Photography magazine 8 re-launched a couple of months ago as a bi-annual. The magazine is one part of a triangle of activity – the other parts being a gallery and a website. Set up by Jon Levy in 1998, the project has grown successfully, but the magazine was proving tough commercially so the re-launch is an attempt to make sense of the publishing element of the project.
The new issue doubles the number of pages, giving it more of a presence, something the previous version perhaps lacked at 100pp. It carries the same type of content, a mix of photo-stories of the type rarely published elsewhere, the kind of serious reportage that sits at the opposite end of the scale from the many independent fashion titles now on the shelves. At the back is an expanded reviews section (and where, to declare a personal interest, the magazine publishes my column about magazines).
I really liked the previous design, a clean, modernist look created by a pair of designers from BB/Saunders. The new design is similarly crisp and clean but lacks the previous iteration’s sharpness. Everything is in the right place, nothing’s actually wrong, it’s just lost a bit of character.
But that is to perhaps miss the point; this is a photography showcase, and that side of the creative content remains as high as before, the extra pages allowing a better mix of stories, in this case including an overview of the work of Jim Goldberg, a look back at Maurice Broomfield’s work from the fifties and sixties, and a report from China about the advancing deserts by Benoit Aquin.
What the new magazine also does well is make the most of it’s new bi-annual positioning to focus on using more varied papers and add elements like this double gate-fold, above. As I’ve written before, this is exactly what the print side of such multi-channel projects need to be doing: make your printed publication as magazine-y as possible.