1.29.2020

Sad Times. Another magazine diminished and then lost. The victory of immediacy over depth and substance. R.I.P. Photo District News.


When I saw my first copy of Photo District News (1982?) I was young and hungry for real information about professional photography. Not the photography practiced by thousands of mom & pop portrait and wedding shops but the way commercial photography was practiced by the people whose images wowed me in the great magazine advertising of the day. The brilliant stuff that made young photographers aim to be better and more.....premium.

In its heyday Photo District News was an oversized, rough print, tabloid with hundreds of pages and articles that went into depth about....everything that seemed relevant to the stars working in NYC, London, Paris, LA, and Berlin (and the legion of us wannabes). The gear articles were almost non-existent while profiles of working pros and their methods were always on the menu. And we're not talking short bursts of chatty dreck made for the vast population of people with the attention spans a squirrel, we were able to sit down and dive into deep articles that really inspired. Also many articles about the business side that worked to elevate the profession and increase the incomes of real working stiffs. Premium content.

It's gone now. I read about the end over at the horrible website that helped to drive so many print magazines about photography out of business. Now we are left with two ends of the spectrum: Precious little fine art publications that believe "photography" really means "landscape," and at the other end of the spectrum are the few glossy magazines who interpret "photography" to mean very pedestrian "wedding and portrait" businesses. In the later magazines the ad to content ratio is now skewed to about 90:10. Especially so when you consider that nearly every article about yet another wedding lighting technique is a very, very thinly veiled advertorial for more junky, plastic stuff.

Makes me want to start a magazine for working professional photographers. Ah....If I only had an extra ten million dollars or so to burn as a sacrifice on the pyre of journalism.....

Sad times. One more pillar of rational information pulled down....