I am by no means a moderator of this forum nor am I telling you what to and what not to say - however - I just find it extremely dis-tasteful to use this forum, which is meant to be a forum where photographers who use large format can share and exchange ideas on their photography and what surrounds their photography, as a venue to harm ViewCamera's business.
I have subscribed to view camera off and on since the early 90's and have always had issues with the content, which I felt was only going through the motions of supporting creativity. Too often (for my tastes of course), derivative work is presented in overly glowing terms. All the magazines are prone to that, but in many publications you get a sense of who's in charge as time goes on, and what qualities of craft they respect.
Relative to what can be expected from a magazine, there's a somewhat new publication in the music world called Fretboard Journal that has radically changed my expectation level is such matters. This journal is a truly literate and creative publication that is hefty and beautiful. The articles are written well (!) and one of the very best parts is that they let the photographers explore the subject in detail. I don't know if they're making any money, but they've quickly become an institution among the industry.
Its a viable example of somebody doing something well and it being well received. My point, and I do have one, is that we are not out of line in expecting to have a decent publication that's produced by someone who loves the craft.
Well, as someone who has made a few contributions to VC over the years, I never expected to be paid. I enjoy writing, meeting new photographers, learning new techniques and, hopefully, contributing something to a community of artists and professionals whom I respect and feel honored to be a part of. To be honest, the little bit of money I would of made from my contributions would of been so small that it really wouldn't of mattered much and I am not trying to make a living as a writer or photographer. Because of VC I was able to make several new friends like Kirk, Merg and Ted (I too miss him), and for me that is payment enough for my efforts.
Like many of you, I wish I would be able to get my issue prior to the newstand and we should have our voices heard on those concerns. But, for me anyway, I enjoy the magazine and appreciate the efforts of Steve (he is a one man operation afterall) and will continue to support the magazine both in subscription and contribution. I feel that operational issues (slow delivery, poor print quality, poor editing, etc.) are all good, valid concerns and as paying subscribers (yes I pay) we should be able to voice our concerns.
I also understand the hard work of the contributors and if there was an agreement for payment, then they should be paid. However, this forum is not the place to argue for payment and it is really not right to open that up for discussion in this group. These types of issues should be private between the two parties (at least in my opinion). To call VC a "shell game" is, I think, not appropriate for this thread and should be removed by the moderators. In fact, I think this thread should be moderated more closely.
I know Steve has had some falling out with members of this forum and some of what has been said in the past by members of this forum may be accurate. But, I never support personal attacks (towards him or anyone else) on public forums, there is just not much class in doing so. While Steve is a friend of mine, we never discuss issues he may be having with others. He knows that I am friends with some of you and he respects the fact that I don't want to get mixed up in the issues. I think it would be good that others follow that example, if you have issues with Steve or the magazine you can contact him directly and let him know. He may not give you the answer you want but he will keep it private. He has fired back to personal attacks in the past on this forum, and he has also contributed a few, but he is trying to stay out of it and he will not come in and respond.
The best way to show you don't like the magazine is to not buy it. I am always amazed at the VC bashing that happens here, usually by the same exact people with the same exact complaints time after time. If you have not read the magazine for a few years or if you had a subscription problem (domestic or over seas) years ago, then perhaps try it again. I know VC has been working very hard to get better foreign distribution so give it another try, who knows, your experience may be better.
In part, I think these threads do show how passionate many of us are about LF photography and how we sort of take ownership of VC as it in many ways represents us as a community. I agree that there are some operational issues that could be better but, by and large, I enjoy the content of the magazine. If members of this forum have an idea for something to contribute then VC is always open to suggestions if you want to write it. I would not expect to be paid however, you would be doing it for the love of the craft and a desire to contribute to the community.
I hope the moderators decide to edit some of the responses in this thread and if they think this thread should be removed that is OK by me.
Thanks everyone and have a great day!
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
a mile away and you'll have their shoes.
Let me re-iterate - I don't know Steve. I've heard some awful stories about him. I followed the Foto3 debacle with a mild interest, for my own reasons of one day launching a photography art fair. It does seem that Mr. Simmon has had a lot of trouble and has made a lot of trouble for himself on this and other forums. I don't know the level or degree of effort he puts into VC, so to say that he is passionate about it is purely an assumption. Perhaps I am projecting my own passion of this craft of photography and for photography magazines unfairly onto Steve.
All I am saying is that using a public forum to bash View Camera can have consequences for other people who do enjoy the magazine and there have to be some people who do enjoy it - otherwise it wouldn't be around today. Subscribe to VC, don't subscribe to it - it's your choice. But by airing your frustrations with VC in public, you are deciding for other people that this is a publication they should stay away from.