclusion is because I see plenty of photographs of historic houses, public gardens, vintage cars, airshows, not forgetting the landscapes, flowers and animals. I'm no teenager but I find these subjects very, very dull.
So goodbye photography magazines - you've failed to surprise or shock, or even amuse me for the past few years and now I've cancelled my subscription. From now on I'll buy a newspaper or a book when I travel by air or train.