DIR April 2017 Editor’s Note: Demise of an Institution

DIR April 2017 Editor’s Note: Demise of an Institution

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Popular Photography is gone. As you’ll learn from Jason Schneider’s very poignant article, Popular Photography published its last issue this month. It will cease to exist as a magazine as well as a website. As a former, esteemed editor in chief of Popular Photography, Jason brings a unique perspective to this venerable institution and was particularly affected by its demise.

Jerry-Grossman-cropped-7-2016
Jerry Grossman

I pondered this news quite philosophically. Does this mean the end of photo enthusiasm as we know it? Or is it just the end of a print publication gobbled up by the incessant availability of online news?

As the editor of a print publication myself, I always take issue when people ask me why we continue to print. My answer is always quite simple: “We’re a photography magazine.”

If people are satisfied with their pictures remaining the size of their iPhone screens, then we’ve lost our pure enthusiasm for the art of photography. The same can be said for our advertisers. Alan Levine and I could have reduced the size of our magazine a few years ago, but we continue to believe that the beauty of the products in our ads are equally as alluring as fine pieces of jewelry.

Our industry is wrapped in a dilemma right now. While it is continually reported that people “are taking more images than every before,” with “hundreds of millions of images being taken every day,” are we to be impressed with the end results? We have to continue to be our own saviors by talking about better pictures, better cameras and better memories. Yes, iPhones certainly have their place in the photography world. And we can’t underestimate their legacy in welcoming an entire generation of photographers.

The Art of Photography

But what Popular Photography brought to us wasn’t just photography; it was the art of photography. It was the nuances in the images and the incredible technology in the equipment. And it was all brought to us on a printed page that was large enough to appreciate. Popular-Photography-Cover-Horse-2-2016

I’m sorry for this loss, and for my friends who worked so hard over the years at that magazine to proliferate the conversation of imaging. And I’m sorry for the 400,000+ enthusiasts who will no longer benefit from its expertise and perspective.

If there is any positivity to the demise of Popular Photography, maybe it’s the wake-up call to our industry. We must not settle for tiny screens but rather continue to promote creative photography for what it truly is. Art.

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