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10 photography magazines worth reading

Posted by Stine Fantoft Berg on Friday, May 20 2016

Our pick of 10 photography magazines championing the works of established and emerging image-makers

Sitting here in the Stack office, deep in the bowels of Somerset House, we’re currently being surrounded by some of the world’s greatest photography. The fantastic Photo London exhibition opened yesterday in the courtyard outside, and thousands of visitors will pour through its doors this weekend.

That set us thinking about our favourite photography magazines, from the big mainstream stars to the fresher and freakier upstarts. Read on for a quick skim through the best of the bunch…

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Accent magazine (London)
Starting out as an online quarterly in 2013, Accent magazine is ‘A global celebration of life lived outside the ordinary’ that went into print earlier this year. Although Accent doesn’t call itself a photography magazine (“the written stories are as important as the photography”), the high quality documentary photography plays a major part in the stories they publish.

“So many of the stories come from asking photographers, ‘Who was that person?'” editors Lydia and Lucy told us when we spoke to them last month. Read our interview to find out more about their approach to the magazine, or take a look at the spreads below to see it for yourself.

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Aperture (New York)
The not-for-profit foundation Aperture was established in 1952 by a group of photographers and writers as ‘a common ground for the advancement of photography’ and has since established itself as one of the most authoritative voices in the field. Each issue combines thoughtful writing with top photography to provide a detailed account of a broad theme.

Take, for example, the latest issue, which explores the role of photography in the African American experience and is guest edited by author and art historian Sarah Lewis. The issue combines long-form essays with conversations and portfolios to provide an extensive account of photography’s unique ability to shape a new vision of the US.

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British Journal of Photography (London)
Established in 1854, making it the world’s longest-running photography magazine, British Journal of Photography seeks out work from the world’s most exciting photographers, championing both emerging and established talent alongside one another.

It started out as a trade journal and still has a technology section reviewing the latest gear, but a recent redesign and relaunch brought in more full bleed images and a greater focus on the ideas behind images, meaning the new BJP is more approachable to a non-specialist readership than ever.

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The Exposed (Copenhagen)
The Exposed is a new contemporary arts magazine that uses augmented reality to push the boundaries of what a print magazine can be. It can be read as a print-only experience, but downloading the associated app unlocks a swathe of extra multimedia content that adds another layer of information to the pages.

The first issue explores the work of five artists who each take a different approach to photography, and the added video and audio content genuinely adds to the magazine, creating a an almost cinematic reading experience. Augmented reality can often be relegated to gimmickry, but take a look at the sample video below to get a taste of how The Exposed works, and read our interview with the founders to find out more about the project.

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Feelings (Paris)
The only text in Feelings is on the outside back cover, with the rest of the magazine given over to photo essays by a group of photographers exploring a specific theme.

The first issue of this ‘visual entertainment magazine’ was dedicated to cars (see our video review below), and the second is focused on science. This is a magazine that’s all about the expert curation of founder Arthur King, and he does a fantastic job of creating a sense of unity while also surprising the reader.

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Foam (Amsterdam)
A contemporary photography magazine published by the Amsterdam-based organisation and museum of the same name, Foam features work by photographers selected from around the world and presented under a single theme.

Printed on up to 10 different paper stocks to make sure images are reproduced immaculately, there’s no expense spared on the production to make sure the photography is the star of the show.

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IYL magazine (London)
IYL, short for If You Leave, started as a Tumblr in 2010 and quickly became a platform showcasing the work of young, aspiring photographers. And when the blog launched its first print issue in late 2014, it didn’t lose sight of its legacy as online platform – as on Tumblr and Instagram, the focus is still on the single image and even the interviews are transcripts of Facebook conversations between editor Laurence Von Thomas and his subjects.

The first two issues are themed AM and PM, and respectively reflect the moods of night and day while retaining the original Tumblr’s sense of spontaneity and randomness. “When I curate images for If You Leave I never ask myself why, or if there’s a reason for doing it,” Laurence said. “I just intuitively try to sense what works and what doesn’t,” Read our interview with him to find out more about the launch of the first issue, or take a look at the flick through video below to see it for yourself.

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Pylot magazine (London)
The fashion industry is widely criticised for excessive use of airbrushing, primarily because of the unrealistic ideas of beauty that creates, but also because Photoshop is detracting from the craft of making a beautiful image. Publishing all-analogue fashion photography under a strict no beauty re-touching policy, Pylot wants to challenge this new normal.

“We are not here to sugarcoat and please everyone – we want to influence,” founder Max Barnett said in his Stack interview ahead of us delivering the magazine to subscribers in April this year. Our subscribers loved the magazine (see this Pinterest board to see people’s responses as copies arrived with them) and check out Steve’s review of the issue in the video below.

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Romka (Leipzig)
Based in Germany, Romka is a photography magazine with a simple but effective concept: Each issue, amateurs and professionals alike are invited to submit their favourite photographs, and the stories behind them. The result is an intriguing and affecting reading experience, with each page offering an intimate glimpse into someone’s life.

In his editor’s letter, Joscha Bruckert notes that, “combining a photograph with text is almost never not interesting”, but Romka is more than that – take a look at the video below to see inside this moving (at times devastating) magazine that’s also filled with lightness and fun.

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True (London)
Photographers are often constrained by strict editorial guidelines and commercial demands, so often it’s their personal, unseen work that’s their ‘true’ work. That’s the idea behind London-based photographic journal, True.

Over 200 glossy pages, True showcases an eclectic mix of photographers and provides a much-needed space for honest, unconstrained photography.

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