When it comes right down to it, I’m just not all that fond of social media as a viewing platform for photography. Sure, it’s something most of us have to use because that’s the easiest and most prominent way to get our photographs out there to a broad audience. But as convenient as social media is, online posting leads to quick viewing. It’s far too easy to flip through a variety of photographs without really putting much thought into them. Click the like button and move on, perhaps never coming back to view the image again.
And that goes against one of my primary feelings about photography, which is that it’s an art form that should provoke thought. People should want to come back and look at favorite images again and again. After all, that’s why we hang pieces of art around our home. Because we want to not just look at them once but enjoy them for long spans of time.
That’s one reason why I love photography magazines. And I’m not talking about gear-oriented magazines, the kind that feature lots of reviews, new products and so on. Don’t get me wrong—these types of magazines are great, too. We do need information about the latest and greatest advances to photographic technology, after all. But the magazines I refer to are more art-oriented types.
By this, I mean magazines like Lenswork. Publications that are designed around viewing photography as art. American Photo, Aperture, Photograph, and others are all good examples of the kind of magazine I’m talking about. Even stepping outside of photography specifically, there are many art magazines that showcase photography. Things like National Geographic are also known for producing stunning imagery along with the rest of the content within the magazine’s pages.
There’s something to be said for subscribing to publications like these. For one thing, artists are getting paid for having their work published—or they should be, anyway. So purchasing these magazines is a nice way to support the efforts of fellow artists, which is always a good thing because funds for artists are hard to come by.
Another good reason to subscribe to these magazines is that they give you a physical item that you can hold in your hands and browse at your leisure. This typically leads people to want to linger and peruse the work longer. It’s more of a relaxed viewing medium compared to online viewing.
And, too, these are the types of magazines that we tend to keep for a long, long time so that we can keep going back to enjoy the images over and over. Sometimes our favorite issues have a prized spot on the bookshelf, or sometimes we store them in organized magazine boxes so that we can keep coming back. It’s also sometimes possible to cut out our favorite images and turn them into a scrapbook of sorts so that it’s even easier to go back and keep revisiting our favorites. As you can see, magazines are quite a bit different from the instant gratification that comes with the online experience! They’re a worthwhile investment that will keep you enjoying art as you look and learn how to improve your own art.