Random Sights and Diversions

Photography Media Reviews Commentary


Photography Magazines on the iPad – Part 2

Part 1 included reviews of some magazines available from Zinio. Zinio is an excellent iPad magazine store, easily competitive with Apples own Newstand. But there are now some really excellent photography magazines that have developed their own apps for the iPod. As with Part 1, I’ll link to the magazine websites, usually a treasure trove, as well as the iPad appstore link.

9. British Journal of Photography

Grade   Content A+  iPad Format  A
Photography     →Website    →iPad app 

The print version of the British Journal of Photography claims to be the oldest photography magazine in the world. The iPad version has been developed exclusively for the iPad, and it’s really wonderful. The app is brand new. Photography will publish quarterly (the print mag is monthly); only the first issue is available now, and it’s free.

More after the jump…

Photography includes multiple feature sections with galleries, interviews with photographers, comment and observation on the state of the photographic art. This is a great journal for serious photographers. The range of content is impressive, from interviews with the likes of Wim Wenders to features on innovative filmmaking combining stills. In the first issue, there is a story on the collapse of the stock photo market and an article on wedding photography. There are sections that cover equipment and technique, but this is primarily a journal for exploring trends in the profession and art of photography as well as the place and role of photography in modern culture and society.

The app includes lots of internal and external links.  The interactivity and the full potential of the iPad is being utilized. The magazine includes video clips and discusses the work of video artists. There are drop-downs and popups and pages that interconnect and flow

in interesting ways. Pages and stories can be bookmarked, though content cannot be readily copied. The app is very easy to read. All in all, reading this journal is a real delight.

10. Once (in Apple Newsstand)

Grade   Content A  iPad Format  A-
Once     →Website    →iPad app 

Once is another new iPad magazine which brings some distinctive and interesting features to a photojournalism magazine. Each issue features three extended photo essays, with excellent high quality images and well-written text, usually by the photographer or an interview with the photographer. Their aim, they say, is to use the iPad technology to bring a new dimension to photographic storytelling. I think they accomplish this very well.  Once also shares subscription 50/50 with their contributors.

Photo quality is very high. Images are all captioned, and captions can be hidden. Stories can be shared, but there is no bookmarking and no provisions for copying text. Interactivity is thus limited, but some issues do include audio clips. I expect, though,  that Once will continue to develop in their utilization of the iPad technology.

Once is in the new Apple Newsstand. The Newsstand is similar to Zinio in providing a central source for magazines, although the newsstand also includes many newspapers. Apple also provides subscription management.  I found that with just a few exceptions photography is underrepresented in the Newsstand.

11. The Scope Magazine

Grade   Content A  iPad Format  C
Scope Magazine        →iPad app

The Scope is a magazine quite unlike any other on the iPad that I have found. Edited in a sparse and elegant fashion, with lots of white space, small text, and all black and white images, Scope presents a very understated take on photojournalism, fine art photography and media.  The magazine represents a deliberate effort to bring a global consciousness. Each issue features photo essays on travel, ecological and other geopolitical issues, celebrity interviews, articles on music, and additional galleries of work by distinguished photographers.

Unlike almost all other iPad magazines, there is a specific provision for zooming images to large view. But there is little other interactivity. Text is difficult to read and there is no special reading format view.  Generally. Scope seems to be a magazine that would have looked very good in print, and that print concept has simply been copied over to the iPad without utilizing the tablet technology potential.

“Scope” seems to be a very popular title for photo, art, media and literary magazines.

12. Nature Photographer

Grade   Content A  iPad Format  B-
Nature Photographer     →Website    →iPad app 

Nature Photographer has been around in print for over two decades. It’s a relatively small magazine whose short length and occasionally “homey” style belies the exceptionally high quality of nature, wildlife, and landscape photography every issue. This magazine is a true gem for anyone interested in nature photography, from beginner to experienced pro.

Aside from reformatting in landscape format, the magazine is not changed for the iPad. The only way to zoom images is with the usual iPad pinch-to-zoom. But text is very readable. Although there’s not much in Nature Photographer that especially exploits the iPad technology in terms of interactivity, it’s still a joy to read on the iPad and an indispensable part of my library.

Nature Photographer is published quarterly. There are no subscriptions; buy each issue when it’s available.

13. MagCloud

Grade   Content B  iPad Format  C+
MagCloud    →Website    →iPad app 

MagCloud is a fascinating resource for magazines on the iPad. There are literally hundreds of titles available, in all genres and subjects, and a wide range of photo magazines. What you’ll find at MagCloud is a plethora of short zines, self-published magazines, monographs, and journals. And the best part is that they are almost all free.

MagCloud is a startup funded by HP. It’s a great place for anybody who wants to get into self-publishing their work. Anyone can contribute magazines for listing in  MagCloud. Obviously, one has to expect some variability in quality, but all magazines are previewable, and downloading is fast.  I’ve had some serendipitous finds among photo mags. Once downloaded, mags are pretty simple, but easy to read. A fascinating resource and a great way to while away some time.

The magazine I’d most like to see on the iPad …

but isn’t…     PDN – Photo District News.  (→Website)   Photo District News is one of m y favorite photography magazines. The website is also a great resource. PDN is a great multifaceted magazine on the photography business that should appeal to everyone from serious enthusiast to developing pro. It would make me happy to no end to see them create an iPad app.

Of course, I can read the print version. But the whole point here is that the iPad makes a whole new experience out of reading magazines, and ultimately it’s more enjoyable and rewarding. Once you have started with the iPad, it’s amazing how natural it feels. One can carry around a great many magazines in the iPad.

Recommendations for Designing Magazines for iPad

Here, in no special order, are suggestions for iPad photo magazine designers.

  • Make navigation easy and effective. It should be easy to flip through from page to page without significangt delays or detours, but it should also be easy to find specific pages or features. Links to additional media – video and audio clips, e.g. – should be clear and efficient.
  •  Make it interactive with additional media, drop downs and pop ups, alternate branches. Sharing links to social media sites are essential. Audio and/or video of such things as interviews with artists is a good use of the iPad technology.
  •  Not wanting to make it easy to copy images is understandable. But it should be possible to copy/capture text. Being able to add annotations – as in a PDF – would be great. Similarly, attaching a note, like a “Sticky,” would be cool.
  •  Text should be readable. The use of a specially formatted reading view is  strongly encouraged.
  •  Articles and pages should be bookmarkable. Bookmarks should be saved locally as well as sharable. Of particular value would be the ability to annotate or comment in the bookmarks.
  • There is no excuse for using anything other than high quality images. iPad resolkution is 1024×768 at 132 pixels per inch. (It might be worth anticipating an iPad3 with much higher resolution sometime in the next 12 months.)
  • Make images easily zoomable. We are studying and admiring the work of our professional and serious enthusiast colleagues.
  • Use devices like clickable images, buttons, or hot spots in images to pop open captions, technical data, etc.
  • Provide internal hyperlinking extensively if it helps navigate around the publication. For example, a simple straightforward table of contents with each feature linked is very helpful.
  • Provide external links to websites, resources, advertisers, authors, featured photographers, etc.
  • Use formats so the magazine can be read horizontally or vertically.


2 Responses to Photography Magazines on the iPad – Part 2

  1. Pingback: iPad Magazine Reviews | Random Sights and Diversions

  2. Pingback: New iPad Photo Magazine | Random Sights and Diversions

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