I got the latest issue of LensWork photography magazine yesterday. I want to encourage everyone to find a copy at a bookstore or magazine stand or order it on-line. If there is a magazine that demonstrates the value of being a human being and the importance of photographers in presenting our humanity, LensWork is the magazine and the latest issue (Number 73, Nov-Dec. 2007) is a great example. Why?
First, the columns by Brook Jensen and Bill Jay are always worthwhile to read and to ponder the thoughts. And the interviews are always good to understand the diversity of serious photographers and their craft. But most importantly, this issue has four tremendous portfolios, the "People of Ethopia" by Robert Waddingham, "Endangered Species: The Point Judith Fishermen" by Markham Starr, the "Portraits of Time" by Beth Moon about ancient trees, and "Cage Call" by Louie Palu about underground miners and mining.
This is without a doubt the best photography magazine in the world. Others are flashy, talk about equipment and the photographic processes, present brillantly printed images, offer tons of long-known advice, and on and on. LensWorks brings you simple humanity through the eyes of outstanding photographers to show their passion and love for a subject. Their photography isn't the showcase that the rest of the magazines are about, with LensWork, the images, stories and information are. And that's the difference.
It's about the content. Others sell content and through all the ads you eventually find useful nuggets or even articles, or find interesting photos. LensWork is all content (ok, ads for itself but no more). You can read something beginning to end by turning pages, not searching to find where the it ends near the end of the issue. You can view portfolios in sequence as the photographer and editor wanted, not being distracted by the ads on the pages. The images consume the page and they consume your attention. Right there in front of you, without pretense or distractions.
So I encourage you to expand your understanding of the world than merely scanning a magazine for the interesting stuff. LensWork, and this issue, will stay in your memory as you read and reread it, and it will be one you will save to read again to renew your connection to humanity. It's not overblown in the world of hype today to say that, even if you think it is. Find the issue and then tell me I'm wrong.