On the run up to planning my assignment submission, I am looking at a variety of different magazines/ publications to see how photographs are used and how the layout impacts on me.
As a photographer, I can’t abide photographs with text over the top. It’s just a personal pet hate but I understand that it has its place and my opinion won’t be shared across the board. I am less concerned about it if photographs have been taken specifically for the purpose of a magazine spread where the photography answers a commercial brief rather then an artistic or journalistic contribution.
National Geographic is one journal that respects a photograph throughout and the publishers restrain themselves to the occasional caption discreetly placed in a corner of an image. Invariably though, they try and avoid placing text over an image. The only place where National Geographic seems to drop its guard is on the front page.
The British Journal of Photography gets it right in my opinion and my opinion is very much from a photographer point of view. The slick and considerate article avoids all text on photographs and overlapping of other images – even on the front cover. The photographs are placed so that a frame sits around them.
N Photo magazine (Nikon’s Photography magazine) breaks my heart just a little bit. A stunning front cover photograph is completely covered with text, inserts and overlaying of photographs featured elsewhere within the magazine. It’s designed to catch attention among a shelf of dozens of other photography magazine though. But, to my mind, I think ‘less is more’ and the busy front page only serves for it to sink into oblivion among other equally noisy front cover photography magazines. Within the magazine the images are treated with a little more respect but very few are without any text overlay.
Moving away from photography related magazines I considered ‘Land Rover Owner International’. As with ‘N Photo’ magazine, the front cover photograph is barely visible underneath large bold text. Again, within the magazine landscape images are ruined with inserted text and overlays.
Exmoor’s ‘Holiday and Short Break Guide 2009’ is actually a lovely brochure (perhaps why I still have it after all these years). Albeit there is text on top of a few of the photographs, there is an evident value to the photographs as a whole and this is of no surprise as they want readers to picture themselves there.
Looking through these magazines has been helpful in drawing conclusions about how I want to present my final assignment. I definitely prefer clinical sleekness and, thinking about it, that preference is already evident in my WordPress format.
British Journal of Photography.
Holiday and Short Breaks Guide 2009 – Exmoor.
Land Rover Owner International.