Camera Magazine: From 1922 to 1981

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cameranov73

cameraapr73

Camera_1969_08

camerajan74

cameraapr70

Camera_1974_05

Y

esterday I read about I.D. magazine folding after 55 years in print, and it saddened me. It made me think of many important publications no longer in circulation in tangible form. One such worth mentioning is Camera, a magazine that commenced as a camera review out of Lucerne, Switzerland in 1922, and later distributed around the world in multiple languages as a vanguard in almost every important period in photography.

It was interesting to learn that the magazine’s high-quality prints were produced on a dull-finish semi-matte paper using a sheet-fed gravure printing process, a process that involved engraving the image onto a copper cylinder for use in a rotary printing press. That was part of what made Camera so special, its attention to detail and quality output. It was also among the first to feature work of now-known photographers such as Robert Frank, Edward Steichen and Jeanloup Sieff. With success spanning from its inception well into the early ’70s, it’s unfortunate that the takeover by the Ringier printing company in 1973 derailed the magazine’s reputation in less than a decade’s time. Having no interest in the magazine, the new owners decided to switch the printing system from gravure to a cheaper two-color duplex offset system. Ringier also withdrew promotional support instead of ending the magazine altogether, hoping circulation would dwindle to a halt. Instead, Camera pressed onward until 1981 when Ringier decided it was not in the company’s interests to keep the publication alive.

The various covers above evoke certain emotions that I wish I could have experienced as a kid growing up in the ’60s or ’70s. Instead, I was born in the ’80s and am now bequeathed with either dusty back issues or digital glimpses of the past. Not that I’m complaining; the ’80s had its own magic that I adore. The thing is, even knowing soon enough that all the world’s books and publications and even leaflets will be digitized and indexed for consumption will not appease what I miss about tangible media. It probably never will. On an endnote, the Camera logotype is simply lovely, and the first cover (my favorite) is ten kinds of wonderful.

Published //

December 16, 2009

Author //

Christy

Comments //

6

Filed Under //


Design, Magazines, Photography

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6 Comments

  1. No.
    1

    Identification

    Only recently read your wonderful piece about “Camera” magazine. I was a young man when I saw my first copy of the magazine with its wonderful writing, great photos from both the famous and not so famous, and fantastic printing. Hopefully there are a few museums in the United States that still have the hard copies of this greatest of camera magazines that lasted just six months short of 60 years.

    Name //

    Lou Deholzer

    Reply to user

  2. No.
    2

    Identification

    Yes it was a great magazine, too bad it disappeared so early..
    I had the luck of being published in the early 70’s as a promising young photographer! How could I retrieve these issues (on the net at least) ?
    Thanks in advance.

    Name //

    Vilo

    Date //

    April 9, 2012

    Reply to user

    • No.
      2.1

      Team Colorcubic

      Hi Vilo — how wonderful that you were published back then! Do you have any of your photographs online? I’d love to see them. As for where you can retrive past issues, perhaps Ebay would be a good place to start digging. I did a quick search and came upon this, and I’m sure there’s probably more. Good luck!

      Name //

      Christy

      Date //

      April 9, 2012

      Reply to user

  3. No.
    3

    Identification

    I collected CAMERA from the early 70’s through until my lasty subscription ending in 1981. I worked in a museum and therefore made museum quality slipcases for the entire set. They are in like new condition. I have comiserated about selling them for years but did not want to put them on the open market as other “magazines”. I hate getting rid of them but must. They are like old friends whom I loved to visit every now and then. I am looking for a good home for them.

    Name //

    D. Mathiesn

    Reply to user

  4. No.
    4

    Identification

    I still have my Camera magazines from 1970 to 1981. Although there are some gaps in between. I heard that they are going to start publishing again in 2013. Is that true?
    When I was 23 they published a couple of my photographs in the August 1976 issue. I was so thrilled.

    Name //

    Robert Rhodes

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