The Ever Changing Industry…..

1 year, 3 months ago 8
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From PetaPixel;


Popular Photography, the largest circulated imaging magazine that launched its first issue in May 1937 in New York City, has ceased publication after being continuously in production for 80 years. The March/April 2017 issue will be the last in print.


When print magazines close, their online counterparts often live on, but in the case of Popular Photography, will also simultaneously close (though it may stay online for a while).


“I want to take this opportunity to share this news with the entire company and the reasons behind our decision. In our most recent Town Hall, I spoke of how the pace of disruption through digital and technological advancements is unprecedented. Unfortunately, the photo industry is an example of where this disruption has forever altered the market. The rise of smartphone-camera technology and its increasing ability to capture quality photos and video and instantly share them socially has dealt the photo industry formidable challenges. For our brands, these industry challenges have left us with insurmountable losses in advertising and audience support. Despite the extraordinary efforts of our committed colleagues at Popular Photography and American Photo, as well as our best attempts corporately to find a sustainable path forward, we are simply unable to overcome these market forces.”


Eri Zinczenko


During its run, Popular Photography developed a fine system of testing cameras. Former editor John Owens said more than 10 year ago that in excess of a million dollars was spent in setting up a state of the art testing lab. Pop Photo was one of the few places where you could read in-depth camera reviews, they have been doing bench tests for a long time, and produced pretty involved reviews and they were considered fairly authoritative.

At its peak, Popular Photography had a circulation of nearly to 1 million. Today, as per the 2017 Media Kit, that number stands at 320,000. The audience was always male dominated and stands at 60%. The median age is 49.9, so millennials are missing, and that could perhaps be one of the reasons for the demise.


While I no longer picked up a copy of the magazine, it was a staple of my photographic life for many, many years.  Sad news and a reminder of how our photo industry is changing, and will surely continue to change.




the pilgrim






8 Responses

  1. David W. says:

    I learned so much of the hardware side of film photography from the magazine. I enjoyed Herbert Keppler’s editorials and articles. With the demands of family, I let my subscription lapse. After going more than a couple of decades without the magazine I subscribed again a couple of years ago. I guess I’ll need to keep the last issue as a memento of a past era.

  2. In the film days this was a staple (along with Petersen’s Photographic and Shutterbug). With online services there isn’t as much room (especially B&H and Cambridge ads prepared months in advance) but I still think there is a place for a good print magazine.

  3. Richard Browne says:

    And yet there are a scad of photography magazines that are marketed from England – all readily available at my local Barnes & Noble. While their availability is probably part of what caused the demise of Popular Photography (unable to compete with the glossies from England), what is enabling so many of them to survive?

    • admin says:

      Good question! I can’t imagine their market is that different from ours, but obviously they are surviving and ours aren’t!?

  4. Paul Barcewicz says:

    I feel the need to use this unhappy news as a final opportunity to praise Herb Keppler at Pop Photo. He was the maven, THE maven, and had wonderful insight into camera gear and those of us who buy it and why we do. I wrote him a letter perhaps 20 years ago asking his opinion about buying some long-forgotten piece of equipment (as I well know you, Bill, get all the time…including from me in the past 🙂 ). I hoped, at best, to get a one line typed or scribbled reply. What I got was a full-page handwritten letter, in beautiful flowing handwriting with emerald green fountain pen ink!!! He gave me a nice education about the gear in question, and then explored my psychological motivation for the possible purchase. He was right on target! (I’m equally sure you question the sanity of those of us who consult you about such matters.)
    He was a gentleman and a scholar, and his passing was a big loss to the photography world as well as Pop Photo.
    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write this.

  5. Dave Benson says:

    Must admit that I am one of those who has made the “on-line” my go to for reading… probably would not have noticed the loss without you bringing it to my attention via your blog, and that’s the irony, because great resources like yourself Bill have supplanted my desire to pick up magazines that were overloaded with advertising…although I know that is how they paid the bills… I also love my e-books, and will still buy the hard copy when it is also available… my only hard copy magazine subscription these days is Outdoor Photography Canada… and maybe they survive because they only do 4 issues a year…

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