Luke McGuff (holyoutlaw) wrote,
Luke McGuff

Daylight Magazine

Most photography magazines on the newsstands tend to be very heavy on the gadgets and gear, tips and tricks end. Lots of breathless advertorial reviews of the latest equipment, a few tips and tricks or how to articles, and tons of ads. Very little, however, actual photography.

Over the last couple years, though, I've found a number of magazines about photography more than gear and gizmos. I plan on reviewing/commenting on them occasionally in the hopes that other folks will be interested as well.

Daylight Magazine
Issue 4, 2006: Israel/Palestine
Issue 5, 2006: Global Commodities

Daylight Magazine carries no outside ads at all. The inside back cover and facing page carry discrete notices of limited edition prints and back issues for sale. Each issue features several short portfolios of images by a photographer on the subject, reproduced in color or black and white as photographed. The portfolios almost always have an introduction from the photographer, and each image is accompanied by an explanatory caption.

The photos throughout are technically competent. I sometimes quibble on how light lands on a subject, or the shadows of an image. But that's not the point here, with documentary photography you take what you can get.

But some questions I find myself asking are: how would this photo stand on its own? What would it convey without the surrounding gloss of introductions and captions? Do these photographs begin to encapsulate the subject matter? These are probably unfair questions. "Israel/Palestine" and "global commodities" are pretty broad subjects and they're not going to be conveyed in a 64 page magazine.

I also wonder how much of this is voyeurism. The photographer comes, takes the pictures, and leaves. The people whose plight they document are still there. What I get is an aesthetic experience. This plays into my own personal failure of photojournalism. I remember reading a collection of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs that spanned the history of the award. By the end I was thinking what a miserable piece of work humanity is.

Despite all these quibbles, I come down heavily in favor of Daylight Magazine. No larger circulation magazine regularly gives space to these photos and this type of work. Photographers documenting and writing about the people they cover do help inform people (like me) removed from those experiences. Portraits of Colombian ex-paramilitaries do shed light on the gun control debate in the US.

Daylight Community Arts Foundation, which publishes the magazine, also has numerous projects around the world. They include camera distribution, photography workshops, and liaising with community darkrooms around the world.
Tags: photography magazines

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