Swiss Camera Paris Version

Somewhere hidden at the back of the rack of shelves behind me are a pile of issues of a very special magazine that was published in Lucerne, Switzerland, Camera. I only subscribed to it shortly before it ceased publication in 1981, but bought a number of the back issues that were still available when I signed up. We called it ‘Swiss Camera’ because there were also US magazines that shared the name.

The reputation of this magazine, at least for photographers here, was made only in its last 16 years, when Allan Porter was editor-in-chief from 1965 to 1981.  A new Camera magazine was launched last year in a bilingual English/French version, published in Paris and aiming to take over the mantle of the former publication, and in issue 5, out this week it looks at the work of Allan Porter.

There are a series of articles in L’Oeil de la Photographie related to Allan Porter and the magazine, starting with Camera #5: In search of a mythical magazine, and continuing with Allan Porter: Editor of Camera, Allan Porter: His personal Pictures, Allan Porter: His Photographer Portraits, Allan Porter: His Favorite Covers, perhaps the least interesting for me as his choice of the best 12 from the 162 covers is rather different to mine, and finally, Allan Porter
“I was a go-between”
with a short audio-visual in which he talks about his work and the photographic context of the era, and welcomes the new publication.

At the end of the first article it states: ‘Vintage issues of the magazine are collector’s items today.’ But many can still be picked up cheaply – I found quite a few on offer on the web for $5 an issue, less than half the cost of the new magazine. I haven’t yet looked at the new ‘Camera’ in print, though it is available at half a dozen outlets in London including the Photographers’ Gallery and selected newsagents – details can be found on the website.


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