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Confirmed: Popular Photography & American Photography Magazines Shutter

By Kishore Sawh on March 6th 2017

As it stands, publishing, and in particular print publishing, is a difficult businesses to get off the ground and to keep running, and any publisher will echo that. Magazines fold with the turn of every calendar page and in this day of e-everything, even the publications regarded as pillars have lost sure footing, and as such, it is with solemn expression we bring word that American Photo magazine and Popular Photography Magazine are discontinuing publication both in print and online.

There had been a few murmurs about the possible shuttering, and we know in 2015 American photo had a moment where they issued a statement that they were no longer doing a print subscription, but that it would extend issues of POP PHOTO to subscribers in its place (see photo below) even though the two are certainly very different publications. While neither publication’s website yet offers the news or any official statement (and even seem open to take subscribers), Wikipedia suggested the current issues would be the last. While Wikipedia isn’t exactly reputable, I’ve spoken to a Bonnier representative earlier today who confirmed the rumors that Popular Photography and American Photo are both shuttering their doors.

[REWIND: Has Canon Created A CMOS Sensor With Global Shutter & High Dynamic Range?]

While American Photo was probably the more elegant of the two, PopPhoto in particular has probably touched more lives, having the largest circulation in print photography mags, and having published their first issues 80 years ago this year. It’s fair to say that if you’d been interested in photography in that time you’ve read Pop Photo, and many of the photography-centric news and education platforms around today can trace their roots back to this magazine, even a little. But such is the nature of the world and these businesses of photography and publishing, and as photography shifts even more from paper to pixels, we in publishing will have to evolve with it.

We are grateful for all the years of info an inspiration from these two publications, and wish well to all involved.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

7 Comments

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  1. Paul Aparycki

    I am surprised that Pop Photo actually survived this long. It was never a photography magazine but more like a mass of advertisements with a few mediocre columnists just rewriting press releases. American Photo on the other hand actually dealt with photography, its impact and its trends . . . always an informative rag. Sad to see it go.

    I too, like others have remarked, miss the printed page open in front of me. There was/is something calming and soothing to have hard copy that you can peruse at a leisurely pace. Sadly that seems to be going the way of the dodo . . . instead we are swamped with mediocre and less than mediocre tidbits offered up in the digital realm as “articles” or “stories”. Nine times out of ten they are neither . . . simply rewrites of useless info already published elsewhere, and yes, you too SLR Lounge are equally culpable.

    I miss the printed page I think because it had far more integrity than any internet based item of the moment.

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  2. Alicia Fort

    I never could get into American Photo and I kinda liked Popular Photography. But honestly, magazines like Shutter Magazine have been my new go to and occasionally I’ll read something cutesy like Mozi or Lemonade and Lens if they’re featuring a photographer I like. . .

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    • Kishore Sawh

      American Photo was definitely more art-geared and less instructional. But I like to see how the industry is evolving and it’s forcing better quality I think. I mean, I look, as an example of how magazines like Treats have come about that accomplish something unique and build a culture around it. Or how Maxim has entirely revamped their produce to offer something much more high-brow than they had. But yes, it’s sad to see Pop Photo go, for sure. 

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  3. Mircea Blanaru

    I think it is very sad that printed edition are disappearing. Instead of scrolling down very fast an online edition, I always liked to sit at a desk or in bed and carefully read and understand a photography review or a book. But perhaps I have not 20 years.  I don’t know how it is in America but in my country it was very difficult to have, as a photographer, an artwork printed on their pages.  There were a few printed editions with a   photography theme, were I also sent my artwork and they rejected me, so, in the end I have mix reaction to these (local) print editions that closed themselves. I talk about Romanian ones which also no longer exist. So the trend looks to be global….

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    • Kishore Sawh

      It certainly is global that printed publications are fewer and generally have less circulation. The sort of outliers are the very niche which seem to grow in numbers, and of course the proliferation of ‘zines’ – but those have VERY limited circulation. But I’m with you, there’s nothing quite like a printed magazine.

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  4. Pye Jirsa

    Well this is super sad news =( both are great publications. 

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    • Kishore Sawh

      It is indeed. While stopping the print editions is not surprising to me (print is tough these days to keep relevant when you publish once every two months and everyone else publishes online once every two hours), cutting it off from online publishing is interesting. But I think, if I’m honest, they just were facing too strong competition and neither adjusted to suit the new and younger generation. A 20 year old would not look to either of those, in my opinion. 

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