Category Archive: Future of Magazines
Further down this post is an email reply to somebody I know in New York who used to work at some very big American magazines as a photo editor and decided to jack it all in and pursue other photography related activities. My reference to the greyhound is in response to an alcoholic beverage she has offered to make me if I ever visit her in California.
Bearing in mind the total feeding frenzy of vitriol that rained down on me the last time I got into a public discussion of this sort – the January 2008 back & forth with Andrew Hetherington on What’s The Jackanory? over the state of the UK editorial market – it would probably be wise of me to shut my damn mouth and look away right now. But, that’s never really been my nature and it does go someway to explaining why during my life I’ve been involved in public physical altercations more often than I would have liked.
So, having recently launched this blog, I feel it important to say it how I see it under my own banner. Considering that, as of this morning, I still do work for a considerable number of esteemed publications I would like to state here and now that I love you all. I just wish that the people who owned you loved you a fraction as much as the contributors who you have paid the same day rates to for the last 20 years do. And I only say this stuff because I love you. Unfortuantely, because this love has gone for so long now unrequited, I’m no longer in love with you. You (emphasis on publishers, not editorial staff) do not love the people that create your products or the people that buy your products. You’ve made the fatal political mistake of ignoring your base, which is now leaving you for other parties.
It sounds good that you got out from under the 9 to 5 cosh. Magazines as a species are dying and they are not doing it in a dignified way. They are hanging around like an unwanted guest at a party. With a few excellent exceptions, they’re not even trying to make themselves into something that can compete with free internet content. They have no USP. I don’t blame the editorial staff. These are all talented and commited people. It’s the paucity of investment, belief and cojones within managements that is the problem. They did not man the f*** up when they should have and as a result we are left with content that has been parlayed by fear into inoffensiveness. This was, for a while, the cause of a great deal of lachrymosity on my part. But now I have realised that the relationship between us is over I feel ok about it. I’m no longer in love and I’m in the market for a new girlfriend and I’m really really enjoying being single. How the future might pan out, I don’t know, who the hell ever did….but I’m actually very excited. It’s made me think a lot more deeply and laterally about my photography and about what it is I should be doing and it sounds like you are doing the same.
Save me a greyhound.
Keep on keeping on.
I also have no wish for this blog to radiate negativity, whch is why I leave at the end of this post an image of Donald Sutherland as Oddball in Kelly’s Heroes – arguably the world’s first hippy and whose cathphrase “So many positive waves, maybe we can’t lose” is a pointer by which to approach the future as a photographer. Or anything else for that matter.