Since 1977, Photographer’s Forum magazine has published interviews with some of the most creative photographers of our time. We’ve aimed to be at the forefront of finding and supporting the emerging professional photographer while honoring the most important photographers of our era. I am proud of the quality product we’ve published and I feel we have succeeded in our mission.
In our 10th anniversary issue I wrote about how the magazine got started, and I’d like to share the story again: “I was a 22-year old photography student when it occurred to me that there was no publication that answered the needs of the emerging professional photographer. I got into my VW van and drove 250 miles to Ansel Adams’ house (uninvited, I might add) to see what he thought of the idea. Ansel was generous with his advice, but he cautioned against being too optimistic. He impressed me with how open and giving he was, especially to a total stranger!”
Photographer’s Forum started out small. In 1977 there was one employee (me), budget for only B&W printing, and the office was my living room. I bought a $100 Amtrak ticket, which allowed me to travel crosscountry so I could meet with camera manufacturers, photographers and writers. Many of my college friends had apartments in various cities, so I strategically couch-surfed. It was an exciting and fun time. In 1978 the camera companies were beginning to automate the SLR cameras and consumers soon started to buy them in record quantities. The photography industry then was similar to the tech industry in 2012 in terms of growth, employment opportunities and cool technology. In fact, I believe many photographers who loved the technology of the darkroom have gravitated to the computer world.
The early days were rough and lean, but fun! With only a small investment from a friend and no publishing or business experience, the odds of failure were high. Our first real break was when Eastman Kodak advertised on the magazine’s back cover in February 1980. Kodak gave Photographer’s Forum the industry recognition and approval we needed to survive.
Today Photographer’s Forum is strong and doing very well. In 2012 the magazine enjoys a circulation of over 18,000 with 36,000 readers per issue. In addition, pfmagazine.com has over 300,000 visitors and over 1.5 million page views per year! With photographers from over 87 countries participating in our photography contests, Photographer’s Forum magazine and its companion website comprise a world-wide platform for the photographic community. It is all very cool and interesting to watch.
Thirty-five years doing anything is a long time. There are a lot of people in our history to thank. My sincere appreciation goes out to Cynthia Anderson, Kim Beil, Janice Brown, Nell Campbell, Tamra Dempsey, Mehosh Dziadzio, Jerry Goldstein, James Kaufmann, Kimberly Kavish, Ken Lassiter, Jay Lewin, Madeline Marina, Margie Middleton, Cynni Murphy, Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler, Mai Raack, Victor Rodriguez, George and Grace Schaub, Susan Serbin, David and Beverly Serbin, Theil Shelton, Julie Simpson, Rosalind Smith, Claire Sykes, Kim Taylor, Judith Turner-Yamamoto and Jules Wartell. I would also like to thank Mary Jo Dressel and Randy Tyler of American Web, which has printed such high-quality issues for us for over thirty years.
In 1978, Photographer’s Forum magazine was the first Serbin project so it remains very close to my heart. Serbin Communications, Inc. is now a diversified international publishing and marketing company with many creative resources for photographers, illustrators and fine artists. We are fortunate to work out of a wonderful 5,000 square foot building with amazing views of the Santa Barbara foothills. The road from the first office to our current space has been a wonderful ride. Not always smooth, but well worth the trip.
Now on to the next 35 years!