Magazines have always been a love of mine. In a way, they’re a reflection of our culture and I always find it interesting to see what people pick out at the magazine shop. It’s a sort of extension of our personality similarly to how people like to identify with music, film, and books. And I love that about magazines.
Why buy magazines in this day in age when the Internet has become so prevalent? I honestly don’t know, but personally it comes down to the fact that I get enjoyment out of reading a magazine that has had countless hours of hard work put into it. I suppose it’s a question for a psychologist to answer, but at the end of the day, it’s just like anything else in life that’s real and tangible. The same reason why millions of people go to see Mona Lisa in person as opposed to just viewing an image online. I’ve also noticed a big shift in magazines over the past few years, or perhaps I’ve just noticed a niche of magazines that I’d never been made aware of before, in which the attention to detail, style of writing, and general feel of the magazine is of such high quality, holding them feels significant. It’s of the opposite spectrum when compared to the magazines I used to read that were perhaps a lot more disposable due to the nature of the internet not being so prevelant back when I was a child.
I’ve recently been reading through a couple of magazines that are both outstanding in terms of content, styling, materials quality, and value; Standart and British Journal of Photography are two amazing magazines that take quality to the next level.
Standart – standing for the art of coffee
I particularly enjoyed the featured interview in Standart with anthropologist Dr Merry White in which they talk about drinking coffee in Japan. I’ve been fascinated and very interested in Japan for some time now and reading about their coffee culture was really pleasant. What stood out to me was that in Japan, the coffee master welcomes you and takes care of you from start to finish. There is no concept of tipping and giving green tea as a hospitality gesture along with the coffee menu is not unheard of. I find it absolutely interesting to read through this interview because it’s just making me want to travel to Japan even more!
I’m not one to read horoscopes, but I thought it was interesting that Standart featured them as part of their Rituals chapter in issue 5. It’s a fun section that breaks up the otherwise very serious nature of the magazine. My coffee future: “Beware of disturbance in your caffeine levels, there’s a new barista at your local shop and he hasn’t yet figure out that the grinder in the corner if the decaf and no the single-origin guest.” And my cosmic beverage? Quad-shot latte!
I was first made aware of Standart in a third-wave cafe in Munich, Germany. They had an issue for sale and I thought it would make for an excellent birthday present, so I had bought a copy for a friend. Little did I know, this magazine was far better than expected and even my local cafe now stocks the latest issue! I’ve yet to finish reading all of the previous issues, but as their content is not necessarily timely, they are an excellent read even months later.
British Journal of Photography – The Education Issue
I picked up the latest copy of British Journal of Photography when I was browsing through a magazine rack at a local news agent and noticed that the issue was named “The Educational Issue”. I absolutely love learning and couldn’t resist on buying it to have a browse through. I instantly fell in love when I read the introduction written by Simon Bainbridge, editor. There’s a quote by Imogen Cunningham that I found interesting; “I don’t think there’s any such thing as teaching people photography, other than influencing them a little. People have to be their own learners. They have to have a certain talent.” I find this rather interesting as it fits in with my believe of education completely. There are certain things that should be taught, but there are certain things that should just be learnt by doing and working around influencers who will guide your work to perfection. A big part of my purchase with all these magazines I buy is purely the chance to read through them and be influenced by them. The content in a lot of magazines and websites, movies, life, etc. around me influences me constantly and picking the right people and content to surround myself in is a huge part of learning in life through experience and influences. Someone I have recently been influenced by was Stephen Shore, whose work I have recently seen at the G/O gallery in Berlin.
Shore’s work is absolutely outstanding and iconic. The interview touches on his work but also his role in teaching and how it forces him “to engage in other parts of [his] mind”; he sees teaching as a truly selfish task.
Both magazines are printed to the highest of standards and I’m excited to finish reading through them!