1. BJP British Journal of Photography
Probably the most established magazine for photography. BJP was first published in 1854. This makes BJP, to the best of my knowledge, the oldest photography magazine still in existence. In 2010 the magazine received a complete makeover and returned to monthly publication frequency.
BJP distinguishes itself from other magazines through is breadth in topics covered. Most magazines appear to either show case great imagery in a particular discipline such as travel photography, animal photography, black and white photography or they are a vehicle to feed the G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). BJP strives for breadth, addressing all aspects of the industry, while maintaining a high standard and providing content not just images. To give just one example: One issue which I very much enjoyed, the July 2015 issue, focused on photography schools and educational centers. Certainly not the topic you expect to find in your run of the mill photography magazine. The geographical range of schools selected was excellent and as a result I learned about very different educational styles. Each school featured interviews with key players, a good review of their history and objectives and student work. In total a 40 page account dedicated to educational institutions. Some subscribers who have followed BJP over many years might and do disagree, probably for good reason. I imagine share of the publication dedicated to gear review and and advertisement has grown. So I cannot argue the case for BJP when it comes to comparing current with prior years but I can compare BJP with its current competitors and by this measure I stand by my observation, the quality of the content and coverage is excellent. The potential downside of the breadth of topics covered is that BJP can touch on special topics only very infrequently. So if you look for a magazine with frequent, high quality and up to date information on a specific topic, then BJP is not for you. I had a one year subscription which I genuinely enjoyed and no doubt when I have more time for photography I shall renew.
2. LFI Leica Fotografie International
If you follow the link below you will see LFI is more than just a magazine, but here I just comment on the magazine. It is a monthly publication available in English and German. Commercially speaking LFI is a sales vehicle for Leica equipment. If it was only that I would not bother writing about it. By my estimate about a third of the magazine is related to Leica product reviews which luckily leaves two thirds for other topics. Typically the other two thirds are dedicated to introducing new photographers or at times revisiting work from well established photographers. The nature of the photo essays, like the camera itself, is rooted in history, in this case photo-journalism, in the spirit of and in collaboration with many Magnum photographers. The quality of the images in photo essays is usually excellent and rivaled only by the quality of the reproduction, paper and color quality are outstanding. Frequently these essays have a very personal touch where the creation of the essay has become a meaningful part of the photographers biography. This distinguishes many LFI photo essays from other publications where professionals merely travel to exotic locations or meet famous people to take home some beautiful pictures. The final pages in LFI list current exhibitions. I do like the magazine but this section strikes me as half baked. You will be informed about many exhibits in German equivalents to Tinseltown but you might see only one exhibit listed in Japan. The logic of the selection process just escapes me. In conclusion I do recommend the magazine to all Magnum lovers, you will enjoy the quality of the essays and you will get unrivaled quality in reproduction. But if you are not among the Magnum fans or a Leica customer, then you probably want to move on to greener pastures.