Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Blrry I, Nov 16, 2014.
That's why they have twelve people on a jury, and not just one.
Isn't the whole point of the bed, and in fact the Turner Prize to provoke debate - to make the person on the street ask the question do I think this is art and if not, why not? For one day a year pieces of art provoke conversations over breakfast, during lunch breaks or in the evening about what people who spend the other 364 days worrying about more 'important things' what they consider to be art? That piece is now 16 years old and still provoking that question.
I don't attend club competitions so cannot comment on what is entered in their competitions but having just bought AP and seen the results of the latest round of APOY I would have to say in my opinion the competition would benefit from an injection of the irrelevance, fun and danger of the Turner Prize as the results look on the printed page very safe.
I so often wish there was a publication called, perhaps, the Alternative Photographer! Some of us need the challenge of different perspectives on art and photography too. Not a question of age, simply of minds seking the excitement of the interpretations of art forms in ways which push the boundaries a little wider as to what is art - and in the medium here, photography.
The people who say - there must be more to it than this?
I would also love to see AP push a little more at those boundaries, but I fear it will not happen. I fear it pushes the amateur photographer to greater heights with equipment - but not with the photography it chooses to promote.
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” ...Gandhi
So, perhaps we need more beds?
That's how I see AP too- indeed I often wonder why I bother to keep up my subscription.
Especially for you, SA
Get out of bed,
look at the pictures on the wall,
and comb your hair.
and have a lovely day.
That's not entirely fair. Looking at the 22 November issue I see:
Opening page, below editorial: "Online picture of the week" (not kit). Next spread: Big Picture (not kit). PP 10-15: Landscape photography (not kit). PP 20-22: Roosting birds (heavily illustrated "how-to"). PP32-35: War history (not exactly peddling modern kit). Back page: Final Analysis (not kit).
If you can't find anything interesting in that lot, maybe you should indeed cancel your subscription. Or possibly give up photography altogether. You may decry some of these pictures as "safe" (to borrow Paul M's word), but I don't think you can decently accuse all of them of that. What, in your view, would an "unsafe" picture look like? Or an "unsafe" magazine? After encountering FOAM magazine at Arles I subscribed to it -- http://foam.org/magazine -- but after a year or two I gave up because in the long run it was a lot more "samey" than AP.
AP gets its money from advertising and subscription or the cover price, The subscription and cover price pays for printing and distribution, the advertising pays the salaries and generates the profit. Manufacturers and advertisers also want editorial space, they want to push their products, they want good reviews and they drive content. You will rarely see a truly honest review of anything in any hobby magazine, certainly true in my three hobby areas of Photography, diving and astronomy.
The amount AP can charge for advertising is based on two things, circulation and demographic, so the more ABC1/2 they get buying it the better. They are not going to risk putting people off by being too avant-garde or 'out there'.
I think you are right, there is too much technical and not enough art but thats why we have the Interweb and all those flickr groups. Magazines are businesses and I think it would be very hard for a art based subjective magazine to survive, so we end up with safe, but its better than nothing!
There are a couple of more subscription dependent landscape magazines out there which I also buy but I enjoy the shop window that AP gives me.
And from page 35 to page 89? Kit
Something different, image-wise? Zero
The thing is, some of us haven't given up on photography. We are still learning, experimenting and appreciating innovation. Have you moved on? Has AP? At least the editor acknowledges the requirement for advertising revenue. Now we need an acknowledgement of somewhat stale choices of images.
When I saw this my immediate thought was ‘Woke up, got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head...’
They work, then.
Yes, of course there's kit. You may not like it, but surprisingly many people do and it sells the magazine, subsidizing the other stuff. Without it, there'd be no advertisers. Without buyers and advertising, there'd be no magazine. Go on: subscribe to FOAM. See how you like it.
As for "Have you moved on?" and "some of us haven't given up on photography", this verges on plain bloody rude. If you want to try that tack, yes, I've certainly taken quite a lot of pictures that I'd regard as being at least as interesting or progressive or whatever as the stuff you've just posted on this thread, within the last (let's say) 6 months, but I don't regard them as being of such consuming interest to the world that I can be bothered with FaceTube, YouBook, etc., which seems to be a prerequisite for linking here.
Do you REALLY believe that the pictures I choose for "Final Analysis" are invariably so dull and predictable as to offer nothing to those who are "still learning, experimenting and appreciating innovation"? If so, what do you mean by "learning, experimenting and appreciating innovation"?
Sorry to be so testy, but think how you feel about what I've just written, and consider that I feel pretty much the same about being accused of not "moving on" and "giving up on photography". I'd also add that "moving on" can readily be construed as "if you can't make it good, make it novel" and is a phrase often used by those who aren't even doing anything novel, but merely following recent fashions instead of older ones. Or indeed, ignoring fashion altogether and pursuing their own vision.
Addendum: Every year, at Arles, I see scores of exhibitions and the work of hundreds of photographers, who get off their arses and put together exhibitions, instead of sitting at their keyboards sniping at everything they don't agree with.
I must disagree - in my opinion, the last redesign / editorial changes of the mag have moved the emphasis even more towards photography and pictures rather than equipment.
For the the equipment fans, IPC, sorry, Time, publishes WDC, and AP retains a smattering of coverage of vintage cameras - not seen in any other newsagent distributed publication.
I haven't done a precise cont, but I get a strong impression that the number of pages devoted to new equipment, versus the number of pages devoted to pictures, technique, and historical interest, has moved significantly in favour of the latter.
Absolutely right, but apparently they are not the pictures that the self-proclaimed "progressives" want.
On this particular issue I agree wholeheartedly with Kate but can also see a bit of Roger's viewpoint. Does that seem an impossible paradox?
The kit-centricism of AP does annoy me a bit at times (OK - all the time) mainly because, if I am considering a new piece of kit, I want to be able to find the most up-to-date reviews there and then. I don't want to try to remember what was written in AP 3 months ago in an issue that has now been passed on through the camera club magazine exchange, nor wait a month for a review that has still to be published. So, when I do want kit-centred info, the internet is a hugely better source than a magazine.
Against that, I do like to keep reasonably up-to-date with technological developments, even if they may have no immediate relevance to my own practice.
Like Kate, I would like to see much more content pushing at the artistic constraints that seem to dull so much of what we read and, especially, what folk say on this forum. If the magazine was more progressive, then maybe our discussions here would follow.
Having said all of that, I have to agree with Alex. The magazine has improved significantly in the course of this year - that is a good start and we just need to see the rate of change accelerate a smidgeon.
As I mentioned in a post some months ago, I normally read AP exclusively in the "smallest room". It used to last only one visit; now I can enjoy it for two or three.
All right: how? What sort of "pushing" would you like to see? How do you think the magazine could be more "progressive"? Do you find the pictures in Final Analysis to be tiresome and old-fashioned?
These are not rhetorical questions. I am genuinely interested. I suspect Nigel will be too.
Old-fashioned sometimes but not tiresome. I do sometimes find the language a little difficult but as a product of the 1980's British education system that's probably my fault. I like Final Analysis and usually read it first, I wouldn't change it and I am not just saying that because you are here! Sometimes its the only part of the magazine that deviates from the bland and banal.
So given we have the columns, the editorials and the letters, the adverts, the reviews and the product placement articles, that leaves space for two or three other articles each week. You will need the ones on basic technique, advanced technique, history and vintage but then you could throw in something different every couple of weeks. Hard to give concrete examples but 'perfect imperfection' would be an interesting one. Use old, cheap un-coated lenses to encourage flare, photos that make you feel uncomfortable emotionally or socially, photography as art, rather than description or reporting.
You always hear about getting the perfect shot in camera, how about creating art in and out of camera. I have done a few courses recently and pretty much anything with strong contrast or high saturation gets described as 'abstract'. Now all this tells me is that the tutor doesn't actually know what abstract is, but photography can be art as well as description and it would be good to follow that path occasionally.
Thanks for a good argument with concrete examples. I could not agree more. The sole problem is that everything which really, really interests some people will turn others off, and it's always a guess (politely known as an editorial decision -- that's what makes a good editor) whether you will please more people than you will lose.
Quite a lot of AP readers are still firmly grounded in an old-fashioned camera club ethos, and for understandable reasons, we do not want to lose them. If at all possible, we want to move them along gently and also to attract younger readers: otherwise, our readership will disappear as they sequentially fall off their several perches. I've proposed a couple of articles along the lines you suggest -- one has been agreed and another is awaiting a decision -- and you have given me some more ideas: thanks again.
As for "old-fashioned", well, that's because I believe that while there is no new thing under the sun, there can be new ways of doing things and (still more importantly) better ways than most people realize. Consider for example Duane Michals. I like his work very much, but as well as his "story telling" approach, there is a visual consistency to his photography that is often lacking in the work of people who appear to think they are doing something new, even though he was doing the same thing, better, 30+ years ago. If I could learn to be as good a photographer as Roger Fenton (1819-1869) I would not regard myself as old-fashioned. In fact, I see "fashion", whether new or old, as a major barrier to personal vision.
On the language: sorry. Ain't gonna change now. Thanks for the polite assumption that it may be a results of your poor education in the 1980s. Then again, I gave up teaching in the 1970s...
First up I love magazines, have published my own fanzines and I spend up to £15 a week on magazines - music, photography and architectural ones mainly. I have bought seven of the last eight AP's so this is the impression I have over a short period of time. I always read from the back to the front (as advertiser know I will) and the magazine itself appears to me as a reader to be pulling in different as yet unresolved directions . To date I have enjoyed Final Analysis, thought the online picture of the week should always have been printed as the big picture and found the majority of the articles interesting and well illustrated.
If your interested in what I found safe, both competition results, the mono landscape feature, the urban portraits were just reject Next catalog pictures and the two studio picture how to's were very old fashioned. The layout of the magazine compared to others I buy seems dated and I would prefer in features like the Rene Burri feature to have to have one or two large images that I can really see than lots of thumbnail sized ones.
What really surprises me is that the forum here is full of humour and is a very enjoyable place to spend some time and full of the readers you would want to keep but that somehow that fun is missing from the magazine and the images that are printed. Cheers, Paul
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