View Camera Magazine suggestions? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

(I'm taking the liberty of starting a new thread in case folks don't see the thread that spawned this discussion.)

A ways down in the thread below on Michael Fatali, Steve Simmons, editor of View Camera magazine, generously offered the following:

"I am very open to hearing suggestions as to the types of articles people would like to see in View Camera. Just keep in mind the following:

--We can't do just b&w landscape photography

--There are just so many ways to do film graphs

--I would prefer not to repeat articles we have done in the past. We have many readers who have been subscribers from the beginning and I do not feel it is fair to them to give them the same article again. Now, what would yu like to see in future issues???"

On behalf of others in this forum, allow me to thank Mr. Simmons for keeping his cool after reading the thread on Mr. Fatali--and for gracefully giving us this opportunity.

Suggestions for View Camera?


-- Micah (, March 29, 2001


I haven't seen the current issue yet, but has VC done a feature on Andreas Gursky yet? I think he's doing some things that are intrinsically large format.

I think VC did a great thing by publishing Michael Smith's pieces on Azo. I am sure those articles have contributed substantially to keeping it around at least for the moment. They were free publicity for Kodak and informative for readers. Given the rate at which materials seem to be disappearing, maybe there ought to be a regular column that makes the case for why these films and papers should stick around, or perhaps why new materials ought to be made available in large format.

-- David Goldfarb (, March 29, 2001.

There are two large format photographers of note who, I believe, have not been profiled in View Camera. One of them is the American-Israeli photographer, Neil Folberg, who has produced stunning books on the Sinai desert and synagogues of the world. Another is Edward Burtynsky, a Toronto photographer who is Canada's, and one of the world's, leading (colour) photographer of the industrial landscape. I would also be interested in an article that discusses the lighting techniques and choice of film and chemistry of Yousuf Karsh, who achieved such a distinctive look in his best known portrait photography of the 1940s through the 1970s.

-- David Kaufman (, March 30, 2001.

The recent issue devoted to architectural photography was great. Also liked the article on Richard Nickel in the current issue. I'd like to see more interior and exterior LF work in colour, if possible. How about Norman McGrath?

-- Bruce Pollock (, March 30, 2001.

I would love to see an issue on either Michael McKenna, or his up-and- coming assistant, Rolfe Horn.

-- Andy Biggs (, March 30, 2001.

As far as a photographer profile, I would like to see one on Patricia Richardson, Plano, TX. She is an outstanding environmental portraitist with an impressive resume.

Technically speaking, I think continued concentration on alternative processing (not just Pt/Pd - thanks) will not only encourage newcomers to the disciplines but will serve to reaffirm that masochism is indeed alive and well amongst large format (as if that wasn't enough) enthusiasts.

-- Chad Jarvis (, March 30, 2001.

A few off-the-cuff remarks regarding VC magazine: (1) Unfortunately, it's the only LF camera periodical; without it we would be in the dark. (2) A picture is worth a thousand words and Mr. Simons might consider eliminating every thousand words and adding at least one photograph. They say that Playboy readers fall into two categories--those who read and those who look at the pictures! (3) Eliminate the "cult of personality" that afflicts typical mainstream media. I'm not particularly interested in famous photographers, their personsal biographies, or their philosophy regarding photography. If I want philosphy I'll read LensWork.


-- Dave Willison (, March 30, 2001.

I was a "charter" subscriber to View Camera, and have a complete set of the first 4 or 5 years of the magazine. At some point, I felt it was no longer addressing my interests. The number of technical articles fell off, to be replaced by more portfolios and interviews.

I have recently resubscribed, though I often find myself somewhat "let down" by an issue when I receive it. I feel the magazine somehow doesn't have enough substance--I always want more of the "good stuff". But by the same token, I am cognizant of the difficulty of putting out a world-class production six times per year. I have noticed from the earliest issues that the magazine is poorly proofed--there is some typo, misspelling, or incorrect usage in almost every issue. [March/April 2001, page 61: "Humidity still plays a roll..."]

I'd like to see some articles on large format pinhole photography and infrared photography, more excellent alternative process articles (like Sullivan on Ziatype Printing), and more technical articles.

On the whole, I think Steve Simmons is doing us all a great favor by publishing View Camera, and I don't think he's making any money on it, so it is really a labor of love.

-- Edwin Buffaloe (, March 30, 2001.

With the recent demise of more lf film, perhaps this publication could use it's clout to badger the film makers about what we lf film users can expect to lose and / or gain in the near future.

-- dave bulmer (, March 30, 2001.

First I would like to thank Mr. Simmons for a first rate resource. I was really upset with myself when I failed to send in my renewal (don't ask)and missed the last issue. Thankfully the new issue showed up yesterday.

I myself would love to see more articles on still life studio techniques, lighting, composition, and special effects, close-up and macro work, an article on old lenses and the results one can expect might be nice, and more hard core technical articles like the one last year spelling out how to mix and use T-Max developer. The T-Max article alone has saved me enough to cover my subscription this year!

Thanks again,

-- Harry Pluta (, March 30, 2001.

I let my subscription lapse because, as novice I wasn't getting much out of the technical articles. If there were comprehensive technical articles that were written with my skill level in mind then I'd resubscribe. But I'm not going to order back issues for previous material when I'm not confident it will translate into better pictures for me. As of now I just scan the new issues on the magazine rack to see if they contain anything of interest. I hope this isn't taken for anything but solicited constructive criticism.

-- Jim Bright (, March 30, 2001.

Why is the quality of the reproductions so variable?

In this issue Messers Fatali & Schory's work looks really good but Mr.s Spence & Kirby come off pretty dark and mucky. Similarly in the SEP/OCT issue with the Mammoth Camera Workshop review and portfolios - Paula Chamlees work was done MUCH better justice than had been done when you ran an entire article on "High Plains Farm" in the MAR/APR (or was it May/June) issue. I've seen Kirbys work in Lenswork Quarterly and know it can look better than it did in this issue of VC.

Of late you have been including tech info in the photographers profiles - for which I am greatful! Keep it at the end though as an aside rather than dwelling on it UNLESS the article is specifically about technique. If the technique is something off the beaten path, some amplification would be appreciated.

My favorite issues were the MAR/APR 95 and JAN/FEB 98 - both CHOCK FULL of good material. I feel like there hasn't been an issue that useful in a while.

Gordon Hutchings' articles have been quite good and his writing style is much apprecaited.

How about an article, or series on "What's in my Camera Case" - i.e. a break down by photogs with a shot of their case -how they pack it and when/how they use it, how it applies to their approach, etc. The same thing could be done for darkrooms, etc.

For me the "How" of photography is important, but the "Why" moreso - I am VERY glad John Paul Caponigro cotributes his interviews! The darkroom and camera kit articles would hopefully illustrate how the two - the "how" and the "why" work together.

Little bummed at the re-tread of Ron Wisner's on-line Q&A column in this last issue. I guess that may be part of the reason for my fading enthusiasm - I'm on-line now and don't feel as isolated as I was when I first started subscribing. Used to be I couldn't wait the two months! I think maybe that's why a lot of us were surprised at the Fatali article - we had all known about the incident and discussed it pretty extensively back when it happened. I guess a lot of us assumed it was common knowledge.

-- Sean yates (, March 30, 2001.

I'd like to see an article on Phil Harris from Portland, Oregon. His recent book "Fact Fiction Fabrication" is excellent. I especially like his constructed photos called "fictions" which seem to arouse emotional/psychological responses in me. He can be contacted at


-- Scott Jones (, March 30, 2001.

Well, I'm not a "charter" subscriber, but I've been getting VC for a looong time. It's one magazine that I save every copy of, and find myself going back to old issues for reference from time to time. I think it's a well designed, and reproduced publication, but I have noticed the typos...I'm not really interested in landscape photography, so I didn't follow that other thread, but I thought I'd just add a voice of support for the magazine. The only other publication out there that's better (for me) is PDN. Photo Tech has pretty lousy reproductions, and aside from David Vestal, there's not much to it. The one publication I really miss is the old Camera & Darkroom magazine. I get "Camera Arts", but I don't find it to be as interesting as C&D was. Also, I believe VC had an issue with Norman McGrath a few years back. The only gripe I have with VC, is that every few years when I have to renew, they inevitably mess it up . For the past two times, I've had my subscription lapse, and have had to call back again, the first time more than once, to get it started back up. The first time (4 yrs+ ago) I was sorta annoyed with having to make a third call...and Steve Simmons actually picked up the phone that day....

-- DK Thompson (, March 30, 2001.

i would like to see a focus on the HABS/HAER photographers, jet lowe and jack bouchard. i would also like to see a series of intensive articles on significant historic photographers - edouard baldus, le gray, carleton watkins, sebah, bonfils, beato, macpherson, a j russell, etc. i really don t care about pop "fine art" photographers. i dont need to see any more "technical" articles for beginners.

-- jnorman (, March 30, 2001.


I realize it's the only one we have... and Steve realizes that it can be better and that's great so I won't mince words or make mine "civil".

In no way would I want View Camera to concentrate on any one aspect of large format photography, especially landscapes. Lack of variety in VIEW CAM hasn't been a problem so far but cow-towing to workshops and "fine-art" photogs has.

The coverage of the above seems disproportionate to the numbers of photogs actually attending workshops and practicing the arts. Do I want our beloved View Cam to become a trade pub? Yes, if it means no more "fine art" then good, go do it. I do enjoy the landscape work chosen for the mag as well as the architectural and the tech stuff is great, perfect and exactly what I need but regrettably, I might enjoy one in ten of the "fine-art" features... it's the majority of the fine art and all the hot air that goes with those kinds of photography that's killing valuable column space.

Please edit subjectivity to nothing and let the photo do the communicating even if it means ball-gagging the "arteest" by merely quoting them once... especially if they're given to putting on heirs. Instead emphasize their materials and techniques rather than relegating the things we can know about a photo to the last couple of graphs.

The technical articles are fine and there's no point in jazzing up a chart or graph. View Camera customers are aesthetically conservative lot and "jazzing down" is what we want. It's the shit that passes as fine art and the softheads who make it that I can't stand. It's a sucker's game and Steve and staff should show more restraint. If fine-art is to be reviewed then make sure it's stood those archetypal time-tests first.

Of the ones I can remember from past issues I felt were lousy... well, here tis' like it or not Kenna sucks, burn his least he's not wordy. Chamlee's photos were boring, not quiet and beautiful but rather without worth of any kind. Jan Oswald's photo-art isn't good enough to be toilet paper and her talking about it makes me want to kill. That thing on TILT studios was a waste and I won't waste more words describing it.

I've seen better photographic "art" put up for review on photonet's critique page. That's the blind-spot, if Steve seems to have one, fine art. So my suggestion in short is... fire JPC.

love and hand grenades,


p.s. Steve, I do want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the first two years of View Camera and every mistake inside them. They were good, get the fire back, go rehire those people. I'd also like to thank you for "Using the View Camera". It's the only one of it's kind and in the future we'll credit you and it for helping to keep LF alive.

-- tribby (, March 30, 2001.

J Norman, I'm with you on all that. My favorite issues have been the ones that dealt with the more historic photographers/processes. That may have to do more with my line of work (probably your case too). The HABS/HAER issue was a great one, along with the FSA article. There was another interview a while back with Eric Long, and the Smithsonian photographers that really hit home with me. The museum photographer (staffers) community is pretty small, so it's nice to see a focus on this stuff. Personally, I'd like to see some more technical articles dealing with conservation/preservation. Like I said, I'm not into landscape stuff, but I enjoyed the Chicago Albumen Works article, and things like that alot.

-- DK Thompson (, March 30, 2001.

The work of Andreas Weidner. It good to here photographers are going to be doing their own profiles rather then some third party.

-- Trevor Crone (, March 30, 2001.

Technique, technique, technique.

I would love to see more ways to improve my exposures and processing. Both digital and traditional printing methods.

-- Andy Biggs (, March 30, 2001.

I would like to see an article on the Packard Shutter--it's history, use, and especially modern applications.

-- Elizabeth S. Woodruff (, March 30, 2001.

A swimsuit edition.

-- Dave L. (, March 30, 2001.

More than specific photographers who have or have not been featured in View Camera (which is either water under the bridge or only 1-2 issues’ worth of material) I’m interested in the "types" of article published.

Unlike a poster somewhere above (the Playboy guy) I’m not convinced that View Camera should offer more (or larger) photographs and fewer words; frankly, I’d kind of like to see more words. Pictures are available everywhere we look, and while numerous photos are obviously appropriate in a magazine about photography(!), the difference between a half-page photo and a full-page one is several paragraphs of enlightening text. I also find with photography magazines that are short on text that if I don’t like a set of photographs I get nothing out of that section. On the other hand, I may not be crazy about someone’s photographs but they may have a lot to say (Robert Adams leaps to mind; his book of essays "Beauty in Photography" is to me perhaps the single best photography book ever even though it has few photos overall and none of his own). Besides, many magazines will publish good LF photos, but only one magazine—View Camera—is likely to publish the story behind those photos.

First, what shouldn’t View Camera do? The magazine must acknowledge that the playing field has changed in the years since the magazine was founded. There’s no reason to cover material that’s easily accessible out there (or right here at this site) on the Internet or material that is well-covered in books (like Steve Simmons’ own!). Many technical pieces fall into this latter category—especially articles for beginners (which strike loyal—i.e., longtime—VC readers as a waste of space). Even pictures can be viewed at photographers’ websites in great detail and in greater quantity than the magazine is likely to offer.

So what SHOULD View Camera do? There’s still a lot that isn’t available on the web (or in books) and View Camera could use its gravitas to provide it. For me, the whole challenge of photography is "learning to see," and I’ve tried to think of what kinds of articles or feature series would be helpful toward that end. Five thoughts:

1. A feature called "People to watch," or "Emerging photographers" or "New eyes" – This would be a single excellent photo and paragraph from an undiscovered, often unpublished LF photographer (like many of us on this site), perhaps 2 or 4 persons per issue (one page each). It would be cheap for the magazine, be interesting for readers (who would benefit from seeing strong images they might otherwise not have seen), and would be a big boost to amateurs (in both senses of that word). It’s not an unrealistic expectation, as to be published one would need only have a single home run, not an entire winning career.

2. Icons of photography – Not people (who are well-covered in books) but images. I’m thinking View Camera would publish an image that is either well-known or strong enough that it should be well-known, along with a historical explanation of it… and then would have a variety of photographers and academics/critics/curators comment on the image, say, a paragraph each. (I see it as a "dead-photographer" feature because I think we could all learn more from studying the work of those who made our mistakes decades before we did). Again, the goal would be not only enlightening conversation and an exchange of perspectives but also "learning to see."

3. Multiple interpretations of the same subject by different photographers (yes, this could entail literally publishing a set of workshop pictures). Alternatively, an explanation of how one photographer solved the challenge of a single subject (snapshots from various angles, explaining the shortcomings of each, accompanied by a larger reproduction of the perspective the photographer ultimately judged the best—with an explanation why it works for him/her). Not a lot of space; perhaps a double-page spread every other issue or so.

4. More on books. Book reviews (both new and long out of print); book lists (personal favorites) by photographers, known and unknown (and by subject: landscape, architecture, etc.); articles on the book industry; interviews with authors, editors, publishers, and printers; excerpts from new books; stuff on collectible books (a huge sideline to photography collecting), etc.

5. An ongoing series of self-written (or ghostwritten, based on scratchings by the photographer) profiles of "working photographers," no more than one per issue: "On location with Susan Jones" or "In the field with John Smith." Each installment would show a few examples of the featured photographer’s work—enough to establish a common language with the reader, anyway—but would primarily consist of text to help the reader understand how the photographer ticks. (I like JPCaponigro fine, but instead of interviews I think he should be used more for analysis—seemingly his main interest; he could oversee #2, above—and of course for digital subjects.) This kind of series would let View Camera revisit the excellent photographers it has featured before, but without covering the same ground.

In terms of understanding the "working photographer" series suggested in #5, maybe it would help to think about what the average View Camera reader would talk about with the profiled photographer if they were to spend a day together (perhaps driving around scouting and not even taking any pictures). For example, many successful photographers claim they’re just "naturals" or that they’re "self-taught," when in fact (except for those who through trial and error figure out how to use a camera that washed up on their desert island) we are all immeasurably influenced in the way we see by countless other photographers. When I see a photographer’s work, I want to know how s/he got there, what they’re trying to say, and where they’re going with it. But I don’t want gaseous philosophy or excessive artsy-fartsiness of the kind that’s in art students’ "artist’s statements" at a gallery; I’m talking nuts and bolts, what works and what doesn’t in real life, in trying to be creative and good and fresh every single day. Reality photography, if you will. Examples of the kinds of questions I wish these working photographers would address:

"How did you get into photography? How did you get into LF photography? Which photographers did/do you find inspiring? Even more importantly, what was it about these photographers and/or their work that you find inspiring? (EWeston’s compositional eye, for example, or Ansel’s subject matter, or Minor White’s "spirituality") What don’t you like about these mentors’ oeuvre? Which photographers (especially dead ones) do you think are underrated? Overrated? How did you develop your own eye? Do you have a lot of photography books? Collections, technique, themes/places, or monographs? What books do you prize most? What other forms of artistic expression are inspiring to you? (Cezanne landscapes? Bach fugues? Bob Marley CDs?) Do you get creative blocks, and if so how do you overcome them? Do you like the "post-production" (darkroom/computer) part of the image-making process or would you rather be in the field? Do you usually know you’ve got a strong picture as soon as you click the shutter or do you find you make new discoveries, including cropping, in the darkroom or on the light table? When in the darkroom or at the computer do you like to work alone for hours on end until a project is done, or do you revisit it frequently on different days to see it anew? At these times do you listen to music or work in silence? How do you balance family and personal life with your photography? If you’re married, how does your spouse affect your work? Do you take vacations or trips without photographing? Do you have other hobbies? Do you have other artistic outlets (e.g., piano, sculpture, woodworking)? Why do you use the specific photographic tools that you do (monorail vs. folding, metal vs. wood, etc.)? Do you have any little tips about technique, composition, focusing in low light, keeping dust out of your holders, etc. that are by now instinctive to you? How do you transport your stuff around, both between locations and on location? Does your photography depend more on walking to places or flying/driving there? How do you find subjects? How do you get gigs? Any horror stories about failed assignments, through your fault or others’? Are you a good bookkeeper and marketer, or do you rely on others for help in one or both of those areas? How do you approach a familiar subject? An unfamiliar subject? Do you think you work best in an unfamiliar environment (e.g., a place you’ve never visited before) or with a subject you know inside and out? In a new location, do you start shooting right away to get your first impressions down, or are you a slow starter, wanting to soak in the place for a few hours or days first? Do you use any tools to help you visualize a scene before setting up your tripod or before shooting (viewing filters, polaroids, digital p&s)? How do you organize files of your past work? How do you preserve spontaneity in your photography (or don’t you, valuing contemplation instead)? Who is your best critic? Whom do you "run your images by" for comment? Do you rely on your spouse/significant other more for positive support or for clear-headed critique? Do you socialize more with other photographers or with people outside the field? Do you do other kinds of photography or use other formats? How do you say something new about a familiar subject? Why do you use black-and-white? (Or why do you use color? Or when do you use which?) What would you say you bring to a project that other photographers don’t? What makes a photograph "yours"? Who is your audience? Do you see the consumers of your photographs as different from yourself? Why should others care about your work? Why should they visit your website? What are your goals? How is your eye or your work evolving? Was there a breakthrough time in your aesthetic development, a Eureka moment? Did you realize it at the time or only in retrospect? How do you feel about your early work? When you see your new work as a viewer (on exhibit or in a publication), do you notice the work’s shortcomings or its strengths? Do you teach? Why or why not? If you were teaching, how would you find a middle ground between "just do what I do" and "do your own thing"? What do you think intermediate-to-advanced students are looking for? What’s the best format for teaching? Have you participated in workshops where you were not the teacher? What advice would you give to beginning photographers about learning to see? What do you see as the future of LF photography? Of photography in general? Of the still image? What about the role of digital manipulation; does it appeal to you or not?"

You get the idea. I apologize for going on so long, but then that’s the beauty of free bandwidth (and the drawback of no co

-- Micah (, March 30, 2001. copyeditor!).

Good luck.


-- Micah (, March 30, 2001.

I know this might seem like a turn to popularism or might even seem lowbrow, but how a bout a critique of large format photos readers send in. A few of the Brit magazines have this feature and one in particular is very honest and sometimes cheeky - all for the beenfit of the photographer and the reader, of course.

-- Bill Lange (, March 30, 2001.

As I still consider myself a "learner" in the field of LF, I'd really like to see more "how to" articles, especially on printing/processing. I must admit to being a little disappointed with the contents of some issues but on the whole I am eternally grateful to Steve Simmons for the publication. MY BIGGEST GRIPE IS THE TIME IT TAKES TO REACH US HERE IN THE UK!!!! Regards Paul

-- paul owen (, March 31, 2001.

I like the idea of doing a swimsuit edition. I've heard that Playboy used an 8x10 view camera for their center-folds. How 'bout doing something on that.

-- neil poulsen (, March 31, 2001.

How about an extreme approach! Edit VC like an academic journal by publishing only work that contributes to the building of what might be described as a "theory of large format photography." First, eliminate all articles on equipment and technique unless they can be tied directly to new and innovate work. These articles would be similar to scholarly articles on methodology. Second, Exclude all work that is derrivitive, redundant, or simply replicates past work. This would have the effect of eliminating most nudes, pictures of the national parks, sea shells, etc. Third, begin to eliminate work that can be linked to either the pictorialist or modern (f64) schools. If work can be described as "post-modern" or a similar category it would be included. Again, anything that moves the discipline forward! Finally, develop a new way of publishing the "journal" which eliminates the overreliance on advertising and the potential subserviance to equipment manufacturers. Beyond that, develop of system of "blind" reviewers who decide what work is published.


-- Dave Willison (, March 31, 2001.

This is off-thread, and directed specifically to Micah about the post above: When I was studying singing at university, one of my greatest influences and guides was a book called "Great Singers on Great Singing" by bass Jerome Hines consisting of interviews with established and renowned artists about the "nuts and bolts" of their technique. It seems to ma a similar book about LF photography would be in great demand and fill a much-needed niche. Micah's post above could easily be adapted for serious interviews with notable LF photographers as a basis for such a work. All the right questions (and then some) are already there. How 'bout it Micah? Game for a literary project? I'm sure the potential interviewees would be willing. Just a thought. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, March 31, 2001.

I want to give a hand to Steve for publishing a great magazine. It is very hard to publish an all inclusive magazine which meets the varied interest of a varied readership. I think there are some real interesting and worthwhile suggestions in this thread. One of the suggestions that I feel fell flat was the suggestion that the magazine throw out all material already done and only include seminal work that is new and cutting edge. I find the monikers "new" and "cutting edge" in describing work as very boring. Remember that at one time Michael Fatali's work and Michael Kenna's work was cutting edge. I like to revisit established photographers to see what new work they are doing. And I love to see the work of new photographers. I also really like to see images. The philosophy behind work and vision is very interesting but a picture is worth a thousand words. A lot of the philosophical writing says the same thing over and over. I like the photographer to talk about what the idea is about and how it evolved. Technique is nice also. And as old hands at photography, large format in particular, we need to remember that the magazine is published for us as well as the new up and coming large format photographer. Quite a few of us looked upon VC as a bible of sorts when we first delved into the format. So I say to Steve, keep up the good work but take some of the suggestions offered here and make VC a better magazine. My one real complaint with the magazine is the deteriorating quality of the images as printed on paper. James

-- james (, March 31, 2001.

I too think Simmons does an excellent job with View Camera. he has good writers who ask (usually) smart questions and who understand it isn't about gear but about vision.

An article I'd like to see is a follow up on the Fatali profile that covers at least the same length, the damage Michael Fatali did, both to the site and to the cause of photography in the National Parks, and perhaps damage caused by other over eager photographers who think common sense rules don't apply to them, that they are more special than the next person.

-- Ellis Vener (, March 31, 2001.

I have long considered a subscription, but the price of international mail has prevented me so far. Would there be a way of making the magazine available in Europe at a better rate?

-- Paul Schilliger (, April 01, 2001.

Paul, I now get my copy from Robert White in the UK (who is the UK distributor) for GBP6.50 including postage. It probably wouldn't be much more to send it to Switzerland. In Japan, this magazine was available off the shelf from Tower Records in Shibuya!

I'm looking forward to the upcoming issue given the previous discussions on this board (!), and it is disappointing that Tuan appears to have deleted that thread, although it did appear to be bordering on the litigious towards the end.

Overall, View Camera oscillates between very high quality (e.g portfolios such as David Fokos), and fairly banal and badly written word-spinning, but it has an overall air of zealous honesty which I find endearing. The current approach and balance would be difficult to change, but Steve Simmons could do well to introduce some non-American photographers - there are many Japanese LF photographers who produce excellent work - if Steve were to contact the Tokyo Museum of photography at Ebisu, I am sure that they would be very helpful in arranging introductions, etc.

-- fw (, April 01, 2001.

Thanks David! I'll have a look at this offer.

-- Paul Schilliger (, April 01, 2001.

OK, I'll throw my 2 cents worth in...

I have to say, I really like the magazine's format. It's impossible to come up with a publication that covers everything, but I think Steve does a good job of touching on a lot of different things.

The portfolios and discussions with the photographers are interesting and pretty well done. I wouldn't change that much, except I'd really like to see a bit more discussion about how each photographer makes their images. As another poster said, a "day in the life" type of thing with a little more technical information about why a specific lens/film/process combination wwas chosen. It might also be nice to see a section later in the magazine with a couple of the images that didn't make the cut and a small description of why the photographer chose one version of an image over another. These images could obviously be smaller and of lower quality reproduction. The effect would be something similar to other magazines that have smaller thumbnails near the end of the publication with a description of how the image was made.

Also, I'd disagree with some here who said they'd like less reading material and more photos. I love examining the photos, but I always feel like I'm finished with the magazine much too soon for a publication that only comes out every other month. I'd like a little more substance to tide me over until my next ViewCamera "fix"!

(and like several others, Thank you Steve for putting out this fine magazine)

-- Tim Klein (, April 03, 2001.

The "swimsuit issue" idea may have been a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I think it might be interesting to do a piece from the _VC_ perspective on Peter Gowland. Aside from his influence on commercial glamour and advertising photography in defining the _Playboy_ style of the 1970s, he wrote many popular books for amateur photographers that affected the way ordinary people looked at themselves through the camera, and he's designed some very interesting large format cameras (Gowlandflex TLR, the ultralight Pocket View, some arial cameras, and others).

I have an 8x10" Pocket View, and have ordered some parts from him, and he's a very accessible, generous guy who loves to talk about his cameras and to help people with them. He is always making improvements to them.

-- David Goldfarb (, April 03, 2001.

Steve, my only input concerns an aspect you have virtually no control over. This thread (and the one that spawned it) have been around for how long now? My issue only arrived with yesterday's mail delivery! Since the USPS has caved in and made a deal with FedEx, maybe you could negotiate one with them too?

-- Sal Santamaura (, April 05, 2001.

Boy, what a thread. A fair number of reasonably good suggestions and several incredibly dorky ones that are almost embarrassing to read.

I'd like to see more articles about what LF photographers eat for breakfast. Edward Weston liked Rice Chex. I like Wheaties mixed with Rice Chex, especially after its sat for a while and gets a little soppy. I'm guessing Ansel didnt shy away from the bacon and eggs

-- Wayne (, April 05, 2001.

I'm sorry, that should have been wheat chex. tsk, tsk. So I'm also fond of hops.

-- Wayne (, April 05, 2001.

Just found this thread, but I thought I'd contribute a few thoughts of my own.

For one thing, I can actually attribute some of my original interest in large format photography to a single issue of View Camera my father got for me while on a business trip about 2 1/2 years ago (during my sophmore year in high school). Since then, I have bought and devoured every issue and have gained much from the magazine. Yeah, some issues are better than others, but when you compare it to other, more mainstream photography magazines (Popular Photography and the like), it's pretty easy to tell that it really is on a much higher level overall. Steve Simmons has done a great job of creating a wonderful publication and has managed to keep it going strongly despite the relatively small number of photographers that it goes to.

What kind of articles would I like to see? I think Micah pretty much addressed everything I would like to see, and quite well I might add. I understand the amount of effort and time required to create a magazine like View Camera, and that will limit what can be done with it, but I'm sure that there are plenty of people who would be happy to volunteer their time and effort if it meant making an already great publication even better. I really like the idea of a single photograph from and a paragraph about lesser known, not necessarily professional, but still talented LF shooters. Also, and it might seem sort of amateurish, but as Bill Lange pointed out above, a critique of a few photos from readers might be nice. Practical Photography, a British photography magazine, does this in every issue and it's actually pretty interesting to read.

Finally, as far as photographers I'd like to see profiled, I think there's only one that I can think of that I'd really like to see something about- Clyde Butcher. If you're not familiar with him, he does pretty amazing stuff in the Florida Everglades with cameras up to 12x20, which is no simple task.

That's about it from me.

-- David Munson (, April 05, 2001.

A swimsuit edition???!!!

How in the hell would I find a swimsuit to fit my Deardorff?

-- Dan Smith (, April 06, 2001.

This is a remark on Dave's comment. If you are going to volunteer your time and effort, do it to help this site, not View Camera. View Camera, like any magazine, has already advertising revenue and of course charges subcription fees, so if you do something for them, it wouldn't be fair for you not to be compensated. On the other hand, I maintain this site without any compensation (besides the amazon referal fees, which are pocket money), do not resort to commercialization (in particular banner adds), take care of this forum despite the abuse that I receive periodically, format contributions in HTML, write articles, all this just for the satisfaction of serving the Large Format community. I would certainly welcome any help.

The main difference that I see between View Camera and this site is that View Camera has an easier access to established photographers. They are happy to be featured in the magazine, which has a high standard of quality, but they would not be interested by being featured on this site for a variety of reasons. Besides that, I don't see why some of the excellent suggestions of Micah couldn't be used here as well.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, April 06, 2001.

No no Dan! You're supposed to wear the swim suit. Not the 8x10. James

-- james (, April 07, 2001.

My first suggestion is for someone at VC (and Michael Fatali) to learn how to spell ILFOCHROME! There are no "A"s in it, anywhere! Getting it right once and wrong 3 times in one article is pretty embarrassing to those of us who can both do it and spell it.

Other than that I'd like to see pictures-all kinds of pictures, good pictures, bad pictures, straight pictures and "other" (although digital gets old), alternate processes, articles (and PICTURES) on little-known, overlooked LF photographers, both present and past. As long as there are a variety of pictures, i dont care. I dont think every issue will please everyone, so variety is the key

-- Wayne (, April 07, 2001.

Thanks for your comments. I am printing them and will go over them carefully.

There is a followup to the Fatali article in the May/June issue

steve simmons

-- steve simmons (, June 04, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ