View Full Version : View Camera magazine

Gene M
10-Nov-2003, 19:04
I just received the new issue and I'm afraid I must be missing something when it comes to the photographs chosen for publication.

I know opinions are like noses, everyone has one, but I don't find a single photo interesting.

Ken Burns
10-Nov-2003, 19:07
Opinions are like noses? I've never heard that one, but I have heard them compared to another body part that's located toward the other end!

Gene M
10-Nov-2003, 19:08
I was being "tasteful."

Ryan M
10-Nov-2003, 19:58
Actually, I quite like Art Becker's shots on page 8 and 9. I absolutely love the "Poetry's Motion" shot. It reminds me of a Degas, but more moving. Even though I prefer monochrome, this is one of those shots that jumped out at me. It takes me back to my trip to Paris a couple of years ago, ohhh lovely Paris. I am not sure how I feel about the still lifes of Tracy Longley-Cook, but it just isn't my cup of tea. I like Bart Michiels' "Tullulah Falls Dam" trilogy. I don't think that it is big enough to show all the detail though. I would like to see a full page spread of that, but I quess I will just have to hold my head closer. It's not the most visual issue I have seen, but it still had some good information in it and it makes me want to run around with my crown graphic.

ronald lamarsh
10-Nov-2003, 20:54
I understand...there are some issues that leave me wondering also but by and large I find the magazine an inspiration: particularly articles by Gordon Hutchings and the like. A guy who kept his day job so he could be free artistically add infinitum. Other notables such as Dick Arentz, Carl Weiss, Ron Wisner etc. etc. I don't like all of their photos but I find what they have to say inspiring. There was one issue that featured a new photographer who makes 8x10 contact prints but I must say her images left me wondering where the beef was? I don't particularly care for Sally Mann or Diane Arbus, that is to say I'm not saving my money to hand one of their images on my wall but someone must or they wouldn't be where they are. So you're right we all have noses and I really like mine. I find View Cam Magazine to be much less about the equipment race and more about art, take a look at Camera Arts also.

Witold Grabiec
10-Nov-2003, 21:46
I find View Camera a nicely balanced blend of photographs and techno articles. I have not seen a single issue with a high aesthetic average, but that's my nose. I always find something I can admire though.

Speaking of View Camera (or Camera Arts), I don't recall seeing anybody talking about the B&W Magazine, which to my nose is photographically superior to any photo publication, excepting perhaps the Lens Work. No techno in there, just a nice collection of all kinds of photography in each and every issue.

Brian Ellis
11-Nov-2003, 07:22
The only really outlandish photograph I recall was in the annual contest the magazine puts on. The winners appeared in the Nov./Dec. 2002 issue. The winning photograph in the "architecture" category was a front-on picture of part of a sofa with table in front, a chair to the left, and a door behind it. In other words, the photograph many of us would have made if we were compelled for some reason to make a photograph showing part of our living rooms. I thought it was a joke but I never saw anything more about it so I guess it must have been the only photograph submitted in the "architecture" category and the editor felt compelled to give the award to somebody. If anyone has the Nov./Dec. 2002 issue and can explain why this photograph is an exceptionally good architectural photograph I'm open to hearing about it but I certainly was puzzled. Overall though I think the magazine is very good, every issue has things I like and usually some I don't like too but then they don't publish the magazine just for me.

11-Nov-2003, 07:23
personally I see photo mags this way. Lenswork great printing, great articles, pretty good but conservative images. View camera, good info, gennerally just ok but sometimes very good images. b&w very hit and miss. pdn info, with some great and some really horrible images, more of a photo gossip mag. Blind Spot a keeper the only one I collect always challanging and interesting images. Aperture to caught up in it's own past can be great.

Ben Calwell
11-Nov-2003, 07:37
I enjoy View Camera Magazine, even though in a momentary lapse of judgement, the editor rejected my work for publication.

11-Nov-2003, 08:19
Normally, B&W is the only photo magazine I buy off the shelf without checking the contents first. This month it was a big mistake -- even the usually interesting advertisements were boring.

John Kasaian
11-Nov-2003, 09:30
FWIW, I think its a bit unfare to judge any magazine by a single issue(BTW, I haven't gotten my View Camera yet!)Over the past five years I've been a fairly consistent View Camera reader, either by subscription or from the newsstand and I've seen many inspiring (to me)portfolios published there. Those, coupled with the technical articles keep me coming back. There is stuff in View Camera that I have little or no interest in(reviews of $30K digi backs for Sinars, for example, or portfolios I just don't "connect" with) but hey, there is a large reading audience View Camera has to cater to---readers with tastes substantially different(and more frought with error) than mine. Sorry to hear the new issue didn't "spark" any creative circuits for you, but to paraphrase Pascal, if in your collective concious had never experienced View Camera's great stuff, you wouldn't be aware of View Camera's mediocre stuff.------Cheers!

Louie Powell
11-Nov-2003, 10:33
Different strokes for different folks.

View Camera and B+W are the two magazines that I really look forward to receiving. Sometimes there are great; sometimes they are fairly pedesterian - and the key point is that I make that determination, so the difference is as much my taste as it is the judgements of the editor. I generally don't keep the magazines, but I do cut out articles that I want to retain, and I clip pictures that I find expecially inspiring.

Lenswork is nice but overpriced. I still buy it from time to time, and I keep it (mainly cuz it fits neatly on a bookshelf). I like the pictures, and some of the writing is provocative.

PhotoTechniques is good for Vestal's editorial, but otherwise is pretty boring. Won't waste money on PopPhoto, Shutterbug, Petersens, American Photo, etc.

I also occasionally buy Black & White (the UK version) - it's trying to fill the very large void created by the demise of Camera & Darkroom (also from the UK) that was well written, beautifully printed, and with substantive content. I really miss that one.


Mark Erickson
11-Nov-2003, 10:33
This is probably irrelevant, but I've lurked in rec.photo.equipment.large-format recently and I've seen the publisher of View Camera get involved in some really ugly flame wars and come disconcertingly close to violating the newsgroup charter. Yes, there is some pretty poor behavior there, but I would hope that a senior member of the large format community would stay out of the back and forth name calling wars. I know it shouldn't, but all of that stuff has kind of turned me off to the whole enterprise.

On the other hand, the lens history articles are great (thanks Kerry!) and some of the portfolios are really worth studying. Anyone else have mixed feelings like mine?

Yours in ambivalence,

Ralph Barker
11-Nov-2003, 10:54
I subscribe to VC, too, but more as a means of doing my part in convincing the manufacturers that there is still a market for large format-related products. But, I find the quality of the content to be extremely variable from month to month, with no cohesive editorial vision. The magazine also frequently suffers from insufficient editing. The number of typos, grammatical errors, and editorial blunders would be an embarrassment to any conventional publishing house. Although Kerry Thalmann's lens articles are well done, most of the product reviews are far too superficial to be of real use. There's just not enough space allocated to the articles, and insufficient editorial guidance.

In short, it's obvious that VC is a magazine published by a large format photographer who saw an unfilled niche and filled it, notwithstanding his lack of editorial knowledge or experience. I also find VC's web approach to be amateurish, at best.

Pictorially, either of the B+Ws (one published in the U.S., and the other in Australia, as I recall) eclipse VC on a consistent basis, as do "Lens Work" and several other photo magazines. But, VC is probably still worth the price of the subscription.

tim atherton
11-Nov-2003, 12:01
Spot on Doug - my feelings exactly (I'd have added most issues of DoubleTake when it was still alive)


tim atherton
11-Nov-2003, 12:03
B&W is really useful for collecting Michael Smith's adverts.... which are usually the best thing in it.

And occasional intersting piece - like Jock Sturges Irish portraits, but that was about two years or three ago - most of the rest - dull as ditchwater


Frank Petronio
11-Nov-2003, 12:24
View Camera would better serve us an advertising supported and volunteer written FREE web publication rather than as an overpriced and barely viable publication... After all nobody is getting rich off the thing, and online it would serve a wider community. It obviously is an advocation so why not simplify life and avoid all the traps of producing print editions?

It's always amazes me that many photographers - VC's in particular - who can be so anal about photographic details, etc. can overlook broad areas of basic graphic design, typography, reproduction quality, and most importantly, writing!

Paul Metcalf
11-Nov-2003, 12:45
I look forward to sitting in my nice comfy chair on a "non-photo" morning and looking/reading VC with hot hard nosed-java in one of my several View Camera mugs. I can't image looking at my computer for this. And I accept paying for this pleasure. And I thank Steve for taking on this challenge. And being a "largeformatphotography" forum, VC is the only dedicated mag to large format. And, yes, although not associated with VC mag in any manner (except a subscriber), this was shameless plug.

Ryan M
11-Nov-2003, 12:57
I think that VC is doing pretty good at trying to reach its demographic. From what I understand, it is on the web as well as in real life, I can touch it and spill drinks all over it and use it to swat flies. I read enough over the puter that when I do want to relax, I want to read from paper, not a screen. this is probably why I still use an organizer instead of a palm pilot for scheduling.

Witold Grabiec
11-Nov-2003, 15:14
I've already given an overall positive mark to the VC magazine earlier on. However, I've just checked out its web presence and must say it's a plain shame. If there is anyone who's not sure about the magazine, the site will make it clear ... why ever bother?. Site's basic and rough looking layout aside, the images shown could have never come from anyone who values aesthetics, that includes reproduction of their own logo. And that's from a photographic magazine. I've seen superior sites on free hosting services.

John Kasaian
11-Nov-2003, 16:57

I agree, quiet time alone with the new View Camera with a cup of good coffee is one of those rituals that I look foreward to each month. The teen-age barristas at the local coffee house recognize my old jalopy when I pull into the parking lot and have my 'cappuccino according to john' waiting for me when I come through the door. Life is sweet!

Ryan M
11-Nov-2003, 17:05
John, I get so much flak from people who just don't "get" why I love to sit and read in a coffee shop. Life is sweet when you can smell the roses, or in this case, coffee. Now I live in an area sans coffee shop and I can truly say that I miss it more than anything. But, thankfully, I still have a vast selection of reading implements that I still get every month that compliment my library of fine books.

David A. Goldfarb
11-Nov-2003, 17:50
I support VC because I think it reaches users who don't necessarily follow the internet forums.

Like Frank, I wish the writing were stronger, that they hired a proofreader, and that graphic quality were better, but all things considered, they're on the right side of things. The technical articles are well edited, but the portfolio reviews are pretty hit-or-miss. That said, one has to consider that writing aesthetic criticism for the audience of VC isn't an easy task--one has to avoid "artspeak" or talking down to the reader and still say something coherent, intellegent and interesting about the work.

I haven't received the current issue yet, but I'm not worried if they have portfolios I don't like. I still want to see them, just to be aware of what's going on.

Thomas Kienstra
12-Nov-2003, 15:13
in answer to the original question, I found the most interesting photo to be that durst enlarger ad - holy cow what an enlarger! Dear Santa, I've been very good this year...

Cheers all!

John Kasaian
12-Nov-2003, 23:26
View Camera arrived today! Throttle back the espresso machine and lets take a look: Of the portfolios, I thought the Biological Inclinations of Tracy Longley Cook pretty interesting( meaning:I wish I'd done that.) Bart Michiels Southern Trilogy was, I found, disturbing yet interesting---in a disturbing kind of way. He mentions Blue Highways by William Leastheat Moon(I liked the book, but so far I'm not impressed with the author) and the WPA images of Walker Evans as inspirations and I find his 3 and 4 shot panoramas of dams and a power station remind me of the photos of irrigation projects that grace the walls of the local Farm Bureau offices...WPA style for sure, but somehow unsettling. I'll have to think about it. Two photos from Art Becker's collection stood out for me---the pair of eyeglasses left out in the rain and the blurry whirling dancers that reminded me of the "painterly" school, only in color. From Jeff Kay's portfolio one photograph, the night shot of the railroad platform in Montauk with the ghostly passenger train, was the most memorable for me.

Of the technical articles, Robert Havira's use of diopters as auxilluary lens I found interesting, as was Kerry Thalmann's piece on 6x12 on a shoestring---even though I'm not keen on 6x12, anything having to do with LF on a shoestring I find interesting and the shot of his wood finished Crown Graphic sure caught my eye. The small piece about the new Tri-X certainly grabbed my attention as I've been playing around with the stuff, trying to see if its a "go" in HC-110 dil."B" I would have enjoyed reading something more in depth but, alas, just a brief notice that the stuff is finally available. The piece about the new scan backs, the review of Velvia 100F and the use of software to correct LF pinhole images like NASA are not topics that are high on my list---actually they aren't anywhere on any of my lists---but were worth reading because:1) My priorities dictate that putting money aside for my kid's braces is more important than a scanning back or the "wunderkamera" to slap it on, but the article at least gives me an idea of what it would take to make a splash in the commercial photography gene pool 2)Norman McGrath always, I mean always includes something worth learning in his articles and 3)The idea of applying NASA technology to pinhole photography is so bizarre(to me) I find that it is way cool just to think about it. Well...time to lick up whats left of the foam from the steamed milk and powdered cocoa and go home...Cheers!

Jerry Greer
13-Nov-2003, 20:28
After the sunset fades into darkness I pack my gear then drag myself back to my truck for the evening. I fetch some vittles (thatís southern speak for food) from the cooler, get my fill then disappear into my camper to read myself asleep with a freshly printed View Camera magazine. Dreaming the entire night about the beautiful sunrise that, Iím certain, will welcome me in the morning! Thanks Steve and the crew of VC for giving us such a great magazine!

Jerry Greer www.jerrygreerphotography.com

william linne
6-Dec-2003, 15:00
I couldn't help noticing that the largest spread of photos was contributed by one of VC's biggest advertisers, Lens and Repro.