f11 Magazine suspends operations

The f11 Magazine, a New Zealand-based free monthly photography publication, has suspended operations, with no new issues planned for the future.

Tim Steele, f11 editor, informed subscribers via e-mail that after six years and 66 issues, a lack of advertising led to the difficult decision.

The magazine had an international readership, but maintained strong ties with the New Zealand and Australian photo industry. The f11 team consisted of Tim, New Zealand photographers Gary Baildon, Tony Bridge, and Australian photographer Ian Poole.

It was geared toward professional and enthusiast photographers, and delivered in slick digital magazine in page flip format and PDF.

f11 was unique in its style and approach. Its pages were coated thick in pictures and projects, with articles written by and about photographers.

‘The idea of a magazine about photography and photographers – rather than cameras and accessories – found a loyal and appreciative audience around the world,’ Tim wrote in his e-mail to subscribers. ‘I like to think that our approach was more cerebral than many other titles, and that we were able to rise above the perils of pixel peeping, equipment worship, and the banal. Our mission was to expose the work of photographers, display their collections, and describe their personal journeys. We were never short of content as we made the world our home.’

Unfortunately the ‘free magazine concept’, which relies solely on advertising to support it, is ‘much more difficult to sustain as a business proposition’, Tim explains.

‘I’m investigating other options to keep the title alive in some form, but this will take time and dialogue with others – hence the decision to suspend publication at this point. It’s my hope that a successful outcome from one of these conversations will expose the magazine to a much larger potential audience, while at the same time ensuring its financial viability with a new business model.

‘If you have been a reader, a commercial supporter, or simply a believer in our approach to content and community I thank you sincerely for your encouragement and participation. I know not what the future holds for f11 Magazine, for photographers and aficionados, but I’m personally proud of the content and quality that a small team has been able to produce consistently. We’ve been on time, on topic, and appreciated for 66 consecutive issues – and that’s no small achievement.’

COMMENT: We operate a similar business model to f11, and know too well the struggles Tim and his team experienced landing advertising support. And it’s not just us. As newspapers and other online publishers explore different ways to survive, it’s apparent digital publishing hasn’t reached maturity or established a perfect formula. Selling ad space wasn’t taught at journalism school! The Australian/New Zealand photo industry has unfortunately experienced a number of closures of high profile and long-standing retailers, galleries and associations. Not to mention the scores of photography businesses that shut up shop. ProCounter wishes all the best to Tim, and everyone involved in f11 over the last six years! Let’s hope the publication fires back up soon. Will Shipton


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