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Thread: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

  1. #31

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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Lewis View Post
    Those who come to great defense of View Camera should realize that those who criticize it are not doing it lightly. There are very genuine criticisms of this magazine and you hear exactly the same stories from different people all over the world.

    I subscribed about five years ago from Australia. I also subscribe to B&W, Black and White, Silverprint, and now Color. All come from overseas and I have no problems with delivery whatsoever. Every one is delivered on time. They are all very professional in their layout and each gives me a different perspective of photography.

    I subscribed to View Camera about five years ago. I paid for a 2-year subscription. Their freight was very expensive to Australia - as much as the magazine itself. View Camera assured me that I was getting "first class" freight and so it would be delivered very quickly. Well you can all guess the story. Not one single issue ever arrived - not one. In every case I waited 3 to 4 months after publication date to enquire where my issue was. In many cases my emails were never answered. In one case I got an email from a lady in the office who asked me "who do you think you are" and accused me of being "rude". All I was doing was asking for my rightful copy. So much for their first class freight.

    After this episode, I still wanted to support the LF magazine community; I continued my subscription through an Australian dealer. After another two years, I constantly found the layout childlike and amateurish - it never improved. Also all the articles where very basic, very short and remiss on any sort of detail. Eventually I ended my relationship with VC.

    I subscribe to many international publications; have bought Focus off the newsstands (have seriously considered subscribing and may yet). I have never known another magazine to have such terrible delivery problems, and have a layout similar to what a kindergarten kid would do. Are the font sizes still changing erratically? Does anyone do a spell check?

    I believe the criticisms are well founded and in many cases and valid.
    Your criticisms of ViewCamera are not uncommon - many people feel the way you do. You don't like the quality, there are some editorial issues that bother you - ok - don't subscribe. Don't buy it off of newsstands. But coming on here and airing your complaints and having a group bitch-fest about it is pointless and can only do harm to Steve and his publication. Perhaps there are thousands of people who don't mind the layout and the spelling errors and feel fine waiting for the magazine to come. By you airing your problems here, you are potentially harming new business for Steve which could shut him down which could ruin the enjoyment of ViewCamera for other people.

    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.

  2. #32
    mandoman7's Avatar
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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    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.
    John Youngblood
    www.jyoungblood.com

  3. #33

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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    Quote Originally Posted by D. Bryant View Post
    Like John, I am a former subscriber. And as others have noted the topic of View Camera bashing comes up from time to time and has for years on one internet thread or another.

    Years ago when these threads would pop up on a forum or news group I restrained myself from coming to View Camera's defense and by association Steve Simmons defense as there was a period of years where the magazine was fairly decently produced and by and large I was forgiving of the faults mentioned in these threads. I have almost every copy of the magazine including the first issues.

    However, the magazine declined so badly (including ridiculous delivery times for my subscription, poor customer service regarding magazines never received, their ridiculous password system for subscribers for web only content, and their failure to keep the web content up to date) that I quit subscribing. I even purchased copies off the newsstands to replace the copies that never arrived. This happened too frequently for the delivery being lost by USPS as the root problem since I received my other magazine subscriptions like clock work.

    If anyone thinks that these criticisms are unfounded then I have to ask what they would do if their expectations were not being met by a product that they were purchasing. The answer should be obvious, we 'fire' the product!

    I no longer bother to browse the magazine on the newsstand. I do realize that producing a high quality magazine for large distribution is very expensive and difficult; printed media is under assault by the competitive force of the internet. IMO, it would have been shrewd of the publisher to seque to an internet only and/or CD only publication if they cannot afford to publish and distribute a paper version properly.

    At any rate my patronage of VC is over forever unless some miraculous change occurs.

    My 2 cents,

    Don Bryant
    This is exactly what I mean. Why can't you keep your criticism of ViewCamera to a private venue where people not involved in the conversation can't see it? You don't like VC, you had problems, you stopped subscribing. Ok. But don't ruin it for the thousands of other subscribers and newsstand buyers Steve has. Using a forum like this potentially damages Steve's product - and can also inhibit new business. Obviously thousands of people purchase his magazine from newsstands and he has thousands of subscribers -- otherwise he would not be able to stay in business. You have your opinions of Steve and his publication - ok, great. Why air them in public like this which can result in Steve going out of business entirely? Do you know if Steve has a family? Wife? Kids? Do you want to tell them to their faces that you want their husband/father to go out of business and not bring home a paycheck to support them? Because that's what you're doing in the end when you bring such hefty criticism against him. You're trying to tell other people not to buy his product, which causes him to lose money.

  4. #34

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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Spivak-Focus Magazine View Post
    Your criticisms of ViewCamera are not uncommon - many people feel the way you do. You don't like the quality, there are some editorial issues that bother you - ok - don't subscribe. Don't buy it off of newsstands. But coming on here and airing your complaints and having a group bitch-fest about it is pointless and can only do harm to Steve and his publication. Perhaps there are thousands of people who don't mind the layout and the spelling errors and feel fine waiting for the magazine to come. By you airing your problems here, you are potentially harming new business for Steve which could shut him down which could ruin the enjoyment of ViewCamera for other people.

    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.
    Exactly. Also, why is this thread considered to be an Announcement? Nothing has been announced. The Lounge would be a more appropriate location, in my opinion.

  5. #35

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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Spivak-Focus Magazine View Post
    Perhaps there are thousands of people who don't mind the layout and the spelling errors and feel fine waiting for the magazine to come.
    It's been my observation that the folks who are involved in large format photography are exactly the people whose appreciation for excellent craftsmanship is considerably beyond the average and do notice and care about sloppy standards. They, however, may just be too discouraged to speak up on this issue.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    www.johnvossphotography.blogspot.com

  6. #36
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    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!
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  7. #37

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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    Quote Originally Posted by Merg Ross View Post
    David, I agree with you, which is not often.

    I have never understood why seemingly articulate and intelligent individuals use a public forum to air personal grievances.

    Unfortunately, the moderators of this forum do very little to protect Simmons and his magazine from such attacks. I wonder why that is?
    Attacks? I haven't seen any "attacks." I've seen complaints from contributors who were supposed to have been paid for their efforts but haven't been and I've seen complaints from subscribers who haven't received their magazines on time. You think those are "attacks?" Seems to me they're legitimate complaints and serve the very valid purpose of giving fair warning to anyone here who's thinking of writing an article or who's thinking of subscribing. Why should the moderators "protect Simmons and his magazine" from those kinds of complaints?
    Brian Ellis
    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.

  8. #38

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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    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.

  9. #39

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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dakotah Jackson View Post
    Expecting View Camera to arrive on time and be done in a professional manner like so many other publications is all most of us want. Clean, concise editing and good articles presented with quality printing. Delivery to subscribers before it hits the news stand would be very nice. And yes, Steve has told us in the past we would get our magazines before they hit the news stands.

    Above all else, View Camera magazine is Steve Simmons business. Expecting it to be run professionally, delivered on time and done this way each time absent a major disaster is only normal.

    Yes David Spivak, we expect service for our money. All my other subscriptions arrive on time. Even LensWork which is a labor of love and shows it in every issue. No excuses and especially no ongoing and ever-recurring excuses. They did have one glitch, let us know about it and it has not been repeated. View Camera could learn a lot watching how Lens Work deals with their publishing and delivery schedule. The way this topic comes up over and over and over again leads me to the conclusion I would come to if it happened in any other endeavor. The idea of beign a publisher is much greater than the reality of being one. Trouble is, those of us who subscribe expect the reality to be serviced.

    I like View Camera and renewed my subscription once again this year. The delivery problems have not changed though I hope they will. I keep hoping.

    Finding out the Magazine is not paying contributors as promised will definately factor in my renewing next time. If I find they are not being paid I will not renew. They write the articles, they get paid. It is as simple as that. Please keep us up to date on payment if you would guys. If you don't get paid View Camera no longer gets my money. An occasional glitch happens to us all but an ongoing pattern of delayed payment is unacceptable.

    And David, nice of you to come to View Cameras defense. I remember well your calling all of us 'unkind names' when you came on these forums. I still do not subscribe to your magazine because of those episodes. I doubt I ever will.
    Dakotah - you and I have had our grievances in the past. I have moved past them. I'm sorry you haven't.

  10. #40

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    Re: The Latest View Camera Issue (March/April)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    Attacks? I haven't seen any "attacks." I've seen complaints from contributors who were supposed to have been paid for their efforts but haven't been and I've seen complaints from subscribers who haven't received their magazines on time. You think those are "attacks?" Seems to me they're legitimate complaints and serve the very valid purpose of giving fair warning to anyone here who's thinking of writing an article or who's thinking of subscribing. Why should the moderators "protect Simmons and his magazine" from those kinds of complaints?
    By definition, an "attack" is: "to speak or write against with vigor; criticize".

    I stand by my usage. You prefer "complaint"; that is also valid.

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