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Thread: Demise of Architecture Magazines

  1. #1
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Demise of Architecture Magazines

    One magazine from the big four in this market left! I have done assignment work and sold stock to these magazines for years. This is an interesting analysis. It partly blames the reliance on glitzy color photography over editorial content as one of the big reasons. Ironically I must concur. The big four magazines became an extension of the pr efforts of architects. Writers more often than not did not even visit the buildings and write from press releases.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2153855/
    Last edited by neil poulsen; 16-Nov-2006 at 08:22. Reason: I'm half asleep still....
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

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  2. #2

    Re: Demise of rchitecture magazines

    Thanks for the link, Kirk - interesting piece. Way back in my undergraduate days I took some courses in history of architecture, and used to spend a fair amount of time in the architecture library looking at these - especially PA, but the other ones too. I'd completely lost track of what had happened to them.

    Is there any publication that you look at these days to keep up with what's happening in architecture? And are there any trends in building design that affect the specific technical problems you have to solve in doing your work?

  3. #3

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    Re: Demise of rchitecture magazines

    While it is easy to blame the superficial public for not supportting the magazines, I think a fair share of the blame needs to go towards the architects themselves. When I think about the architects I've worked with and know, I can count a few as being talented and gifted but the majority are better at being worker drones who churn out "whatever" mediocre projects. Which comes first, "lousy clients or lousy architects?", is a chicken or egg question... but the result is disfunctional, boring, and ugly architecture.

    Architects are hard workers and I respect them for it. But not all architects are doing good architecture that is efficient, functional, related of the surroundings, and interesting (all at the same time.) That sad state gets reflected in the community, magazines being an important aspect.
    Last edited by Frank Petronio; 16-Nov-2006 at 08:14.

  4. #4
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Demise of rchitecture magazines

    I think Architectural Record is still a good publication, but without any competition...? It might not stay that way. I like Hybrid magazines more like Dwell. These days because they look more at architecture as a social constuct.

    Technical challenges: More flourescents to deal with, but more forgiving films too. Shooting large format instantly makes you "old school". Hardly anyone wants film anymore. They want files and if you shoot film the scans are on you. One E-6 lab left here and it only runs half days. No one is stocking decent supplies of film anymore here. More frustrations than technical challenges.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
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    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  5. #5
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Demise of Architecture Magazines

    Frank,

    Maybe we read a different article. I thought the point of the article was that the magazines underestimated the architect readership and lost them by going shallow and glitzy. The article does not, as I see it, blame the "superficial public for not supporting the magazines".
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
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  6. #6
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Demise of rchitecture magazines

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    I think Architectural Record is still a good publication, but without any competition...? It might not stay that way. I like Hybrid magazines more like Dwell. These days because they look more at architecture as a social constuct.

    Technical challenges: More flourescents to deal with, but more forgiving films too. Shooting large format instantly makes you "old school". Hardly anyone wants film anymore. They want files and if you shoot film the scans are on you. One E-6 lab left here and it only runs half days. No one is stocking decent supplies of film anymore here. More frustrations than technical challenges.

    Yep, I think the "big name" mags had really become more like fashion/pr mags (with images to suit - most of the photos were interchangeable from one issue to the next).

    And you are right - there is more critical/good writing (and interesting photography) about architecture in magazines like Dwell, Metropolis, Azure, Domus and even Canadian Architect (though Dwell is in danger of selling out to fashion I think...).

    There's plenty of great architecture and interesting, exciting architects out there (especially in smaller projects/markets) - you didn't often see it much in the big mags over recent years.
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  7. #7
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    Re: Demise of Architecture Magazines

    One statement I noticed was the following: "Instead, they became cheerleaders for an increasingly marginalized profession."

    To which profession are they referring? Is it architecture, or the architectural magazine profession?

    With digital and other changes, what has been the impact on the profession of architectural photography?

  8. #8

    Re: Demise of Architecture Magazines

    In addition to the reasons already given, I'd say this is linked to the demise of magazines in general. Probably the biggest reason that a writer might not visit the project is that a budget does not exist for that purpose or is so small that only a few per year can be done properly.

    The folks who run and own magazines have decided that editorial content is not needed these days or can be done on the cheap. Of course on one hand they're wrong and going out of business for being wrong but they seem bent on perpetuating that mode of operation. On the other hand there's always someone to provide words pictures at their price, however low.

    As far as I can tell most editorial work for writers pays about like it does for photographers. I suspect that the vestiges of architectural editorial photography are just that - vestiges. Still there because the work requires a higher level of technical skill than just another grab shot of Brittany Spears. As the magazines die and change you'd better change with them if you can. Whatever it was they were selling with the old architecture mags no one wants to buy.

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