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Steve Gosling 'Advertorial' Piece Issue 31/10/15

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by Scrufftie, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. Scrufftie

    Scrufftie New Member

    I quite enjoyed Steve Gosling's piece about ditching the DSLR in favour of a CSC for landscapes. However, I am disappointed that the article does not make it clear (I don't think it's even mentioned) that Steve's enthusiasm for Olympus and Gitzo is qualified by the fact that he is sponsored by both Olympus cameras and Gitzo tripods. Olympus, in particular, were heavily promoted in this 'article'. Whilst I appreciate that the world of photography benefits from these sponsorship/ambassador deals, I think it is critical that magazines make it clear to readers when an article is written by someone in this position.

    For my part, the fact that Steve has a commercial relationship with Olympus and Gitzo rather undermined the message as I was left thing, 'well he would say that, wouldn't he?'

    That's not to say that Steve does not produce excellent images, he clearly does. However, AP has a responsibility to ensure that it remains neutral.

    I am actually no clearer on whether we should be ditching our DSLRs, I already knew that Olympus would prefer us to!
  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Have to say that although I'm not generally over-bothered about such things when they don't detract from the picture, I did chuckle at the number of burnt-out highlights in this article which rather undermined the advertorial. ;)
  3. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    I'm not too worried about the "advertorial" aspect - most writers will tend to show favour towards the brand that they personally use, irrespective of whether they pay for the stuff or receive sponsorship.

    But the appalling quality of the photographs, as printed in the magazine, are yet another example of how AP simply fails to illustrate articles in an acceptable way. I am assuming that the burned-out highlights and general lack of tonal control is a feature of AP's printing process rather than a consequence of the author using Olympus cameras.

    They used one of my photos for an "Appraisal" feature a few months ago and showed "Before" and "After" versions. Frankly, if anyone could discern any difference between the two it was down to over-active imagination rather than good eyesight. And, frequently, in camera and lens tests, the illustrations designed to show "quality" of resolution or suchlike simply do not show anything of the kind.

    But, I suspect, if they printed the magazine on quality paper with quality processes, they would need to fill far more pages with advertising to cover the increased cost..... and that would lend weight to complaints in another forum thread.
  4. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Or go monthly and up the editorial content. And price (slightly)?
  5. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I checked the online version. Burned out there, too, so nt mag repro. The ones someone else mentioned the other day (possibly you, Eric?) had shadow detail, but these were still dodgy.
  6. Philip Hall

    Philip Hall AP Staff

    Thanks for your feedback and we'll take it on board, but just to clarify that this wasn't a feature paid for by Olympus, purely a professional's story on how and why he's swapped over to a Compact System Camera and the benefits that he finds from it.

    We'll do our best to tone down the brand references next time, but when it's one persons experience with a particular system, it's hard to dilute their feedback when it discusses a specific feature. Interestingly, this never seems to be an issue when Canon or Nikon photographers make reference to certain features or lenses.

    Regarding the concerns over blown highlights, I think that's being a bit unfair - I've had a look again at the images and there's plenty of detail in both highlights and shadows. While we do as much as possible to get images to reproduce as best they can on our page stock, it's never going to be a substitute for a gallery-quality print.
  7. Scrufftie

    Scrufftie New Member

    I don't think there's any need to tone down brand references, it just needs a line at the end of the piece stating that the author is a brand ambassador for x. It's unfortunate that this piece read much like the recent Fuji ads where professionals explained why they had switched.

    The reason manufacturers sponsor photographers is for product promotion. Yes, everyone has biases but I want to know whether a photographer has walked into a shop and handed over his own money or whether they are being sponsored as it will affect their choices. It's the same in sport, sportspeople use the equipment they are paid to use.

    I'm not comfortable when an article like this sits alongside genuine product reviews in a magazine. Product reviews are always coloured by preference and prejudice but I'm sure that an attempt is made to ensure that they are as fair as possible.
  8. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    or put up the price. How many people would pay the price of a copy of BJP, for the weekly AP? (£7.99).
  9. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    When the BJP was a weekly magazine, it was nowhere near £7.99, but nearer to the price of AP.
  10. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    A potographer who is sponsored or not, writing about the merits of a camera, is still going to point out what he likes and find useful.

    What ever we read has to be read with intelligence.
    An experienced photographer will always ask the more pertinent questions in his own mind, and get more from even a biased report than the unknolegdable will.

    A contributer who lies about products is not going to survive in publishing for long.
  11. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    It's really just a case of being clear when "brand ambassadors" are doing the writing. Doesn't diminish the value of what they're saying, and indeed I've had some wonderful advice from very well-known Fuji, Olympus and Canon brand ambassadors over the last month or so at various events - I generally very much welcome this development, it's simply a matter of transparency.

    Well I've revisited the pics both in print and on Zinio on my calibrated editing screen, and stand by my comments.
  12. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Not only articles written by brand ambassadors, but advertisement features are often very informative and useful even to people who do not use, or intend to use, the equipment featured.
    AP has clearly marked such features for some time and deserves credit for that.

    In the case of the Steve Gosling article it was clear that he was a fan of Olympus cameras; he stated that himself. Much of what he wrote would apply to full frame CSCs from Sony and Leica even more than his Oly. Well apart from his claim about depth of field which I would dispute.
  13. Scrufftie

    Scrufftie New Member

    Yes, it was patently clear that he was a fan of the Olympus kit. I just like to know whether someone is a fan who buys their own kit or a fan who is sponsored.

    I professional friend of mine buys his own kit so I'm pretty sure that he has chosen it over all other brands for his own reasons. Another is sponsored and I not convinced he would choose that kit, were he paying himself.

    All reviews are opinion but, to me, I like to know whether there are any commercial influences. It just helps me to evaluate the conclusions.
  14. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    It may not be as simple as you think. I've been given stuff -- not as much as I'd have liked! -- and the simple truth is that I'm not going to praise kit that I wouldn't buy if I could afford it, or that I believe to be inferior to reasonable alternatives. I either give it back or, if they don't want it, keep quiet about it (in print, that is). Also, how much kit do you need to be given? Linhof has given me under £100 worth of (second-hand) gear, out of the several thousands' worth that I've bought. I'm very grateful, but I don't think I was much influenced. Many manufacturers give kit only to people who are already in the system, though I have to say that not only has Nikon never given me anything: they often seem to have been unnecessarily unhelpful. But I still use Nikons!


  15. MartyG

    MartyG Well-Known Member

    The ASA should probably take some of the credit.

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