What I Read: 2012 Edition


©Bryan Formhals

The past couple of years I’ve compiled a list of photography websites of note with a short paragraph explaining why I find them interesting. I’ve decided not to do it this year. Well, at least not in that format. The primary reason is because the list hasn’t changed much, if at all, which to me either means I’m missing some of the better new sites out there (which is entirely possible and even likely), or there just haven’t been that many new sites of note (at least none that appeal directly to my sensibility).

So, this year I decided to copy The Atlantic Wire’s ‘Media Diet’ format to give you a better idea of what I read. And as I mentioned in The Digest last week, I have plans to create a section on the site for recommended blogs and magazines, something more than a page with links. I hope to get around to that sooner than later.

Blogs

I follow blogs primarily through Google Reader (and Twitter). The mainstays are Conscientious, Blake Andrews, A Photo Editor, BAGNewsNotes, DLK Collection, Flak Photo, Feature Shoot, Shooting Wide Open, Time LightBox, LENS Blog, aCurator, New Yorker Photo Booth, Raw File, Wayne Ford, David Campbell, dvafoto, Prison Photography, eyecurious, The Online Photographer, boooooom!, fototazo, Shane Lavalette, LensWork, duckrabbit, the Great Leap Sideways, LENSCRATCH, Searching for the Light, oitzarisme, Street Level Japan and Stellazine.

Blake and Jorg are my favorites because they tend to have strong opinions. We need more of that in photoland. Tom Griggs of fototazo also produced several thought provoking pieces this year that I enjoyed. APE provides a nice glimpse into the editorial world and Rob is very good aggregator. Aline at LENSCRATCH is the hardest working blogger and does the best job of providing textual context for the work she publishes.

I enjoy Mike Johnston’s philosophical musings on TOP. That goes for Brooks Jensen too. Both have plenty to offer even though I don’t necessarily share their aesthetic sensibility.

Without question DLK Collection is the go to blog for reviews of gallery shows in New York.

Magazines

This year I subscribed to Aperture, PDN and Dear Dave. Online I follow Fraction, Unless You Will, Ahorn, Deep Sleep, Excerpt, 1000 Words, Seesaw, SuperMassiveBlackHole, and American Photo.

I made the leap to the iPad this year too. I subscribed to the BJP iPad edition and it’s excellent. I tend to view PDN in app as well, but it’s a tad clunky. I’ll probably pull the trigger on Hotshoe sooner than later.

The most notable absence in my list I feel is FOAM. It’s expensive, and I’m too lazy to go hunt it down in a store. I’ll probably pull the trigger on it this year though. Oddly, I feel it might be one of the very few must reads. Maybe that’s why I’ve ignored it!

I know I’m likely forgetting some magazines as well. There are going to be more and more of them arriving on the scene. It’s becoming tougher to figure out why I should really care about them. The same can easily be said about LPV. We all need to do a better job of differentiating our publications from the crowd in order to keep the ecosystem vibrant and not redundant.

Twitter

I generally keep Twitter open at all times. I’m an addict. It’s my primary source for news. The key accounts I follow for photography are @monroegallery, @theclick , @jmcolberg, @1854 , @brookpete, @rawfileblog and that’s it. What? Can’t be. Well, yes to some extent. Although, I do follow a bunch of other photographers, galleries and publications. I’ve made lists that you can check. I also follow many more outlets that aren’t really related to photography. For that, you’ll have to check out my personal account. 

Twitter can be tough to explain to people. The key for me is to follow people that bring me value. I can be ruthless. Even if you’re a friend, I might not pay much attention to you if you’re not really sharing anything interesting. I’m generally only interested in links to interesting content. Although, I don’t mind some random ruminations or casual chit chat. But twitter is not a place for debate or in depth conversations. You have to know when to back away at times.

Tumblr

I’m addicted to Tumblr. This year POTB was added to the ‘photography spotlight’ which resulted in an explosion of followers, 100,000 and counting. The platform and community consistently amaze me and I highly recommend that photographers use it as their blogging platform.

I follow 590 Tumblr’s which may sound like too many but many of them post infrequently.

My two favorite’s are Mark Peter Drolet and Wayne Bremser. You should read this interview Blake did with MPD to gain some insight into his thinking. In the past I couldn’t follow him because he posted too much but this year I tried again and it stuck. The breadth of work that he posts is mind boggling. I have no idea how he can remember all those photographers or where he finds the time to dig into their sites, but day after day he’s sharing work that I’ve never seen before and that would be impossible for me to find on my own.

Wayne is an old standby, mostly sharing black and white work. I keep tabs on urbanautica and Hamburger Eyes through Tumblr. This is a Cult was new to my radar this year.

The posse of Daniel Shea, Emiliano Granado, Ryan Pfluger, Joao Canziani, Alexi Hobbs, and Jake Stangel have introduced me to plenty of great work. They are great examples of how to mix personal work while promoting the work of their pals.

Others I enjoy are fette sans, Art Photo Collector, Panopticon Gallery, internet history, jogging, photolia, Blood of the Young, photoformag, ICP/Bard MFA, epsteinian, remerge, fourteen-nineteen, Little Brown Mushroom, Please Excuse the Mess, Daily Beast Picture Dept, Banana Leaves, Mossless, digital faun, one125, Rocket Science, and Caille.

The Rest

I check Facebook like most people and I do find some articles there but for the most part what I see there I’ve already seen somewhere else. I still peruse Flickr but that’s mostly to check in some groups or see what some of my old contacts are up to.

What I’ve posted above is just the photography portion of my web consumption. I’ll spare you the details of everything else but if you follow my personal Twitter you’ll find that I throw in stuff about physics, astronomy, publishing and other random articles that cover a spectrum of topics.

Thank you!

There’s no way LPV would be where it is today without all of the wonderful inspiration and insight that the above blogs, magazines and individuals provide on a daily basis. Thank you all very much! I may not interact with you too often, but I am following along, and certainly appreciate all the hard work that you put into your respective sites. I’m also always on the look out for new and interesting sites, so if you know of any, drop me a line.

Here’s to a great 2013!

  • http://www.jakobthomsen.com/ Jakob Thomsen

    I know it’s not the same, but you can actually find Foam’s issues (except for the oldest ones) at their Issuu profile and read them digitally.  Go here: http://issuu.com/foam-magazine.
    Thanks for the list. Every year I find a couple of good ones, I didn’t know.

  • Bryan Formhals

    In regards to what I read ‘offline’ or in the non-digital world, first I must say, the IRL-online dichotomy doesn’t exist for me. I consider the internet to be every bit as “real” as anything in print. For more, read about ‘digital dualism’ –> http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/02/24/digital-dualism-versus-augmented-reality/

    That doesn’t mean they have the same value in the marketplace. Photobooks are a good example. And naturally for many things, the physical object is preferred over the digital. 

    That said, I do receive Aperture, Dear Dave and PDN in print as I mentioned. I read the New Yorker in print every now and again. 

    For books, I have Aperture – The Minor White Years and Photography Changes Everything by my bed. it’ll take me all year to read them. 

    I don’t read fiction. I don’t like it. I might pick up the odd book about physics or something like that but for the most part, I don’t read books. I simply don’t have time. I’ve decided to dedicate my energy to creating stuff – LPV and my own photography books. 

    When I want to relax, I watch TV. I’m a true crime addict and will devour nearly anything I can about serial killers, disappearances and other heinous crimes. I also enjoy good drama’s, police procedurals, sitcoms like Archer, It’s Always Sunny, Louie, etc. I’ll watch anything I can about astronomy and physics, like The Universe and Through the Wormhole. 

    I try to watch some documentaries and the occasional film but I find it hard to get into either right now. I spent most of my 20s reading books and watching movies. When I discovered photography, there was a tradeoff to be made. 

    I also work a full time, 40 hour a week job. I have almost no social life.

  • maryanne gobble

     Great list, but I am also curious about your non digital reads.  I’m currently reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  Has some interesting ideas on the balance between solitude and collaboration, ect.

  • Luke

    Thank you so much for this!!! I can’t wait to go through it when I have some more time.  :)

  • http://www.hellodeer.com/ anise

    You are fascinating. Happy New Year. 

  • Blake

    Bryan, I am curious what you read in the non-digital world. Which books, magazines, etc. Is that coming in Part 2?