During my journey through photography over the past 50 years and more, many photography-oriented publications have risen and mostly fallen.
The list includes US Camera, Camera 35, Modern Photography, Peterson’s Photography, American Photographer, American Photography, Penthouse Photo, Darkroom, Darkroom and Creative Camera Techniques, international magazines like Zoom, and, in Canada, Canadian Photographer, Photo Canada, Photo Life, and Outdoor Canada Photography.
A few magazines like Popular Photography and Shutterbug have shrunk to a minimal digital presence. The few remaining publications occupy very narrow niches, come from Europe or Asia, or seem to exist almost at the whim of the publisher. This has been the fate of many hobbyist and general interest publications of the past 30 years.
At the same time, a variety of online publications has arisen. Most are run by photographers with the intent of promoting themselves. A few commercial on-line publications have arisen and then fallen prey to the whims of their corporate owners, the latest victim being Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com). A few successful on-line publications do exist, mostly behind paywalls.
When I heard of the shutting down of the Victoria Camera Club publication, CloseUp, I was saddened. Yet another publication that I had contributed to was ceasing publication. The executive had their reasons and I understood. A couple of months later I, as a former contributor to CloseUp, was contacted about creating a new version of CloseUp. I met with the Board, suggested possible formats and pluses and minuses, and walked away from the meeting with a new role—to produce a new publication, Close-up digital.
The Board and I had discussed the possibility of a newsletter format, a pdf publication, but I argued it was too rigid and time consuming a format. If a ‘modern’ publication was to come about we needed a fixed format but one into which we could easily drop articles with little effort. Hence, a blog.
With a blog in mind, we examined several publication platforms and discussed a few prototype blog layouts. Once we had some better ideas of what was wanted, the Board approached a professional blog designer who created our current format. We now have a professional, competent framework within which to publish. It allows us to be time sensitive, to have submissions of varying length and different numbers of photos, and, at the same time, eliminate many of the hurdles of the old print publication.
With a blog, an article does not have to meet a word requirement or be limited to a certain amount of page space. Back in my newspaper days, many an article or photo would be trimmed to fit a ‘hole’—the space between ads or other articles. Many a person had their feet cut off in a photo; many a second rate photo was run because a better photo did not fit the layout. The content of more than a few articles was either trimmed or padded to make the article fit the space, and much deserving material was never published. All that is now in the past. An article can be as big or small as it needs and deserves to be. Likewise, many hours of manipulating copy and layout are now saved because of our ability to custom-make every individual article.
We at Close-up digital have now got various teething issues out of the way, and we would like to ramp up the amount of material we publish. To do that, we need content from members. If each club member contributed one article every two years, we would have more than enough material.
We would like to see articles accompanied by photographs or videos, articles on all kinds of topics relating to photography and the activities of the Victoria Camera Club—articles about field trips, photo shows, book reviews, and photo workshops that you might have attended. We are open to pieces on the history of photography and notable photographers. Even photo-related poetry would be considered.
We have a few guidelines. We want quality material. If you have a good idea but are not sure how to bring it off, ask! Of course, material must be in good taste and not subject to someone else’s copyright. Product reviews must be of items that you have used and are not being paid to promote. And each submission will be reviewed by an experienced copywriter who will smooth out grammar and sentence structure.
In conclusion, it’s your publication; I hope to see your work get published.