RIP Popular Photography, 1937-2017


Originally published at:


That cover would have been a little risqué for 1937. Probably boosted the circulation.


It does say “photo kinks”

Whose? Theirs or their readers’?


Photography hot tips 2017:

Just push the button!

Apply filter!



Now? Just when the hipsters are bringing back silver halide? Lame.


Is your wife interested in… photography then, eh? Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more. “Photo kinks,” eh? “Candid” shots, if you know what I mean…


Removed the original because I found this:


remember an article from one of the us mags who had a test facility 14 floors up in manhattan that had a super heavy and flat testing bench for more accurate readings
impressed me some


“The Rebirth of Tintype: An Old Photographic Medium Is Revitalized”


That’s kind of the issue actually; Popular Photography is not aimed at enthusiasts who get really deep into photography, it’s aimed at beginners in the flickr/500px sphere, who aspire to be as good as the most popular (not the best, but the most popular) photographers in that sphere.

It wasn’t a bad magazine in recent years, by any means. It just has a very specific primary audience which isn’t that large, and since it’s basically aimed at beginners, people “graduate” from the magazine being relevant to them within a couple years. Though it should be said that this is the audience that has money to spare from their non-creative but steady and relatively lucrative job and likes to buy the latest pro-sumer cameras, so it’s understandable why they went after that demographic, for advertising purposes.

And to be fair, the other photography magazines you can typically find on the newsstand are either far worse, or too far into the contemporary art scene to be accessible to most. Online, of course, you can find just the right mix for whatever level you’re at and what you’re interested in. But a well-printed physical photo hits you in a very different way than it does on a screen, even a big one, and it’s very, very useful for learning photography to look at physical prints, which is why magazines are nice.


Were they even still covering that? (I don’t know–I stopped reading it back in the 1980s)

Even film enthusiasts have online sites to congregate in. Pop Photo wasn’t relevant for anyone.


PopPhoto was how I learned about photography, and yeah, I sorta of outgrew it, but it was great for gear reviews.

My favorite photo mag was always Zoom. Large format glossy magazine, now out of Italy, if still published, and great photo spreads. Not much in the way of gear of how-tos, if any.


I’ll miss them but I admit I was not subscribing to them for many years now. They were one of my regular reads back in the 1970’s and 80’s. But a magazine has to less ‘mass market’ and more specialty to catch my eye these days, like say Lenswork. I think I’m less of a gear hound these days as well.


What’s more niche than “Women Drying Off Quarterly”?


Yeah, it’s easy to forget how shocking it would have been in those days to show a woman with a gaping hole in her chest, such that you could see straight through where her lungs should be to the magenta tile behind her.

heh, I sure burned THAT long-dead photo compositor!


I guess photography got too popular.


I’ll stick with “Practical Pornographer”.


Pretty sure that lower one was quite deliberate and pushing the envelope of how much underboob was allowed.


So is practical pornography pornography in practice, pornography that isn’t impractical, or practically pornography?


Yes :smiley: