If you just want tips on cameras, try Popular Photography. It's got rankings, choices and a user-friendly approach that spells out the technical expertise involved in high-end purchases. However, if you value the art and culture of photography, give American Photoa look-see.
In a past life, when I sold photos to publications, I took classes and pored over books, a regular F. Stop Fitzgerald. Then, my beloved Minolta X-370 broke. I sat shiva -- and never touched another. Now, the allure is back -- and it was rekindled by AP, starting with its opening review of "Man Ray," the new exhibition at The Jewish Museum. A noted Dadaist and Surrealist, he was born Emmanuel Radnitzky but reinvented himself -- a nifty rebranding story that should inspire many print magazines.
In fact, the pub opens with an overview of exhibitions nationwide, then "Focus," a quick-hit of artists, with tech tips thrown in for good measure. The amount of knowledge and skill necessary to produce creative images is staggering. Like Olympic ice-skating or screwing up health care, it only looks simple.
An artistic shoot takes time, careful planning and the right equipment, explains celebrity photo stars Markus Klinko and Indrani, who will give viewers an inside look at their sometimes tempestuous 15-year working relationship in a new Bravo reality show tentatively titled "Double Exposure." They also shot model Naomi Campbell for AP's cover in a parking lot in London.
Here's the crazy part: They were stunned to discover people wanted to park! Or as Klinko recalls: "Don't you realize this is Naomi Campbell, and we're not going to move her just because you want to park your car?" Given her record of assaults, three to date, I suppose the drivers can count themselves lucky they left with windshields intact. Though I'm sure broken glass would appeal to the "gritty and raw" look Indrani wanted for the shoot. And who knows? Campbell might look great in prison orange.
Such coverage is not the only creative hook in AP's arsenal.
There is a terrific story called "Instant Gratification" on the artistry of camera-phone photography. Seriously. The iPhone, introduced in 2007, is the second most popular camera of any type. (First place belongs to the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi.) The reason is the apps -- and many offer filters.
In the right hands, the shots looked amazingly good. Robert Clark's book "Image America" was shot entirely with his cameraphone, while Chase Jarvis, a pro who finds the medium inspiring, released the book "The Best Camera Is the One That's With You," which blurs the lines between high and low art.
The "Skill" and the "Gear" sections were helpful; the latter clearly detailed the difference between the Olympus EP-1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1. Perhaps camera reviewers should revise the health care bill! I doubt it will take them 1,000 pages to obscure meaning. They'll produce a pro/con list: What serves the public and what doesn't.
Photography is a metaphor for life: It pays to get perspective before you snap.