Spectrum Photographic welcomes a guest writer to our blog this week. Luke Archer, editor of Loupe magazine to shares his five favourite magazines.
I think it’s safe to assume that anyone in publishing is obsessed with printed material and as the editor of Loupe magazine I’m no exception.
Bookcases are filled, more are bought, and piles of publications still end up stacked up all over the place.
Nothing is created in a vacuum and many of the titles I collect have inspired and influenced Loupe or at the very least distracted me from getting on with the next issue.
So in no particular order here are my five favourite magazines (at the moment!).
The Great Discontent
I first encountered NYC based The Great Discontent by chance in Foyles bookstore, and after a quick flick through I knew I had found a winner.
Each issue features in depth interviews with a broad range of creatives; previous issues have included magicians, tattoo artists, photographers, actors and musicians among many others.
In a world where everyone feels the need to project a certain level of success and assuredness it’s refreshing to read such frank interviews, where struggles and career missteps are laid bare.
The creative industries are not easy and The Great Discontent does an amazing job of reassuring you that you are not alone in the ‘hustle’ while inspiring you to keep going.
Previous issues have been large and expensive but their most recent ‘traveller’ edition is less glossy, smaller in size and has fewer pages, with a reduced price to match. A rare direction for a modern magazine.
Despite being about coffee no other magazine (apart from our previous title; Vignette) has had a bigger impact on Loupe.
Caffeine demonstrates that you can have a great quality ‘freemium’ magazine. We were so impressed with their image reproduction that we decided to use the same spec for Loupe. I’m sure our printer has benefited greatly from the ‘Caffeine effect’!
As a free magazine based on coffee and stocked primarily in coffee shops there is no doubt Caffeine finds its target audience without much of a struggle!
Under the stewardship of founder and art director Scott Bentley each cover pops and great design runs throughout every issue. The content is always ahead of the curve, keeping readers abreast of all the latest trends in coffee (and tea!), a rapidly expanding industry that has not left the magazine short of material.
For me Caffeine proves that free titles can hold their own.
The Happy Reader
A magazine launched and run by a massive publishing house doesn’t immediately sound like much fun.
However Penguin’s Happy Reader is a great offering with a real sense of purpose and humour, assuming the feel of a confident independent.
Each issue has a lead interview with a celebrity, investigating their literary tastes and ending with their book recommendations. The rest of the issue is dedicated to articles exploring a title from Penguin’s back catalogue, no doubt in the hope of encouraging some sales!
This is a great example of how a large brand can execute an engaging publication that doesn’t feel like a sales brochure.
Previously a quarterly, like many magazines it is now a biannual and continues to offer ridiculously cheap subscriptions.
Like most of the magazines featured here I feel Rakesprogress saw a gap in the market and went for it – most other horticulture based magazines are glossy, saccharine and seem hopelessly dated.
What struck me first about Rakesprogress is the quality of the photography featured; it was surprising and encouraging to see photographers that I knew displayed in such a beautiful way.
Rakesprogress treats readers with the intelligence they deserve, realising that photo essays surrounding horticulture are far more appealing than illustrated guides on how to repot water lilies.
I’m sure that like me, many of its readers don’t have gardens (let alone ponds) and perhaps the joy of Rakesprogress comes from the element of escapism that it offers to those of us boxed in the big cities.
Photobooks are undoubtedly the perfect resting place for a photography project. However, they are expensive and it seems that few photographers publish ones that attain the holy grail of making money and promoting their work.
I think magazine publishing is overlooked; it’s cheaper to do and at a low unit cost, copies can be the perfect promotional tool to send to potential clients or leave at meetings.
There are plenty of examples of photographers creating their own titles; Arcades is the most recent I have encountered.
It is a simple premise; each issue documents the suburbs of a different city.
I saw that Issue Two was focused on London and, having grown up in the suburb of Harrow, I hoped it featured. I opened the copy and there it was, the first feature in all its Zone 5 glory.
Although the magazine is not entirely shot by her, most of the articles are illustrated by founder Wendy Huynh’s images. I feel Huynh is still perfecting her style and there is perhaps an over use of contact sheets as content but I cannot fault her ambition and dedication. I hope that as she releases more issues it leads to more external photographic commissions for her.
More about Loupe
I am always on the lookout for new titles; let me know your favourite title by tweeting us @loupemag
The next issue of Loupe is out now and available from Spectrum Photographic. If you are a Brighton local don’t forget to check out Magazine who carry an amazing selection of magazines.
Copy by: Luke Archer
Main image: The cover of Issue 5 of Loupe