Harrowing The Newsstand – And Being Harrowed In Return

The newsstand used to be source of delight for me. Wherever you found magazines and comic books you could find me, whether it was a drug store, newsagent, or railway kiosk. I was known to drive to Perth airport at night just to get the freshest copies of new photographic or hobby magazines. I read ’em and saved ’em in looseleaf binders for decades –  even going as far as to have copies of some trade journals bound by a bookmaker to preserve them.

Today’s visit to the newsagent was amazing – the printed photographic magazine now costs as much as six bottles of good beer and contains far less amusement. And is far staler.

The argument that this is because of the internet is valid to a certain point, but does not take into account those people who love photography but do not love computers. And I am not just thinking of the people who wish to continue shooting film for various reasons – there are lots of visually minded people who can appreciate the art without wishing to have anything to do with the science. On a month-to-month basis in the basic suburban newsagency, they have been dealt out of the game.

It is undoubtedly different in other parts of the world. I would be willing to bet that a British, French, or North American person wishing to look at monthly picture journals would be able to get a different one every few days. Of course, art publishing being what it is, most of the journals would fold up after two issues, but you could make a decent collection of first editions anyway.

I was also a little discouraged to see that there was a greater representation of weird magazines than there was of decent photo mags. I could have my pick of conspiracy magazines, spiritualism magazines, and food allergy magazines from Queensland and New Zealand, but nothing of good photography. I hope this is not telling me something about my suburb…

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