From the North
Enno Kaufhold Surveys Magazines from Germany, Austria and Scandinavia
by Enno Kaufhold
European Photography: Art Magazine
Andreas Müller-Pohle's European Photography: Art Magazine made its first appearance in December 1979 when it came out as a quarterly. It is still published out of Göttingen, Germany, and is one of the most enduring art photography journals in circulation today. Its most significant articles appear in both German and English and, with a special authoritative focus on photo art, have communicated world-wide much of what has happened in Germany, Europe and beyond over the past twenty years. Today European Photography is published only biannually but is strengthened by its book format. Its individual reproductions and monographic portfolios mirror the changes in style over time and occasionally - following domestic and international developments - set new trends and directions. Over the past years Andreas Müller-Pohle's own artistic development - especially his early interest in the adaptation of the most recent electronic art reproduction techniques - has made a strong mark on the text and picture articles in his journal. This has made the journal into an important forum for digitally generated pictures and accompanying commentaries and theories. In addition to this, Andreas Müller-Pohle has also received international recognition for his own digitally generated pictures. Presently - and that probably also holds true for the near future - the magazine (or rather, book) can be subdivided into three distinct parts: it begins with theory-oriented pieces, followed by a section with reproductions (portfolios) in good print quality, and the final part contains current exhibition and book reviews. The printed journal has an internet appendage which makes available current and more time-sensitive information. In the future this service will encompass items of even shorter-lived topicality.
Camera Austria: International
With its focus on art photography, Camera Austria International is, next to European Photography, counted among the most important international journals. It was first published in early 1980 and has appeared since then as a quarterly. From its inception its texts have been written in both German and English. Its publisher Manfred Willmann, an art photographer himself, and its editor-in-chief Christine Frisinghelli have built up a network of writers and art photographers whose geographic strength - apart from Austria and Germany - lies with the United States and Japan. is the publication forum for the annual photo-symposium in Graz which takes place in the Styrian autumn and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts in the Province of Styria and the City of Graz. As such, it has been able to gain an independence which has allowed a wide array of artistic approaches. This has often meant that many photographers - even those who have not been able to establish themselves next to well-known big names - have been offered a platform. The text pieces and symposium accounts - oriented towards history and art theory (and printed on normal paper) - are followed by the section 'Forum' which features individual art photographers with separate portfolios (on high-gloss paper). Right after that, it launches into exhibition discussions, book write-ups, news, and an exhibition calendar with further particulars on the international world of photography and photo-art.
Photonews: Zeitung für Fotografie
Not being able to find what interested him personally in any of the existing photo journals, Denis Brudna, a trained artist and illustrator, established his own newspaper in Hamburg: Photonews: Zeitung für Fotografie. The publisher intended for his publication to be read like a daily newspaper and, as such, over the years, the monthly has appeared in the DIN A3 format. Today the format is somewhat smaller. In the beginning it confined itself to using only black and white illustrations in Offset-Monoprint, with colour picture inserts put in according to need. In addition to the publisher and Anna Gripp, the good editorial spirit, there are a number of German and foreign contributors writing on various themes (I myself have, since its beginning, been given assignments covering historical topics and articles on art photography). In addition to the permanent programme of the German-only Photonews, there are stories on big international photo events, regular exhibitions of individual photographers and photo artists, book reviews, A.D. Coleman's stories from the United States, technical developments (limited to what is printed in the text and the picture articles), information on photography schools in Germany and abroad (targeting the many younger readers), notices of special awards and finally an extensive overview of photo exhibitions taking place in Germany and - to a lesser extent - in Europe.
Neue Bildende Kunst: Zeitschrift für Kunst und Kritik
The Berlin-based bi-monthly, Neue Bildende Kunst: Zeitschrift für Kunst und Kritik, is among the few journals originating in East Germany and which have survived the transformations of the recent years. Formerly the journal acted as the organ of the Association of the Pictorial Arts, but was reincarnated after the reunification of Germany with a new look. In great part its survival is due to Matthias Flügge, its first and still active editor in chief, who - as a dedicated art historian and exhibition curator - is behind the journal's contents and critical profile. Its outward appearance is similar to that of other arts journals. Neue Bildende Kunst, however, is the only German art journal today that has covered developments in the arts in the former East Germany and East Europe continuously and connected these areas with commentaries on events in the West. There is special focus on modern media but always with an eye on photography. Exhibitions and biographical portraits are of particular interest here, as they put photographic work into an art context. These can be straightforward subject photographs with an artistic angle as well as painterly, impressionistic artwork. Like Photonews, Neue Bildende Kunst appears solely in German.
Katalog: Journal of Photography & Video
Katalog: Journal of Photography & Video has been the most important Danish art photo journal. It appears four times a year and has done so since 1988. Acting as the organ of Museet for Fotokunst in Odense, it was founded one year after the museum. The museum is located in Brandts Klædefabrik and is dedicated to contemporary art. An important force behind the journal is Finn Thrane who is also the manager of the museum's photography collection. The journal has, from its beginning, existed as an extension of the museum's exhibition programme and beyond that has managed to feature international photographers and photo-artists with extensive interviews. Since its inception the magazine has made its mark with an outstanding formal profile, its quality-minded selection of artists, and its good text pieces (which appear both in Danish and in English). Its exhibition and book reviews and its events overview complete the magazine.
NU: Siksi Index - The Nordic Art Review
Another journal peculiar to the Scandinavian-speaking space is NU: Siksi Index - The Nordic Art Review. The first issue which is just out (1999) was created out of its two journal predecessors Siksi, Nordic art review and Index. Because of its Scandinavian significance it is subsidised by the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art and The Foundation for Visual Studies. Add to these institutions the numerous galleries, museums, and art institutions in the Nordic countries that show interest in the endeavour and, through that, act as patrons. The pieces contributed by the international pool of writers appear throughout in English. The editorial headquarters are located in Stockholm under the stewardship of its editor John Peter Nilsson. Similar to its predecessors Siksi and Index, the new journal's main emphasis is on contemporary Scandinavian art; and here new media and photography get lots of space. In its first issue, among other art themes, the magazine presents the photographs of Marte Aas, a graduate of Gothenburg University, Seppo Renvall, the multimedia artist, Miriam Bäckström, the photo artist, and portraits by Dejan Antonljevic. In addition to these, there is a discussion of the new Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki. More exhibition reviews pick up the tail end of the magazine. The presentation and the print quality reflect the high standards of today's art magazine. A CD-ROM is enclosed with the first edition of NU giving some insights into "The Stockholm Syndrome" and demonstrates the magazine's grounding in the new media world. For people who are interested in Northern European art NU - like its two predecessors - should not be ignored.
Translation by Christian Schoenberg