Amateur Photographer magazine

My favourite photography magazine was, and still remains (though now only infrequently read), Amateur Photographer, affectionately known by all its readers as 'AP'.
Here follows my tribute to a magazine that first saw the light of day on Friday 10th October 1884 and is still being published every week.
In the late 1950s, my mother purchased AP for me while I was still a teenager at school and I must have read (and re-read) almost all copies for at least a decade.
I always looked forward to Wednesday when the latest issue arrived at the newsagents.

Being more technical than a pictorialist, my favourite pages were the equipment tests, especially cameras and their lenses. I enjoyed seeing and comparing results from different manufacturers. AP's lens test procedure, from the mid-1950s until the early 1970s, was for them to take photographs across the Thames of the HQS Wellington, permanantly moored adjacent the north bank of the Thames, London, by the Victoria Embankment and Waterloo Bridge. Their repetitive use of a stationary test object, so that portions of 20x16 inch enlargements, from the centre and the edge of negatives, at different apertures, could be compared from one camera to another, was a 'real world' practical test that was elementary to understand. For an example, see 'The 1950s' below.

They checked for consistency of atmospheric clarity using a telescope to 'spot' specific details before starting their photographic routine.

Maybe after the camera tests my favourite pages were those by Victor Blackman (see right), the Daily Express photographer who wrote his weekly 2-page 'Photo Gossip', later (around mid-1963) called 'Cameravaria'. Very opinionated to the point of being exasperating, he strongly advocated using just one film and developer combination, which for 'Vic' were Kodak's Tri-X (400ASA) and D76. To his credit, he often mentioned the skill of his Fleet Street darkroom colleagues in producing quality prints from his negatives taken under all sorts of 'snatch' conditions.

Victor Blackman died on Friday 4th December 2009, aged 92.

The readers' letters pages and the readers' questions pages were also a 'must read'. And I drooled over the numerous advertisement pages showing equipment I couldn't possibly afford.

'Conversations at the Club' was another weekly inclusion, with the Old Gent, the Colonel, the Chemist, the Professional, the Fellow (FRPS) etc exchanging firmly held views on a wide variety of subjects, but in a good natured manner. The articles were illustrated with amusing cartoons that prompted me to read the text to find their relevance.

     

In January 2017, after the orginal version of this AP History had been uploaded to the internet, I received an e-mail from Joël Lacey, full of insight into Amateur Photographer's personalities during the last two decades of the 20th century and up to the present time.

Joël joined the Staff of AP on 12th September 1989 as Deputy Technical Editor, rising to become Technical Editor. He gave over this role to Damien Demolder in year 2000 but continued to write articles for AP until 2006. Joël is currently (Jan 2017) editor of "Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine".

I have inserted relevant text by Joël into my paragraphs below, with each starting Joel Lacey comments "......



Introduction
The early part of this history is drawn from a 50th year 'Jubilee Number' of "The Amateur Photographer & Cinematographer" (to give it its full title ~ note 'The' before 'Amateur Photographer', later dropped), published on June 20th 1934, see right. Priced at 6d (6 old pennies = 2.5p) but only this one edition which had at least twice the number of pages (100) compared to other editions. Other editions were priced at 3d (just over 1p).

This issue was published on a Wednesday, a tradition which persisted for many years, though currently the magazines are dated to appear on a Saturday. Although the cover was in colour, all the internal pages were in black & white. It was not unusual for colour to be used on the cover (maybe just a single colour high-light), even back in the 1920s (see cover, left, below), but this would have been manually applied during the publishing process and not from any genuine colour photography process.

Further examples of early covers are shown below the Jubilee Number banner. These are both priced at 3d (just over 1p). The special 'Open Air Number' had 50 pages.

The physical size of the magazine at this time was around 21.2cm wide and 27.3cm long.

 
     

     

The above cover is believed to be the cover of the bound set of 1884 editions, while further below can be seen the blue cover of the first issue (see The Amateur Photographer; 1884 ~ 1907) The above two issues are owned by Martin Reed. The left hand one is dated 11th July 1888 and is a Special Number 'Photographic Holiday Work'. Martin says "It's got a shot of the Forth rail bridge being built, as well as the usual Clovelley cottages & portraits of fishermen & yokels". It's priced at 1shilling (5p) so an expensive purchase in 1888, but photography was a hobby for the wealthy at that time. "It has 32 interior pages, plus the 4sides of the covers, plus an extra page in the front, being the picture that won a 1st prize. It's by no less than Alfred Stieglitz of Berlin!"
The right hand issue is a normal 3pence (1p) weekly issue from Wednesday 10th September 1924.


The earliest copy that I own, Wednesday February 23rd, 1927
In AP for 12th February 1969 is a brief description of how such a cover was printed: "Two half-tone blocks were prepared from the original photograph, one of these yielding the usual print in black ink. The second block was used for printing over the black print with a suitable coloured ink. Parts of this second block were more or less etched away so as to leave the black image more visible, and some very attractive examples of this style were published".


A Special 'Open Air Number', dated Wednesday May 16th, 1934.
   

The Amateur Photographer; 1884 ~ 1907

In June, 1884, photography, already well established among professionals, was becoming an increasingly popular hobby, but its practice, with the apparatus and processes of that period, would be very difficult to visualise or understand by the modern amateur. The need for a special paper dealing with the subject from the amateur's side became quite definite at that time, and an enthusiastic photographer and journalist J.Harris Stone, M.A. evolved the idea of 'The Amateur Photographer'.

A few months later (in October 1884), in association with Charles W. Hastings, who was engaged in the publication of other periodicals, the first edition of "The A.P." was produced.
Harris Stone continued as editor until the end of 1887 when Charles Hastings took over the role.

The first issues were printed by John Smith & Co., of 52, Long Acre, and were edited and published from 22, Buckingham Street, Strand, London. Mr. Hastings becoming the manager of the publication. The firm of John Smith & Co. within a year or so of that date was taken over by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ltd., who remained the printers and proprietors of the magazine until June 1918.

The first issue of "The A.P." appeared in a blue paper wrapper, and this was the colour of the cover until 1918. The early numbers contained an average of eight pages of editorial matter and eight pages of advertisements, and the price was twopence. There were no illustrations, but a pictorial inset appeared in December 1884.

Illustrations and insets increased in number in the subsequent volumes as reproduction processes improved and the success of the paper became established. The first editorial clearly outlined the policy of the paper and this has been continued practically unchanged.

  • This Journal is started to represent the amateur photographers of Great Britain, India and the Colonies and, above all things, popularity will be its leading feature.
  • We cordially invite the cooperation of amateur photographers of either sex. We open our pages to correspondence.
  • We lend our columns to the support of the amateur societies.
  • We shall make a point of personally investigating the various pieces of apparatus brought out from time to time by the makers, and impartially reporting upon the same.
  • At an early date we shall offer money prizes for the best photographs taken by amateurs.
  • Our columns for the exchange and sale of photographic apparatus, etc., will meet a want which has long been felt.

The first 'home' of "The A.P." was at 22, Buckingham Street, Strand, London. See illustration far right.

From the very first issue, "The A.P." took the lead in all matters relating to the welfare of the amateur, and the success which greeted its appearance was a sure indication of the need for such a publication.
Not only were the processes and apparatus suitable for the amateur described, but practical advice on their use and on the many matters on which the amateur needed assistance, was freely given. This has been continued until the present day.

In the first volume of "The A.P." will be found heated discussions on "Is Photography an Art?" and "Is Faking Permissible?"

The first camera review, in issue No.1, dealt with "Marion's Miniature Camera", a tiny but complicated instrument made of metal and taking photographic plates (in dark slides) measuring 1¼ ins square!
(See summary of test, lower right. Marion Co.Ltd, who also made photographic plates at this time, became part of Ilford, Ltd in the 1920s. Marion & Foulgar, who made cameras, amalgamated with Kershaw-Soho Ltd by 1929, becoming Soho Ltd. They eventually became part of the J.Arthur Rank Organisation).

In 1888 J. Harris Stone gave up the editorship of The A.P. and Charles W. Hastings then became editor (see his picture, above right). During the same year the first Kodak camera was reviewed. Also, "The Dictionary of Photography" by E. J. Wall (see below, right), was being serialised in the magazine's columns.

Several Special Numbers of "The A.P." devoted to single subjects made their appearance, and numerous prize competitions were announced.

T. C. Hepworth joined C. W. Hastings as joint editor in 1889, and the offices were moved to 1, Creed Lane, Ludgate Hill, in the shadow of St.Paul's.

George Eastman's (Kodak) celluloid roll film appeared in 1889 and was fully reviewed. Some far-seeing comments on its future were made by various writers in the paper.

George Davison, a noted English photographer, proponent of impressionistic photography, co-founder of the Linked Ring Brotherhood of British artists and a managing director of Kodak UK. was the winner of the First Prize in an "A.P." competition.

MARION'S MINIATURE CAMERA.
We have carefully examined one of these excellent little inventions, and for the purpose of taking small pictures with a rapid exposure, it cannot be surpassed.
The camera is made entirely of metal and is fitted with a finder and instantaneous shutter, and should stand any amount of rough usage. The whole apparatus, incl. 12 plates, can easily be carried in the pocket, and all photographers know how many chances of pictures are always turning up, especially when without a camera. Messrs. Marion are to be congratulated on bringing out so perfect a little instrument, and at so moderate in price. The dark slides are strongly made of metal.

 

During the next few years The Amateur Photographer became the indispensable paper for amateurs in all parts of the world, and with a steadily growing circulation it was a great period for photographic invention and development.

In 1892 C. W. Hastings sold his interest in "The A.P." to Hazell, Watson & Viney (who had controlling ownership of The A.P. from the mid-1880s), and E. J. Wall was appointed editor. In the same year a monthly supplement was started, entitled "Our Lantern Screen", dealing with lantern and cinematograph matters. During Wall's editorship a translation of Eders' monumental work on Emulsion Photography ran as a serial in the paper.

E.J. Wall specialised in answers to enquiries, and as such formed a tower of strength for the magazine. All difficulties were referred to him. It used to be said that "the weakest went to the Wall".

In 1895 A. Horsley Hinton became editor of The Amateur Photographer, and the pictorial side of photography received a great impetus. Hitherto the scientific and technical aspects of photography were the chief consideration.

Under Hinton's editorship the possibilities of the camera for picture making became the dominant note. Plates, films and lenses had been improving year by year, and placing greater power in the hands of the amateur, and the illustrations in the paper became an outstanding feature.

The cinematograph was also becoming a definite and more easily contrived apparatus within the scope of the amateur.

New films and new developers were regularly appearing, and the (relatively small) hand camera had assumed such importance as to warrant the production of a Special Hand Camera Number of "The A.P." in 1896. Fifty examples were illustrated and described, though with just two exceptions, none were less than quarter-plate (3¼x4¼ ins) negative size !

In 1901 the editorial offices were moved by Messrs. Hazell, Watson & Viney from Creed Lane to their head offices at 52, Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, where it remained the home of the magazine for seventeen years, until the close of World War 1.

The introduction of non-curling roll films and film packs in 1903 added still further to the simplification of photography for the amateur.

The photographic societies were also showing a greater appreciation of pictorial work by amateurs, definitely due to the impetus of "The A.P." and many fine exhibitions were held in all parts of the country.

In 1907 the autochrome plate was introduced, and R. Child Bayley made and showed the first examples in this country.

The bromoil process was also invented. It was given its name by F.J. Mortimer (see far right), who held the first exhibition of bromoil work (at the Royal Photographic Society) in that year.


editor from 1923

The A.P. & P.N; 1908 ~ 1918

Horsley Hinton died in February, 1908, and 'The Amateur Photographer' combined with 'The Photographic News' (The P.N.) in May of that year.
F.J. Mortimer, the Editor of The P.N. was appointed Editor of the combined papers. In the interim The A.P. had been edited by A. H. Blake, one of the oldest and most regular contributors. F.J.Mortimer maintained the pictorial traditions of Horsley Hinton.

A new phase of activity now started, and "The A.P. & P.N." increased in size with still more illustrations to the text and as supplementary art pages. "The A.P." Little Gallery at the offices of the paper in Long Acre was opened with a "Salon des Refuses"- the pictures that had been rejected at the Photographic Salon, largely as a result of what was termed "the American invasion". This led to the breaking of the Linked Ring, up to then responsible for the Salon, and the founding of the London Salon of Photography, in which the Editor of "The A.P." took a prominent part.

A Federation supplement devoted to the work of the photographic Federations and Unions was started and a new "A.P." plaque was introduced as an award in the competitions. This was from a model by Michael Biro, an Italian sculptor, and was the prize-winning design in a competition instituted for the purpose by "The Studio."

The first 'Empire Number' of "The A.P." appeared in 1908 and definitely extended the influence of the paper overseas. A special competition was arranged for Colonial and Overseas readers.

In 1911 the proprietors of "The A.P." acquired "Photograms of the Year" on the death of its founder, H. Snowden Ward. A new series in an enlarged format was started in 1912, with F.J. Mortimer as Editor.

Cine cameras and projectors for amateurs made their appearance about this time and "The A.P." started a regular weekly feature, "Cinema Notes," to deal with this new development. This continued for many decades.

In 1913 The Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom was held at Bangor, with the Editor of "The A.P." as President.

From 1914 to 1918 the various World War 1 applications of photography were dealt with in the pages of "The A.P.", notably aerial photography. One thousand shillings (1,000s = £50) were raised in 1914 by the sale at a shilling each of a picture by the Editor, entitled "The Empire's Watchdogs". The money raised went to the Prince of Wales' Relief Fund.

In 1917, the price of "The A.P." was raised from 2d to 3d (old pennies = 1.25p).

The A.P. & P; 1918 ~ 1926
In June, 1918, 'The Amateur Photographer' was acquired by Messrs. Iliffe & Sons, the long term proprieters, who amalgamated it with their publication 'Photography and Focus' and the combined papers, with the title of 'The Amateur Photographer and Photography' (The A.P. & P) appeared under the editorship of R. Child Bayley, with F. J. Mortimer as Art Editor. The offices of the paper were removed to 20, Tudor Street, E.C. With the new combination, the previous blue paper cover ceased and the red stripe of Photography and Focus was introduced in the title (see left; issue priced 3d, Wed.25th Sept.1918; a slim 28 sides (14 pages) including the cover, sized 20.9 x 27.1cm; owned by Gavin Ritchie).

In 1919 the inventor of the Carbro process, H. F. Farmer first described his new method of making carbon prints from bromides. In that year also the prize prints from "The A.P." Competitions were first shown at the Royal Photographic Society (R.P.S).

Desensitising panchromatic plates was first described in 1920 and also a collection of £100 was made by subscriptions from readers for the Fox Talbot Memorial Fund. Owing to a paper shortage, the price of "The A.P." was temporarily raised to 4d, but reverted to 3d in 1923.

In 1923 W.L.F. Wastell, the contributor of "Piffle," the humorous weekly page signed by "The Walrus" between January 17th 1903 and January 18th 1928, became sub-editor. The Walrus contributed a humorous commentary on the events of the day running to thirteen hundred pages without a gap of a single week. In 1925 R. Child Bayley retired from the editorship, but continued with the paper as Consulting Editor.

Other names associated with the magazine during these formative years were Thomas Bolas and Ward Muir. Bolas was a remarkable man, gifted in many obscure and little suspected ways. Under the head of "Acta Eruditorum', generally referred to as "Acta", he kept readers posted in the advances in science which bore on photography, week by week through many years. Ward Muir used the nom de plume "The Bandit" for his weekly "Critical Causerie". Although ostensibly limited to the work of beginners, it was found interesting to all who had pictorial leanings. Fresh, piquant and original, he maintained a standard such as no other writer challenged. Unfortunately he was handicapped by ill health, though only those who worked with him knew of the difficulties under which his delightful sketches were produced. Death alone brought to a close his connection with the magazine.

During 1925 the number of snapshot amateur photographers and the D & P (commercial developing and printing) system had grown to a great extent and The A.P., to keep in touch with these thousands of new camera users, announced a popular weekly "Snapshot" competition in addition to the competitions which were regular monthly features. The new competition was for snapshots made by readers but commercially developed and printed. It proved an enormous success.

In 1926 a free insurance scheme for insuring readers' cameras and other apparatus against loss and damage was inaugurated, and travelling exhibitions of the originals of the pictures in Photograms of the Year were started.

 
Sub-Editor from1923 to 1929
but submitted weekly articles for several further years
     


Editor 1918 - 1925
(became Consulting Editor)


The A.P. & C; 1927 ~ 1933

The steady development of the amateur cine movement recorded week by week necessitated more space being devoted to it. Extra pages appeared specially dealing with the subject in 1927, and the title was altered to 'The Amateur Photographer and Cinematographer'.

Another amateur photography magazine, 'The New Photographer', was amalgamated with The A.P. & C in 1928.

W.L.F Wastell retired from the staff of A.P in 1929 but continued to supply weekly articles for a number of years. The editorship then reduced to F.J.Mortimer with R.Child Bayley still as Consulting Editor.

R.Child Bayley seemingly retired prior to November 1935, as by 27th November 1935 the Editor was just F.J.Mortimer

By the 1930s, photography had become a world-wide hobby with millions of followers; apparatus and materials had become so perfected that successful results were attainable by every beginner.

At Easter 1933, the palatial buildings of Dorset House, Stamford Street, London, S.E.1, which had been in the course of construction for several years, were completed and became the home of the editorial offices of all the Iliffe publications, and so became the address of 'The Amateur Photographer and Cinematographer'.

     

The mid-1930s and Into the 1940s

One long term contributor who had a regular 'slot' in the magazine from (at least) 1935, was 'Ricardo' who did "Picture Points", a textual and sketched critique of beginners photographs submitted by readers. He continued almost weekly until early 1964.

My AP collection has a gap until Wednesday August 18th 1943 (see its cover, right) so the following is not a smooth progression from the above.

By 1943, 'The A.P.' had acquired a new cover design but retained the previous font. Its title banner appeared in various colours (red, orange, green, light blue), perhaps used in chronological rotation (?). There was no longer mention of the Cinematographer or The New Photographer in the title, though the magazine continued to cater for cinematography interests.

Its page size had reduced (not the thickness) compared to the 1920s and 1930s issues, being now some 18.3cm by 24.8cm (earlier editions were all 21.2cm by 27.3cm).

The editor, F.J.Mortimer (since 1923) had by then been joined by A.L.M.Sowerby as Technical Editor.

The magazine was still at Dorset House, Stamford Street, but the price had risen to 6d (2.5p).

Another contributor who continued in place for a number of years (from 1941) was Lancelot Vining, who contributed a column called "Miniature Camera Gossip". Lancelot Vining was the author of a well respected book "My Way with the Miniature" (referring to 35mm photography which emerged from the Leitz and Zeiss stables in the late 1920s and early 1930s respectively, via the sophisticated Leica and Contax cameras). In the picture below, he is holding a Zeiss Contax.
He continued to contribute his weekly 'Gossip' until 1961 (maybe late spring, when he would have been 81 years old).

Lancelot Vining had formerly been a Daily Mirror newspaper photographer and after he retired from writing his AP column his place was taken by Victor Blackman, a Daily Express photographer, so a somewhat natural successor. Victor's picture is near the top right of this page and also together with Lancelot lower down this page.


ALM Sowerby (Arthur Lindsay McRae Sowerby; 1899-1976) was AP Technical Editor from 1943. He was Editor by 1945 and continued in-post until the end of 1963. After leaving AP he became Technical Consultant to R.G.Lewis, photographic retailers with three London Branches, plus 5 elsewhere. He 'fronted' their 'free' lens testing service; purchasers received a performance certificate of >64lpm centre field, full aperture.
This Photo' 29th April 1964.

From 1945 (September 5th issue), the cover design has changed once again. It remains similar, but uses a smaller font and 'The' before Amateur Photographer is now in small capitals, much less prominent. Clearly a precursor to it being dropped altogether (by the start of 1946).

A.L.M.Sowerby was the Editor, assisted by R.H.Mason (Reg Mason) as the Consulting Art Editor. The magazine was still at Dorset House and still priced 6d.

By January 1946, the magazine was just named Amateur Photographer (the use of a prefix 'The' had lapsed permanently). But it still had the sub-banner proclaiming "The Journal for Everybody with a Camera".

By August 1949, another new cover design had appeared. The title banner was in sky blue colour and this colour was used every week.

During the post-war 1940s, paper rationing impacted on the number of pages within AP, but by late 1949 the magazine was becoming noticeably thicker. The December 1949 issue, perhaps with more adverts than normal because of impending Christmas, consisted of 42 sides (21 pages) of advertisements, split equally either side of 18 sides (9 pages) of editorial, so 60 sides (30 pages) in total.


Cover design 5th September, 1945


Cover design 2nd January, 1946


Cover design 31st August, 1949
     

The 1950s

By April (or earlier) 1952, the price had risen to 'one shilling' (= 12 old pennies = 5p), but AP was still growing thicker. The April 1952 edition had 32 pages of adverts before 26 pages of editorial before another 20 pages of adverts, so 78 pages (sides) in total.

By mid-1952 an Assistant Editor had joined the editorial staff (of Sowerby & Mason), named H.Holmes.

By 1953 a new name was appearing amongst the contributors of articles on technical matters. This was George L Wakefield, whose name appeared regularly for many years thereafter. The photograph here is taken from an AP in 1968.

By March 1954 the typical number of pages had grown again, now to 104 (sides). This consisted of 44 pages of adverts, then 32 pages of editorial followed by a further 28 pages of adverts.

Sometime during 1954, between March and December, a new cover design appeared (see right) and the magazine had grown in page area from the previous, around 18.3cm by 24.8cm, to around 21cm by 26.8cm, this being similar to the size during (at least) the 1920s and 1930s. Despite this larger size, the price remained at one shilling (5p).

By the end of 1954, the Assistant Editor's name of H.Holmes (who joined during 1952) is no longer listed with the editorial staff, and has reverted to being just A.L.M.Sowerby as the Editor, assisted by R.H.Mason.

The Christmas edition published on 8th December 1954 contained 148 pages (sides), split 68 as adverts, 40 editorial and then a further 40 adverts. But even the previous week's (normal) edition contained 112 pages (sides), 48 pages of adverts, 32 pages of edictorial and 32 pages of adverts.


Cover design 8th December, 1954
     

A dispute within the Printing Trade began towards the end of January 1956 and continued for around 1 month, to late February. There was a ban on overtime and a 'work-to-rule' by the typographical unions, around the subject of minimum rates of pay. This caused difficulties for AP in that several issues were considerably reduced in number of pages. Their 1st, 8th and 15th February editions carried the note on the News and Reviews page that "Owing to the dispute in the Printing Trade this issue has had to be reduced in size and copies may be late reaching readers. To all who are inconvenienced in any way, we offer our sincere regrets in circumstances beyond our control". The 22nd February issue contained the following on the first editorial page: "Readers will be aware of the continuance of the dispute in the Printing Trade. In consequence, this issue has had to be reduced in size. To all readers and to advertisers we offer our sincere regrets in circumstances beyond our control". That issue contained just 8 pages (sides) of adverts, followed by 24 sides of editorial, so only 32 pages (sides) in total. The price remained at one shilling (= 5p).

During the autumn of 1956, between the start of November and before 12th December, the magazine price had risen to 1 shilling and 3 (old) pence (just over 6p).

Below is shown an example of the AP camera lens testing procedure, using the HQS Wellington photographed across the Thames from the south embankment near Waterloo Bridge. The procedure was first used to test the Adox Sport Model II '8 on 120' folding roll film camera, supplied by Wallace Heaton Ltd, 127 New Bond Street, London, W.1. The test appeared in 7th April 1954 edition. Prior to that time, lens tests were carried out using a lens testing chart with results cited as the lens resolving power in lines per mm (lpm). Full camera tests were infrequent post-WW2 until the mid-1950s. Thereafter, they gradually became relatively commonplace.

Joel Lacey comments "The late, great Stewart Bell (AP's Technical Consultant from 1991 but had been writing technical articles previously; see his picture in the 1990s chronology below) always used to laugh at the use of a boat as a lens testing subject. He contested that not only did London’s variable atmospheric pollution make it impossible to repeat the experiment from one day to the next, but depending on what the tides were doing, subject movement became an issue with slow films or long lenses with limited maximum apertures, as the boat would rise or fall with the river – imperceptibly in real time to the naked eye, perhaps, but with devastating effect on film for a definition result".


Adox Sport Model 11; price £14.19s (£14.95p)
Folding camera producing 8cm x 6cm negatives, 8 on 120 roll film.

Tested in AP 7th April 1954
First test using HQS Wellington
     

Six further changes occured prior to the end of the 1950s, but throughout the price remained at 1 shilling and 3 pence (15 old pennies = 6p).

  • By October 1957, new names appeared in the editorial list alongside A.L.M.Sowerby as Editor and R.H.Mason as Consulting Art Editor. There was the addition of the names Hugh Burton as Production Editor and Norman Dyer with Charles Johnson, both as Assistant Editors. But by January 1958, yet another name appeared, this time someone who was to have a long term association with AP, being Neville Maude, listed as 'Queries Editor'. The same list of names can be seen in the September 1959 issue, see right.
  • Between the end of January 1958 and June 1958, the magazine's appearance changed from being a collection of folded pages inside a folded cover, all stapled together along the folded spine. Instead, the magazine took on the appearance of a soft-backed 'book', with the spine being a flat surface, maybe 5mm wide. The internal pages were glued and stapled together, but with the staples now along the vertical left hand edge of the page, rather than into the spine. The cover page was then glue attached to the internal pages, making a very neat appearance and showing no staples from the outside of the cover. This was presumably done because of the ever-increasing number of pages that had to be accommodated each week. Comparing the spine stapled January edition with the edge glued June edition, the number of internal pages had increased from 52 pages (104 sides) to 60 pages (120 sides).
  • There were an increasing number of Special Issues, and it may be that the additional pages foreseen in these issues was the reason why AP was obliged to change its page & cover binding arrangements (as described above). The 11th June 1958 edition was a Colour number, the 10th September issue contained an 'Enlargers and Projectors Guide' and the 8th October contained a 'Lighting and Flash Guide'. Another Special Issue, that started appearing annually, was a comprehensive 'Camera Guide' to all models available in the UK. And of course there had been special Christmas numbers for many years. Special Issues had their front page title banner (Amateur Photographer) in various colours, while blue remained the otherwise standard colour.
  • The Colour Number of 11th June 1958 (cover picture see below) introduced, perhaps for the first time, a full page 'true' colour cover, back & front, and also 12 sides of full true colour images in the centre of the magazine (hence 16 pages in high quality colour). Colour had become an ever increasingly aired topic with technical comment and articles for several years. Agfacolor negative film had become available in the UK in 1951 and Kodacolor in 1957 (though only generally available to the amateur public in Spring 1958). The Colour Number contained a total of 70 pages (140 sides) plus its colour cover.
  • During 1959, the magazine's content acquired an Index on the opening editorial page. It was headed "In This Issue". Sometimes it took the form of a plain vertical box along (mostly) the left hand side of the page (e.g. as can be seen, right), but sometimes appeared across the bottom of the page, see below. The idea to include such an Index did not continue for more than a couple of years (started again in 1968).
  • Occasional colour pages, inside 'ordinary' issues, were not uncommon by the end of the 1950s during the summer months.


Index to Issue of 2nd September 1959


Index to Issue of 23rd December 1959


Front Cover, 11th June 1958 Colour Number


One of 12 inside colour pages (4 of them being adverts)


Rear Cover, 11th June 1958
     


Lighting and Flash Guide (12 sides) 8th October 1958


Lighting and Flash Guide (12 sides) 7th October 1959


An 'Ordinary' Issue 23rd December 1959
     

The (Swinging) 1960s

The 1960s saw AP reverting to using various colours for the front cover title banner, and not just keeping to blue for non-special issues.

The Christmas Presents Number of 7th December 1960, seems to have been the thickest thus far, having 98 sides (49 pages) of adverts, followed by 50 sides (25 pages) of editorial and then a further 48 sides (24 pages) of adverts. See its front cover to the right. Still priced at 1s and 3d (6p). The list of editors remained the same and the contributors still included Lancelot Vining, 'Ricardo' and George Wakefield.

In January 1961, a new name and position appears on the editorial page, this was Arthur B. Bourne, Managing Director.

Sometime between the 5th April 1961 issue and the one for 7th June, the long term contributor (Willoughby) Lancelot Vining (F.R.P.S., F.I.B.P.), produced his final 'Miniature Camera Gossip'. Since Lancelot was born on 10th April 1880, he may have purposely decided to 'hang up his camera bag' on or around his 81st birthday, suffering from "an over-worked heart". Lancelot began his photographic career in 1894 as a boy working in an agency and using a half-plate camera. He ended up a top camerman on the Daily Mirror newspaper.

His place at AP was taken by a 45 year old Victor (Vic) Blackman, who referred to reading Lancelot Vining's column when it first appeared "in the mid-thirties", when Vic was just a schoolboy. When Vic first started writing his 'Photo Gossip' (later Cameravaria) it was just one page, but it quickly became a popular double page spread.

Vic visited Lancelot at home a year or so after Lancelot retired from writing for AP and reported on that visit in his Photo Gossip column in the 28th November 1962 issue. A photograph of the two of them together is shown below.

In 1962, the price of AP rose to 1s and 6d (18 old pennies = 7.5p).


Christmas Presents Number 7th December 1960


200 pages (sides), incl 28 pages of Camera Guide; 12th July 1961

A long standing component of the magazine was "Conversations at the Club - the Club Sec Reports".

It first appeared in 1950 and ran until the end of 1961. We were never told who wrote these pages (1½ sides originally but 2 sides by 1952). By 1954 the text became illustrated by amusing cartoons, see alongside here.

By early 1962 the name of Charles Johnson had disappeared from the editorial list as one of the Assistant Editors (previously alongside Norman Dyer).

Neville Maude's name was appearing more frequently, including being credited with the Camera Tests. In the 7th March 1962 issue, he reported on tests of the Rolleiflex Wide Angle camera. The same issue contained a 16 page (sides) Guide to Rangefinders, Exposure Meters, Tripods and Filters and was entitled the Outdoor Number.

Neville Maude, previously Queries Editor, became the Technical Editor during mid-1962.

By 16th May 1962, the Managing Director was Alan Wood, replacing Arthur B. Bourne.
By 25th July, the Production Editor was no longer Hugh Burton but Gordon Malthouse.


During early 1963 (certainly by 6th March) Alec Fry joined the AP team, leading the Enquiry Service. But he stayed for only 12months, as his name was no longer mentioned by April 1964. During his tenure, the 'readers ask' page was co-authored by Neville Maude and Alec Fry.

To the right is shown the editorial list of names as at 6th March 1963.

 

Further editorial changes took place towards the end of 1963.

R (Reg) Mason became the named Editor by September, with A.L.M. Sowerby becoming Editor-in-Chief.

By 4th December 1963, the long serving A.L.M. Sowerby (on the staff for 20 years) must have retired, because his name is no longer on the editorial staff list. Reg Mason's name was then prominent as Editor, see his photo', right, in mid-1964.

He reported, in the 29th April 1964 edition, that AP's circulation had been rising steadily for many years and the latest figure (certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation) was 91,442 copies sold weekly, an increase of 6,244 copies (over 7%) compared to 1963. This circulation 'translated' into 5million copies per year and 15million per year readership.

The name Alec Fry was missing from the editorial list by April 1964. His place as 'Queries Editor' was taken by Derek Keeling by June 1964. Derek was formerly a photography lecturer at the S.E. Essex Technical College and subsequently an employee of Kodak Ltd, responsible for answering their customers' queries. See his photo' far right, 1964.

Derek Keeling, 1964

Ricardo was still (albeit only occasionally) doing his critique of reader's photographs and illustrating his comments with the original picture plus sketches of the original, showing how he believed the original might have been improved if only the photographer had done this or that. He must have been the longest serving contributor after Lancelot Vining retired - a full 30 years.

Ricardo's pages continued to appear until (at least) the end of 1965, but certainly not weekly. After such a long time producing this contribution, which must have taken significant time to prepare, considering the thought and sketches that he used in his critique, he was probably ready for a break (assuming the same man had used the name 'Ricardo' for the full 30 years ?).

Photography had changed over the 30 years that Ricardo had been writing. The desire (indeed, the strict necessity for exhibition work) for adherence to pictorial compositional arrangements (such photographers were called pictorialists) had largely passed away, though the basic rules of good composition are timeless and will always remain, whatever the medium.

Photography had become much more a medium to spontaneously capture the moment, rather than one to be applied to duplicating the static excellence of 'old master' artists. The static approach had come from the early days of photography, when setting up a large plate camera on a tripod would have been much like setting up an artist's easel. Also, the long exposures and few photographic plates (exposures) available during an expedition, required the photographer to consider everything in the picture before releasing the shutter. He had time to do this as he was unlikely to be tackling rapid movement.

To the right is a print Ricardo received from a 13 year old boy (surprisingly with access to a Leica 111G camera) which Ricardo complimented, and then commented on as follows, in the 15th August 1962 issue:
"It is a matter of opinion whether she (the sitter) would suit the design better by looking into the distance, say at the stone A (as in the left hand of the two small sketches). I would prefer them (the boulders in the background) toned down slightly,...as they come forward too quickly and the left one is linked too positively to the woman's head. The next sktch (right hand lower) also shows how the woman's right arm could usefully break the severe foreground line and her left hand then be brought more over the knees. A viewpoint more to the right would have separated her from the boulders".

A new name appeared on the editorial staff list by 24th March 1965. This was Constance Dack, Competitions Manager.
Below are some striking covers from the mid-1960's.



An example from one of Ricardo's last pages
   


3rd June 1964, Colour Number


9th September 1964, Enlarger & Projector Guide


16th May 1966, Colour Number
     

1967 was a year that saw a significant change to the 'look' of Amateur Photographer. From 11th January, the cover design changed as shown, see left and right.

The small cover picture, left, is just a copy of the cover included on the 'Readers Write' page of the prior edition, 4th January 1967. AP wanted to be sure readers recognised AP on the newstand bookstall the following week "From next week AP appears in a new cover. This (as left) is the attractive design of the first of the new picture formats you'll find awaiting you on the bookstalls."

The new lower case 'ap' is used in various headings throughout the issue.

The price remained at 1shilling and 6pence (18 old pennies = 7½p), as from 1962, despite inflation. The magazine seems to have made use of lower quality paper, maybe for cost saving to avoid a price increase. Some 'normal' editions also seem thinner, though maybe in part due to the change in paper quality rather than a reduction in pages. The issue shown to the right, dated 12th April 1967, had 'only' 57 pages (114 sides), but the Camera Guide issue, 7th June, had a full colour cover, 96 pages in all (192 sides) with 6 sides in full colour and 25 sides of camera guide. See cover below, left.

At least three other 1967 issues had full colour covers, being 26th April 'Beginners Guide to Colour', the 6th September 'Enlarger and Projector Guide' and the 1st November 'Lighting and Flash Guide'.

     


New cover design. 7th June 1967 and Camera Guide


New cover design. 21st February 1968

 
First inside page, 30th October 1968
     

In 1968, Amateur Photographer reverted to more of a 'conventional' cover design, different from the covers in 1967 but also different from the pre-1967 covers. For an example, see the centre picture above, of a cover in February 1968. But this cover change was only one of several noteable features.

  • Comparing the centre cover (above) to the one to its left, it can be seen that the physical page area had increased from the previous (around 21cm by 26.8cm) to around 22cm by 29.7cm.
  • The price increased to 2 shillings (10p).
  • The first inside page, opposite the cover page, was a page devoted to all the editorial and publishing information, plus a full contents listing. See the inside first page for the 21st February edition, above right.
  • The overall inside page arrangement had changed, with the editorial pages now being mixed into the advertisement pages, rather than, as in all previous issues, the editorial section being separate from the advertisements and placed near the middle of the magazine.
  • The editorial pages had previously been separately numbered from the advertisement pages. Now the page numbering became consecutive throughout the issue. The 21st February 1968 issue had 98 sides (49 pages) plus the cover. Several had more pages. The June 'Colour Number' had 156 sides (78 pages) plus the cover.
  • All covers were in full colour, not just special numbers.
  • There was an increase in the Special Numbers issues. The 21st February had a Guide to 'Making a Night Exposure', 6th March had a 'Full Catalogue of Outdoor Equipment', 24th April had a 'Beginners Guide to Outdoor Photography', 26th June was the 'Colour Number' and the 4th November had a 'Lighting and Flash Guide'. There would have been others, including the annual Camera Guide and no doubt a Christmas Present Number. So it seems there was likely a Special Number almost every month.
  • Editorial changes from the beginning of 1968 were that Derek Keeling became an Assistant Editor alongside Norman Dyer; a Features Editor joined, named George Hughes, an Art Editor joined, named John Aves, a Production Editor joined, named Roy Green and an Advertisement Editor joined, named Ray Arnold. Then, by 26th June, there was only one Assistant Editor, being Derek Keeling and by 30th October there were no Assistant Editors. The 30th October 1968 editorial staff looked as in the listing to the right.

On a general note, News of the Week, in the 6th March issue, reported that support for Retail Price Maintenance (RPM) by the photographic trade's Manufacturer's and Importers Association, had been effectively withdrawn, leading to speculation that RPM would shortly cease (as indeed, shortly thereafter, it did).

1969 saw the appointment of a new Assistant Editor, namely Rex Hayman, though later in the year he was given the title of Queries Editor. By 31st December the editorial names list was as shown right (lower list). The cover of the last issue from the 1960s can be seen below, featuring actress Gina Lollobrigida.


Editorial names at 30th October 1968


Editorial names at 31st December 1969


The magazine was venturing into hi-fi audio with an occasional Audio Section.
Below right are the faces of some of AP's editorial staff, as shown in the headings of their contributions in 1969 and 1970.

By late 1969, a significant number of pages were being given over to cine cameras and film making. This was not a new addiiton, as the topic had been included since 1927 (see above). Sections were entitled “The Cine Scene” and “Sound and Pictures”. Strangely, there was an article in the 12th December 1969 ediiton dealing with 9.5mm film, a film format where the sprocket holes were posiitoned down the middle of the film between each frame. This is surprising as the use of 9.5mm must have been a rarity by that time. Enthusiastic amateurs would have changed over from their previous "Standard 8" to "Super 8” film format. “Super 8” was a version of 8mm film with a larger picture area and improved user convenience. It was introduced by Kodak in 1965.


Front cover. 31st December 1969

The 1970s
My collection of APs, from this point forward, is much less complete, so the number of issues available to me to judge when events happened, is less inadequate.

Continuing its encompassing of the hi-fi trend, the 21st January edition had not only 'The ABC of Flash' on the front cover, to appeal to photographers, but also it proclaimed 'Audio section', in an attempt to attract readers who had interests in both hobbies. This issue, apart from other audi topics, contained a test (by Derek Gordon) of a Rotel stereo amplifier and separate Rotel stereo tuner.

The reason, or excuse, for incorporating audio into what had previously been a photography magazine, was claimed to be those photographers who wished to add sound to their cine film or slide shows

A notable change to the editorial staff occurs between the 4th February 1970 and the 25th November 1970, when the long serving (since January 1958) Technical Editor, Neville Maude, left the staff list. One of his last camera tests of the HQS Wellington, was the Mamiya C330 interchangeable lens twin lens reflex (TLR).

During this same time period, AP moved from their Dorset House, London address (where they'd been since spring 1933; see top address, right) to Fleet Street, London (see middle address, right). They remained there until (at least) February 1971 but, by September 1975, AP has been relocated in Sutton, Surrey (see bottom address, right).


List of editorial names, September 1975

Note the changes:
Gordon Malthouse, replaced by Duncan Prowse
Neville Maude, replaced by Rex Hayman
Ray Arnold, replaced by James Blazeby
Alan Wood, no replacement.

New names are:
Alan Shriver, Editorial Assistant
John Tointon, Advertisement Director
James Blazeby, Advertisement Manager

Rex Hayman has been 'promoted'
from Queries to Technical Editor.

The 10th February 1971 issue, apart from having a Sound & Vision Supplement (Part 1), also had on its cover the pricing information "2s (10p)", acknowledging the pending (15th February) Decimalisation Day in the UK, when 1 shilling became 5 new pence and there were no longer 240 pennies to the £, but 100 new pennies.

By September 1975, the editorial names list was as shown to the extreme right, above.

Other changes by 1975 (or earlier, though after February 1971), were:

  • The price increased to 25p (+150%, i.e. 15p = 3 old shilling increase, during a time of high UK inflation).
  • It was again, as pre-1958, a collection of folded pages, including the cover, stapled together along their mutual spine, rather than its cover being glued onto a flat spine (like a softback book).
  • Although the first inside page remained as an Index page and still listed the editorial names and the publisher's address details, the magazine reverted to putting all the remaining editorial pages together towards the centre, as they had been pre-1968, rather than scattering them throughout the advertisement pages. However, the pages continued to be consecutively numbered, with no distinction between the advertising pages and the editorial pages. The only exception was the Special Issue 'Guides', where pages in the Guides were numbered separately. Conveniently, the Guides were located in the centre of the magazine so that they could be pulled out from the staples and kept as small booklets.
  • The number of pages was still high. The September 1975 issue had 226 sides (113 pages), plus the covers, plus the 24 sides (12 pages) of the Slide Projector Guide.
  • The page size was fractionally smaller than before, being around 5mm less in height.

To the right can be seen this 1975 cover.


Front cover. 24th September 1975

In 1976, R.H. (Reg) Mason, who had been Consultant Art Editor of AP from 1946 until 1963, and Editor from 1963 to 1976, left AP's editorial staff (born 1915, died 3rd June 1991).

Reg Mason was replaced by Martin Hodder.
Roy Green, previously Admin. & Production Editor (since 1968) became his Assistant Editor.
The editorial names list, as appeared in the 1st June 1977 edition, is shown right.

The 1st June edition was a 'Silver Jubilee Special Issue' celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's 25 years reign. It was a 'bumper' edition containing 266 sides (133 pages) plus the cover. Most of the articles blended photographic interest with a Jubilee theme. The cover can be seen below, centre.

By 1980 (October) the price of AP had risen to 40p.
There were further editorial name changes, including Roy Green becoming Editor (scroll up to see his picture, right). The 1980 editorial names list is shown on the extreme right.

The same 1980 edition shows that Victor Blackman's column had been renamed (for the 3rd time; originally Photo-Gossip, then Cameravaria), to simply 'Blackman'.


Editorial names list, 1st June 1977


Editorial names list, 11th October 1980

The 21st August 1982 issue cost 50p. It showed yet another new editorial names list. Roy Green remained as Editor and a few previous names had gone. But mostly the change is an increase in the number of names, see below:


Front cover, 1st June 1977

AP relocated from Dorset House (1970) to Fleet Street and then to Throwley Way, Sutton, Surrey, between 1971 and 1975.

This relocation made it inconvenient to continue using HQS Wellington as AP's lens testing subject (see top of this page and section 'The 1950s'). So a new test subject was found, this being the upper tower section of St.Nicholas' church, Sutton. It was photographed from the roof of AP's office building, some 500m away, a similar distance as had been across the Thames to the HQS Wellington.

More new names joined the editorial team by January 1983.
David Cocksedge and Alison Trapmore joined alongside John Wilmott as further Technical Reporters.
Lawrence Court replaced Nigel Oakins as the Advertisement Manager.

Then, by April 1983, Martin Hodder's name had disappeared.
In July 1983, Allen Shriver arrived as Editor-in-Chief.

The 25th June 1983 edition was a special issue. Not only did it have a Zoom Lens Guide (10 pages, around 250 lenses, from 20-40mm up to 360-1200mm), but had the "First 3D Hologram Cover".

The price had risen to 60p but the 3D issue had a substantial 98 pages (196 sides; includes the cover).

An article by David Burder was entitled "The Amazing History of 3D". Click the link to download a copy.

This explored 3D imaging from the Victorian obsession with black & white stereo card photographs looked at using a hand viewer, through the use of red/green spectacles permitting (in monochrome) 3D cine films and photographs, followed by viewing full colour 3D films and slides using polarising spectacles, followed by a Russian system that avoided the need for spectacle wearing by projecting onto a special screen composed of thousands of fine lines that reflected separate right eye & left eye images.


Front Cover, 25th June 1983


The Hologram cover was produced by Advanced Holographics Ltd and embossed by Intra Plastics Ltd. The design was by John Aves.

On the Index Page of AP were the instructions:
The hologram (entitled Crystal Creations') on the front cover....depicts the planet Earth inside a double-pyramid shape. In order to see the image in full 3D it has to be lit by a single spotlight, or by a beam from a projector. Viewed from the correct angle the full depth of this colourful 3D image can be seen.
It concludes with the new (at that time) Nimslo system (c.1982) which again required no spectacles, the corrugated (lenticular) plastic print surface itself providing different views to the right and left eyes.    

Holography, is described as not being a competitor to traditional 3D but an exciting alternative.

The name of Chris Dias, Layout Artist, disappeared by October 1983 and the name of Kate Garlick appeared in that editorial position by the start of 1984.

By April 1984 Alison Trapmore had left and two new names arrived, Pippa Brooks and Richard Brook. Various job titles had also changed.

The editorial name list in the 28th April 1984 edition was as below:


Lens test chart and summary table, 26th March 1983

Lens testing procedures varied from month to month, whereas previous to c.1973 (?), while AP occupied their Dorset House address, the procedure was always the same i.e. photographs of HQS Wellington across the Thames near Waterloo Bridge.

Perhaps Sutton air clarity was more variable than the view across the Thames, preventing the test team always using the church tower (above, right) as their test object. Equally, it seems more tests were being carried out, and so using a wall chart might simply have been a time saving expedient.


Lens testing using the St Nicholas church tower
with a summary performance table, 21st August 1982
(see colour photo' of the tower, above)

 

Sometimes, just a Lens Performance summary table was shown
in a lens test, with no indication how it had been achieved.

A name that appeared in AP over a number of years, but never in the named editorial list, was Ron Spillman. Presumably he was a freelance writer and was never actually employed by AP (?). But his varied enjoyable contributions made him a firm favourite.

An enjoyable and regular weekly part of AP since the 1950s had been the Readers Questions page(s) and this had been omitted for a time, maybe since Neville Maude left AP (?). But it reappeared towards the end of 1983 (maybe November ?) entitled "Ask Spillman". Ron Spillman's picture headed the pages and is reproduced here, right. He authored a book "The Complete Photographer" in 1990.
I believe Ron died in late July 2003.

1984 was the start of APs Centenary Year, and the 7th January 1984 issue had a simulated 'Victorian Lady' image on the front from the 1984 Jaeger centenary calendar, by Tony McGee. That cover is shown extreme right. All covers during 1984 carried the news 'Centenary Year'.

During 1984, AP celebrated 100 years of its publication and included a reprint of the very first edition. Unfortunately, I don't own a copy to show here.


Ron Spillman in 1983 and (below) in 1991.


Centenary Year first cover, 7th January 1984

1985 saw another price rise, now to 65p. It again brought changes to the editorial names list. It seemed to change by the month!

With so many changes, it's best to just record that Roy Green was replaced, as Editor, by Barry Monk sometime during 1985 (but before December). Barry had joined as the Features Editor towards the end of the 1970s and was Assistant Editor by the early 1980s.

Barry's Deputy Editor for a short time was Kate Salway.

The covers had become more 'glamour' orientated and the syle was generally more 'flashy'. The December 14th 1985 edition was labelled as a Glamour Issue, but with the novelty of it also being in 3D, and was sold complete with a pair of (red/blue) 3D glasses. See cover, right.

Between December 1985 and March 1987, AP relocated yet again, this time to:
Prospect House, 9-13 Ewell Road, Cheam, Surrey, SM1 4QQ.
It had been at Surrey House, Sutton, Surrey, for maybe 13 years (?).


Front Cover (3D image) 14th December 1985


8th September 1990

The biggest change (maybe spring 1986) is that Victor Blackman, columnist since 1961, stopped writing his 'Blackman' pages (née Cameravaria). Vic would have been nearing age 70 by that time, though fortunately lived for over 20 years more, to December 2009. Possibly in recognition of Vic leaving, AP announced the arrival of a new columnist, in its 14th December 1985 issue, who (as was planned) was to write a weekly page of personal comment, bearing his name, 'Joe Partridge' (Joe was already a columnist for Camera Weekly doing 'Patridge's page'). But none of my (few) subsequent issues have further pages from Joe Partridge, so perhaps things didn't work out as intended.

Joël Lacey comments "Vic Blackman stopped writing for AP when he defected to Haymarket’s 'Camera Weekly'". (The 7th February 1987 CW issue contains 1½ pages by Victor entitled 'Blackman Says'. George Hughes, who had been Features Editor at AP since 1968, had also defected to Camera Weekly a few years previously, in 1979. George's name appears in CW editorial list as Editor & then as Publishing Editor. Later, George temporarily returned to AP as Editor in Chief during 1990, presumably as a result of Amateur Photographer incorporating the magazines "What Camera" and "Camera Weekly").

Keith Wilson became Editor under Editor in Chief George Hughes, with Chris George becoming Deputy Editor (by September 1990, or earlier; see their photos above, right). Chris wrote a weekly page 'Basically Speaking'. George Hughes' name then disappeared from the list by early 1991. Joël Lacey comments "George Hughes left AP for the second, and final, time after Keith Wilson came on board and didn’t want the metaphorical 'Banquo’s ghost' interfering with his work. George briefly worked for 'Video Camera' magazine before disappearing off the media radar."

The 1989 magazine price reached £1.

     

Digital Technology on the Horizon; 'NewsView', 21st March 1987
In the regular 'NewsView' pages, a significant short article appeared of which few people, at that time, would have realised the significance. It was titled
"The Budget Filmless Camera Beckons".
It read:
The electronic still video camera could soon be seen in High St shops, at a price similar to that of a quality SLR.
The surprise news, revealed in February's Japan Camera Trade News, comes from Casio Computer Co, which is to launch the first electronic still camera for the general consumer. Casio's European division confirms that it should appear in Japan and the US by the end of the year, and in Europe in 1988, at a price of 120,000-200,000 yen (£490-£820).

Another first for a filmless camera is that it incorporates playback capability - in other words, all that is required for recorded images to be reproduced on a TV's video channel, is a connecting lead.

The Casio VS-101 uses a video floppy disk for 50-shot recording and weighs only 960g with its rechargeable battery. Basic features are a 2/3rd inch, 280,000 pixel (picture element) CCD image sensor, 11mm f/2.8 fixed focus lens (45mm focal length in 35mm format), programmed auto exposure, a focal plane shutter speeded 5sec - 1/1,000sec, consecutive picture taking at 5fps, and an LCD display.

Although the camera has been developed as an instant camera to project images onto colour TV screens, a hard copy printer (at around 200,000 yen - £820 or less), transmitter and other accessories, are being developed. Planned monthly camera production is 10,000 units initially, a high figure for such a new and innovatory product. The Casio camera is said to have been produced by a camera maker, but the name has not been disclosed.
CASIO COUP
So far only Canon, with its RC-701, has marketed a still video camera, but it is priced and designed for commercial interests such as the electronic media. About a dozen Japanese manufacturers, both electronics and camera companies, and not forgetting Kodak, have announced working on prototype models, and Minolta revealed at last year's Photokina its still video back that can be attached to the Minolta 9000 and 7000 SLRs.
Casio's revolutionary camera is the first to be developed specifically for the consumer, and comes only a few weeks after a Japanese survey indicated that more than 80 per cent of the (Japanese) respondents said they would buy an electronic still video system 'if it were affordable' ('Newsview', 14th February 1987).

Whether electronic systems take off sooner rather than later depends to a large extent on whether the consumer will be satisfied with still images reproduced on a TV screen. A hard copy printer of sufficient quality has not yet been developed by Casio, and the launch of the Casio VS-101 only serves to confirm the Japanese philosophy that the TV set will be the medium for viewing these images. However, Kodak believes that the system will not be fully acceptable to the consumer until good quality hard copy prints are available which, at this stage, seems some way off.

Note: that the above refers to a camera capable of recording just 280,000pixels = 0.28MPixels. It took around 10 years more before 1MP resolution was attainable at 'acceptable' cost. One of the first was the Olympus Camedia C-1400L, launched in 1997, price £1,300 in the UK (plus a 3.3v Smart Media memory card). This fixed-lens digital single-lens reflex camera was equipped with a high-performance optical 3x zoom lens and could record 1.31 MP (1280x1024). The future had arrived and the MegaPixel race had begun. By mid-1999, the Camedia C-1400L had been surpassed to the extent it was being sold off mail order for £499 under the banner "Digital Megadeal!! Last Few!!". Such was the pace of change.

The 1990s
The September 1990 magazine's editorial names list has already been shown, scroll above, right.
Notice a new name, that was to have a long association, Joël Lacey as Deputy Technical Editor.
Joël started his photographic magazine career in his mid-teens when he submitted an article to Camera Weekly (CW, which by then incorporated 'What Camera?') in June 1981. He subsequently applied for a job with the magazine when aged 16.

Joël comments "I had the interview with George Hughes and Eric Verdon-Roe (CW’s publisher and a member of the Verdon-Roe family of WW1 AVRO aeroplane fame) after George had taken me to the pub' wth the magazine’s staff for a few lunchtime pints (which was as much a standard part of the interview process as it was later to be of the job). I didn’t get the job and I don't remember getting home!"
Joël continues "I then went to university (to read computing, which was dull as ditchwater, but turned out to be very useful later on) where I shared a flat with Steve Fairclough (who became AP’s News Editor for a long time until the late, and much-missed, Chris Cheesman broke his record in that position; for further on Chris Cheesman, see 2016 below) and was a friend of Gill Mullins (who would become AP's Production Editor). I joined them at AP on 12th September 1989".
In year 2000, Joël relinquished the Technical Editor’s position to Damien Demolder, who would later edit the magazine. Meanwhile, Joël edited 'What Camera?' from his home (in Dorset) and contributed to 'What Digital Camera' as well as writing for AP until 2006 when, after 17 years, he left. After a spell as a freelancer, he became Editor of Dorset Life magazine in 2010.

The September 1990 issue of AP (as pre-1975) had its cover glued onto a flat spine. This once more enabled the magazine to show useful date and content information down its spine, easily viewable when filed. Its price had risen again, to £1.10p

During late 1990 or early 1991, Amateur Photographer incorporated the magazines "What Camera" and "Camera Weekly". Probably as a consequence of this, by autumn 1990 Amateur Photographer was proclaiming itself, along the top of its front cover, "The World's No.1 Photo Weekly" (see cover illustration, below, right). Chris George ceased to be Deputy Editor and was named amongst the Columnists but continued to write his 'Basically speaking...." page.

A new contributor appeared in 1991, being Mike Maloney who wrote "Mike Maloney's Picture Clinic". In his weekly column, Mike made comment on reader's photographs, in an amusing, semi-abusive, style. In some ways a replacement for the old Ricardo critique, but in an altogether up-to-date, brusque and no-nonsense manner. He went for eye-catching images, closely cropped to add impact. Pictorialism was no longer the hallmark of modern photography. This site records "Mike was chief photographer for Mirror Group Newspapers before turning freelance in 2002. During a career spanning more than 30 years, Dr. Mike Maloney OBE has won 107 major photographic honours, including being voted 'Press Photographer of the Year' three times".


Above is at 18th May 1991
By July 1991, the Publishing Director was Sylvia Auton

The 23rd February 1991 edition, in its 'News' pages, carried an announcement "Nikon Goes Electronic". "....Nikon is moving its production concentration away from still cameras and is expanding its electronic imaging division. ....described as a 'springboard for the future'". "Sources close to Nikon have revealed there are plans to promote an electronic imaging system made up of a 35mm colour scanner, colour printer, personal computer and optomagnetic disc drive".

The same edition carried the news that Kodak's Photo CD system would be on view to the public for the first time at Earl's Court, London, (AP's Photography and Video 91 show) from 28th March to 1st April.

The 18th May edition showed yet another office relocation for the publication, this time to:
King's Reach Tower, Stamford Street, London, SE1 9LS.

The same edition had another new name in the editorial list; Dr Stewart Bell (sadly died on 9th December 2003). He was to gain much respect from readers for his knowledge on lenses and all things optical. At this time he received the title of Technical Consultant, though had written for AP previously. In the 8th September 1990 edition he tested a new autofocus lens from Angenieux. For a full editorial names list as it appeared in the 18th May 1991 edition, see right.

The 22nd June 1991 edition carried an obituary to Reg Mason, AP's Art Editor from 1946, Editor from 1963 to 1976.


R (Reg) H Mason obituary, 22nd June 1991


The 6th July 1991 front cover, see right, showed a surreal image alongside a title "How Computers Alter Images". Editor Keith Wilson commented "Brave New World" about this and similar images brought back from New York by AP's Features Editor, Terry Hope. The image was by Barry Blackman "probably the world's leading exponent of computer manipulated photography". Wilson said "...there is no doubting the potential of computer manipulated photography, but....(will it) win over all the people?". The edition contained 114 sides (57 pages) plus cover. Its size was 21.2cm wide by 28.6cm.


Front cover, 6th July 1991

By October 1991, the price had increased to £1.20p and the magazine had again reverted to a simple stapling of the pages and cover along their spine, though remained at 114 sides (57 pages) plus cover. The first inside page no longer showed the index and list of editorial names etc, but was devoted to 'Pic Of The Week' (see far right). The next two facing pages were the 'This Week' index, with its editorial names. The Classified Advertisement Manager was then Sally Collins. Jack Close had joined the Columnists and was on the search for the Ugliest Town in the UK !

A Managing Director had been appointed, named Mike Tudball.

Fuji, Canon & Yashica were named in the News section regarding their involvement in digital imaging, while the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) had set up a Department of Environmental Activities, including aspects of worker safety.

The same edition had a pull-out "Step by Step Guide to Perfect Pictures" supplement, this one devoted to Cats! These Guides became regular insertions. The 23rd November edition had a "Guide to Perfect Pictures - Football".


Lens test charts from 23 November 1991 edition
The four lines per chart are centre & edge definition
at the two extremes of the zoom range.


Pic of the Week, 16th November 1991

Importantly, the 23rd November edition 'News' carried the announcement that the Daily Mail had become the first UK paper to publish a digital photo', taken using "the new Kodak Digital Camera System (DCS) which doesn't require film". The Kodak digital back, giving 1.3MP, was fitted to a Nikon F3. Images were stored in a separate shoulder carried unit with a hard disk, from whence they could be transferred into a Mac computer or sent direct to picture desks by telephone & modem.

Stewart Bell explained his test results from wideangle AF zooms (20-35mm) of Sigma and Tokina manufacture (see example lens test, above right), and then had a further three pages contemplating and testing power zoom lenses from Pentax and Minolta (a convenient aid or an unneeded battery drain). Joël Lacey also included comment. In the 16th November edition, Technical Editor Justin Mullins had compared four entry level autofocus slrs plus he tested two Canon 'compacts'.

By 1992, Lisa Whittle had replaced Tim Bradford as Technical Reporter. A 'Photographer' position had been created for Alan McFaden and Sally Collins had taken over from Jane Tomlinson as Classified Advertisement Manager, but was soon replaced (28th March) by Cathy Neale. Liz Walker became Deputy Technique Editor, rather than Features Reporter.

Joel Lacey comments "much credit should go to Alan McFaden.
"He contributed more, and for longer, than anyone else in AP’s history. Alan shot all our product photography from decades before I joined AP and was still with AP when I left in 2006". (Alan had joined Associated Ilife Press in November 1962).


A striking double page image from the 16th November 1991 edition.
A 1992 Pirelli calendar preview.
A Chinese theme but shot on the Spanish Costa del Sol.

"He was responsible for a good many covers over the years too. He handled every camera we tested so I would guess he has handled more cameras than pretty much anyone on earth! If anyone were to write the definitive history of Amateur Photographer it would be Alan".

"Whenever anyone came up with a new idea for a feature, or invented a new photograhic technique, we’d often send them over to see Alan who’d say: ‘Oh yes, that is a good idea... in fact so good that we tried it in 19XX,’ and then he’d get the relevant magazine out and the person with the new idea would return to the office duly chastened."


Disposable 'use once only' cameras were declared a 'dazzling success' in the News section on 22nd February 1992, with new models being announced.

Kodak's Photo CD system was given new impetus by Apple announcing support via a version of its Quick Time for image compression, enabling images to be stored on a CD and imported into graphic software running on an Apple desktop computer.

The 18th April 1992 edition, and subsequent, had 'grown' a little, to A4 size. Equipment News mentioned an innovation from Canon and Zeiss, regarding the elimination of camera shake. This technology is now (2016) almost universally applied in digital cameras.

The 9th May 1992 edition, in the News section, offered four AP readers the opportunity to test the "Kodak's imaging system of the future - Photo CD". Everyone else would have to wait until its official launch in September 1992.

The same News contained a brief report of Canon and Sony announcing still video cameras using 2inch floppy disks to store images. The Canon Model RC-570 cost £1,600 while the Sony Mavica 7000 cost £5,000, aimed at pros. Also, Gwent College of Higher Education had announced a photographic degree course that included computers and electronic imaging.

Chris George was writing a Technique Masterclass rather than his previous 'Basically speaking'.


Front cover, 27th March 1993


Editorial names, March 1993
Note the European Awards Panel logo.
Similar had been displayed since autumn 1991.


Between June 1992 and March 1993, Ron Spillman stopped writing his "Ask Spillman" pages that sought to answer readers questions and thereafter that same forum became "Ask The Experts".

Joël Lacey comments "Ron Spillman left us to join Practical Photography for a year at a much higher rate (but they didn’t renew his column after the first year). I set up 'Ask the Experts' as these were the people who Ron had been sending his queries to, for answering, for years anyway, and I thought it fairer that they get the glory".

Questions were divided among 'Experts' Peter Sutherhurst of Kodak, Tony Shapps (widescreen, 3D, AV and cine), Stewart Bell of AP (lenses & optics), Stewart Gibson (freelancing), Dave Slade of Jessops (classic cameras), Robin Fry of AP (legal matters), Joël Lacey of AP (processing & darkoom) and Keith Wilson AP Editor (general problem solving).

Readers letters often carried opposing views about whether some of AP's cover and articles were in questionable taste. It was unfairly compared to 'top shelf' magazines by the more prudish. No doubt the cover to the 27th March 1993 edition stoked this controversy, see above, right. The price had risen to £1.25p.

A break in my AP collection means a fast-forward to Saturday 6th July 1996. By that date, David Bailey had joined AP's Columnists, giving 'The Expert's View'.

There were several editorial name changes, so another names list is shown, far right.

The price of AP had risen to £1.50p


6th July 1996


6th July 1996
and much the same by mid-1998

'Pic of the Week' had disappeared and the first editorial pages were now pages 4&5. Keith Wilson was still Editor and had a column devoted to 'Speaking Personally'. The magazine listed 'Our Guarantee to Readers' as a series of 9 bullet points, see right, above.

APS (the new film-based Advanced Photo System) had been announced by Kodak, Fujifilm, Minolta, Nikon, Canon and others on 1st February 1996 (fully described in 10th February AP edition), so that by July 1996 advertisements and camera tests were appearing. But it was too late to revitalise the 'snap shot' market, since digital was already gaining ground. In January 2004, Kodak announced it was ceasing APS camera production. Fuji and Kodak, the last two manufacturers of APS film, discontinued production in 2011.

The cover of the 6th July 1996 edition is shown right and the faces of more of the editorial team can be seen far right.

Looking at the cover, I find it fascinating, yet sad, that expensive film cameras, such as the Contax AX costing £1,900, were still being developed and sold when they would be obsolete within little more than 10 years.

The 3rd January 1998 saw AP priced at £1.60p

David Royston Bailey was given a special 6-page article in celebration of him having passed the age of 60 on 2nd January. A side column gave a chronology of his life and loves.


front cover, 6th July 1996


Some of the editorial staff in the above list.


Joël Lacey comments "
Keith Wilson left IPC Magazines in 1998 with a number of other people (including Gill Mullins) to form a new publishing company called Cabal Communications. He was meant to be launching a magazine called 'Crime Weekly'. At the last moment, Cabal decided not to go ahead with the magazine and Keith went on to found 'Black and White Photography' and 'Outdoor Photography' for GMC publications in Lewes. He then launched two more magazines, this time web-only, but now works as a freelancer again (writing, amongst others, for Chris George, now Editor in Chief at Future Magazines’ photographic portfolio in Bath).
Justin Mullins (Joël's immediate predecessor as Technical Editor) left to join New Scientist, later setting up their offices first in San Francisco and then in Boston. He’s still a consultant for New Scientist".

"When Keith Wilson left, Garry Coward-Williams arrived from 'Cage & Aviary Birds' as the new Editor and, as is often the case when a new chief arrives, the guard was changed. Steve Fairclough left AP to be editor of 'Stamp Magazine', 'Football Collector' and 'Hi-Fi News', before going off to join Red Dot, who did all of Canon’s professional communications.

"Features Editor, Terry Hope (known as the Peter Pan of photography owing to his eternally youthful looks), went freelance, as did Cathy Joseph".


Digital imaging information was becoming more commonplace within the 1998 magazine. An article entitled 'Digital & Darkroom' explored achieving the same false reflection in a picture by conventional darkroom techniques (Alan McFaden) and using Adobe Photoshop computer software (Joël Lacey).

In news 'This week', edited by Lee Gale, Minolta had launched a film scanner for 35mm and APS negatives, scanning at 2438dpi (8.2MP) in the 35mm format. It cost £399, plus £75 for the APS adapter. Software was available for the PC (Windows 95) and Macintosh (OS 7.1-7.5), communicating via a SCSI interface.

An article by Joël Lacey examined "The future of APS", with subsequent articles promising to consider the future of 35mm film and then the future world of digital imaging. Although reasonably upbeat, there is no doubt that the advance of digital technology was becoming a concern for the success of APS, since both were thought to be in competition for the snapshot market. For the serious enthusiast, 35mm film, used in quality cameras, was still thought unlikely to (ever ?) be usurped when it came to ultimate quality of result.

A whole page was devoted to listing digital cameras, with resolutions starting to approach 2MP, albeit at prices in the £2,000 to £3,000 range.

By 2nd May 1998, the cost of AP had risen to £1.65.
In the same edition, 'Photo 98' was announced as "The Year of Photography and the Electronic Image", sponsored by Canon. 'Photo 98' was hailed as "the largest festival of creative photography ever seen in the UK".

In the 11th July 1998 edition, Sanyo announced a new digital still camera, their VPC-G250, that could also shoot and store four 5 second bursts of video, but had a resolution of only 350,000 pixels, despite costing £450. Sanyo's UK marketing manager, Peter Eldon claimed "Within a very short time, the consumer camera market will be dominated by digital cameras, marking the end of mass market, film based, photography as we know it".
Despite the growing move towards digital, new silver based, light sensitive, films were still appearing. AP tested and compared three new black & white films, Ilford XP2 Super, Konica VX400 and Kodak T400CN.

The Cottingley Fairies story, that fooled the world, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, into believing fairies really do exist, ran for over 60 years (1917 to 1983). The cousins Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths took the photographs of cut-outs they made and painted using a 1917 Midg drop-plate box model and a German-made Cameo folding plate camera. With Cottingly being just a few miles from Bradford, it was fitting that the cameras and other memorabilia should go to the Bradford National Museum of Photography, Film and Television. The cameras were owned by Geoffrey Crawley who had previously purchased them to save them going to the US.

The 11th July 1998 issue included a test of a Canon Bubblejet A4 digital image printer, priced £317. This was a 'top of the range' printer but a previous model had been reviewed within the previous 2 months. AP reported that the technology didn't (at that time) produce images with a completely continuous tone (1200x600 dpi resolution). But AP had tested one that could, in their 30th August 1997 edition. The Alps Masterpiece printer could effectively join the individual inkjet dots by overlaying them with a varnish, that blended them together. Possibly priced around £500 (quoted as 750$ in the US), AP voted it 'Digital Accessory of the Year' 1998.

By the end of 1998, AP's editor was Garry Coward-Williams, working with (amongst others) Technical Editor Joël Lacey and Technique Writer Damien Demolder. Damien had been recruited from IPC's stablemate magazine 'Photo Technique' when it ceased publication. AP's front cover then had a banner strip saying 'Incorporating Photo Technique'. The price remained at £1.65p.

Readers were voicing criticism of the APS film and camera system, claiming lower quality prints due to the smaller negative area (compared to 35mm) and the image cropping required to provide the three print formats. The processing cost was also much higher than 35mm. Reader Clive Kenyon, in the 'Back Chat' column at the end of the magazine, compared the availability of £2.99 processing for 35mm colour negative film with 'around £12' for APS. Notwithstanding this rebuke from certain readers, the 31st July edition tested three new APS compacts from Canon (IXUS II), Minolta (Vectis 2000) and Nikon (Nuvio S), and were happy with them all, though ultimately favouring the Canon.

1999 saw the first fully integrated digital SLR designed from the ground up, rather than a digital bolt-on to a 35mm film SLR. The Nikon D1 featured a 2.7MPixel sensor and 4.5fps shooting – a respectable speed even today. See the 'What Digital Camera' round-up of the 16 digital cameras that changed the world. Consumer compact digital cameras had just topped 2MPixel resolution.

Despite the advertisements for compact digital cameras, plus film and negative scanners from Minolta (Dimage) and Nikon (Cool Scan), the editiorial emphasis was still on film cameras. There had been recent launches of sophisticated AF (auto-focus) film SLRs by Minolta, Canon and Nikon, but the cameras being tested in the 12th June 1999 issue were basic manual focus 35mm SLR models from Cosina (C3; £170) and Vivitar (V4000; £130) both fitted with 35-70mm f3.5-4.8 zoom lenses.

A new inclusion in the 'This Week' news section was 'Website of the Week', featuring sites with photographic content or special interest.

The test of a Polaroid SprintScan film scanner in the 31st July edition (35mm and APS only) giving 4,000ppi resolution (60Mb file size) was greeted with much enthusiasm, though at £1,761 it was noted to be expensive. The end of the review showed good foresight. The reviewer (Joël Lacey) referred to scanning a negative taken underwater that had hitherto resisted any attempt at conventional printing, due to its "extraordinarily low contrast". "Two minutes after scanning, and after a quick 'whirl' in Photoshop 5, I (the reviewer) had an image which looked as if it had been shot in daylight and printed (by digital inkjet) perfectly". Joël concluded by saying "Scary stuff indeed for the chemical printing world".

     

The Millenium Year (2000)
By February 2000 AP was priced at £1.75.

A full editorial listing appears to the right.

Mike Maloney was still doing his weekly column commenting on readers' pictures, but with less 'mauling' than previous. He was using a more gentle and helpful tone than his previous out-spoken criticism, more an updated 'Ricardo'.

The Amateur Photographer 'Help' Team, continued to answer readers' queries. Most remained as in early 1993, but a few new names and faces appeared, see right.

The magazine was still very much film based (a 20 roll assorted pack of Kodak film, worth more than £120, was the prize to each reader sending a letter that was published in the 'Letters' pages. And a Leica M6 kit of camera body and lenses, worth £6,244, was the grand prize in the 'Amateur Photographer of the Year' competition. However, there was also plenty of digital comment, reviews and adverts.

'This Week' reported that a Beginners digital imaging video entitled 'Getting Started in Digital Imaging' was available from Marrutt Digital for £23 (in VHS tape format). And Epson had taken the wraps off two professional scanners, the Expression 1600 and 1600Pro, print and film flatbed scanners. Both delivered 1600x3200dpi resolution, and cost £750 and £985 respectively.

Kodak claimed that an increased number of affordable digital cameras was helping to boost film sales. They justified this by saying "people are now getting more into photography and taking more pictures". Kodak spokesman Paul Allen announced that film use was partly driven by digital.

Kodak advertised a 3.3MPixel DC290 camera which AP tested in December 1999 reporting "Handling and image quality are brilliant ..... a super bit of kit".

Editorial Team, 5th February 2000

Notice a name in the above list, the Editor's PA, Christine Lay.
Joël Lacey comments "
There’s one other person who is very much deserving of a mention and that is Christine Lay, who, at our offices in Sutton, Cheam, Kings Reach Tower, The Blue Fin Building and now in Farnborough, has normally been the first voice 'phone callers to AP hear since the Barry Monk days (early 1980s) and has assisted every editor (and member of staff) since then. She should get some sort of medal!

AP tested the Nikon CoolPix 800, a "mid-range consumer digital camera" (with others being the 700 and the 950, released in 1999). Priced at £600 with a 2.11MPixel resolution and 2x optical zoom. AP concluded "....pocketability in digital cameras plus (relatively for a digital camera) decent image quality, has been sorely lacking - until now". They voted it 'worth its price'.

A Photoshop article showed how redeye could be eliminated within digital images.

The 14th October 2000 issue continued the theme. Essentially AP remained a film camera magazine appealing to high end, top quality, film camera fans, but conceding that digital was now an affordable alternative for the mass market (maybe meaning the 'snapshot' market).
Minolta had announced their Dimage 2330 Zoom for "people who don't fancy operating complicated cameras". Priced at £400 for 2.31MPixels and a 3x optical zoom. Kodak announced another trio of 'consumer' digital cameras with around 2MPixels resolution.

Japanese exports of APS cameras had 'nose-dived' 75% on the year previous. However, 35mm film sales remained buoyant and Fuji announced that it had expanded its range of Superia print film. AP tested the new Fuji ISO 400 Provia 400F transparency film, ".....a welcome addition to the photographer's armoury".

The cover of the 5th February 2000 edition is shown to the right.

The cover price of AP rose to £1.85 by February 2002.
The Christmas 2 week double issue (20th & 27th) for December 2003 had a cover price of £2.99.

     

The 25th June 2005 edition celebrated the 80th Anniversary of an AP camera test on 27th May 1925, "....only a few weeks after its debut at the Leipzig Spring Fair, AP tested a new camera from the microscope manufacturers E.Leitz". The review started, "This is a camera of decidely novel design..." The camera was, of course, the original Leica, invented by Oskar Barnack.

The reason for wishing to include this mid-2005 edition is that there had been a technology revolution during the intervening 5 years. The editorial content cannot be used to judge the magazine, since it naturally discussed the Leica camera, but the 'This Week' news items, and many of the commercial advertisements, are concentrated on digital cameras, printers and scanners.

Kodak had announced their intention to discontinue their DCS full frame (35mm) sensor slrs (14MP), even though, with Nikon and Canon lens fittings, the latest of these were only launched in 2004.

Camera prices had started falling, such that 4 to 5MP zoom compacts by Nikon and Canon were available for below £200. Newer models from all manufacturers were featuring 6 to 8MPixel sensors. Prices fell further over the next few years; I purchased a Canon PowerShot A560 4x zoom compact, with 7.1MPixels, for £60 from Argos in November 2008 ! It still (2016) gets regular use and works perfectly - and has an eye-level zoom viewfinder as well as its rear screen.

The editorial names list is shown far right. Damien Demolder had become Deputy Editor under Editor Garry Coward-Williams.

Mike Maloney, Stewart Bell, David Bailey and Joël Lacey (to name just four) were no longer listed as contributors. But by then Roger Hicks was occupying the back (inside) page with his "A matter of opinion", always a good read, I find.

The magazine cost £2, still A4 in size and had 116 sides (58 pages) including the cover.

Cover prices continued to slowly rise, viz: £2.10 by September 2005, £2.15 by August 2006, £2.20 by December 2007 and £3.50 for the double Christmas issue of 22nd and 29th December 2007.


Front cover, 25th June 2005
The 80th Anniversary since AP tested the first Leica

 
Editorial names list, 25th June 2005

By Spring 2008 the cover price was £2.25 and by late 2008 it was £2.30. By July 2009 it had risen again, to £2.40.
£2.50 was reached by mid-2010 and the 2010 double issue for Christmas 2010 cost £3.75.

In April 2011 AP cost £2.60 and was £2.70 by September 2012. In April 2013 the cover price was £2.75 and by November it was £2.80.
The 2013 double Christmas issue (21st & 28th December) cost £3.95.

By May 2014 it cost £2.85 and by August 2014 it cost £2.95.
By early 2015 it cost £2.95 and by Spring 2015 it reached £2.99.

 
     

The December 2016 Christmas 'Bumper Issue' covered two weeks, Saturday 17th and 24th December. It contained 116 pages (sides), including the covers. Its price was £3.99 for this double issue edition. The cover is shown to the right.
Size is now smaller than A4, around 200mm by 290mm.

The more normal weekly cover price remained at £2.99.

The new Editor at that time, and still remains in post (Feb. 2016), is Nigel Atherton, who took over after Gary Coward-Williams' last issue on 3rd March 2007

Joël Lacey comments "Nigel Atherton had joined as a Technical Writer in 1996 and became Features Editor (see February 2000 listing above). Like Damien Demolder, Nigel had been a cruise ship photographer in his earlier years". He left AP during 2000 to edit 'What Digital Camera', but rejoined in Spring 2007.

An Editorial listing appears to the far right.

With all the excellent content, one double page spread contained sadness in the warm friendship and professional respect shown in the many tributes to Chris Cheesman, who died in the autumn of 2016 after a short illness, aged just 51. He was known very affectionately by his colleagues as 'Cheeso'.

AP introduced the tributes pages as follows:
"CHRIS CHEESMAN was AP's news editor for 17 years, during which time he made an immeasurable contribution to the magazine. He secured more scoops and broke bigger stories than any other journalist in the industry, and gained a worldwide reputation for his tenacity and determination.
But he was also a man of honesty and integrity, and a journalist who, in his pursuit of the truth, never forgot he was on the side of the reader.
No other journalist in the UK worried the industry's spokespeople as much as Chris. One PR told us that whenever they saw a call coming in from him, they were terrified. This makes him sound like a tyrant. He wasn't. Instead, Chris was quiet, modest and very well liked by all who were privileged to know him".

Ending on a happier note, AP magazine remains the best photographic magazine on the bookstalls, having outlived so many rivals. But the transition to digital photography is virtually complete. Film photography continues to receive the occasional mention, but the content is now very predominantly, and inevitably, digital. In some ways the 'digitalisation' of the magazine's content is emphasised by the readers' letters (readers write) pages now being named 'Inbox', with most correspondence being received by email.


Front Cover, Christmas 2016
Photo' by Elena Paraskeva,
AP winner of reader's entries for the cover picture.


Editorial names list, 17-24th December 2016

This page last updated: 6th February 2017