I don’t recall how I first came to hear of Creative Camera, or why I decided to buy my first issue in March, 1975. Perhaps I’d read about it, or seen it on a news-stand, but it arrived in my life at a time when I had realised there was more to photography than I had previously understood – and certainly more than I had ever been taught. It opened windows and let in a fresh breeze of photographic imagery completely unseen by me before. I can remember being both amused and bemused by the photographs I saw in that first purchased issue, but when the following month brought work by Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston and Paul Hill I was hooked. I became a subscriber – sometimes regular, more often irregular – for the next 20 years.
The following text by the late Peter Turner is reproduced from The New Zealand Centre for Photography web site (now closed). A slightly different version may also be found in ZoneZero Magazine. It was written by Peter Turner in 2002.
The late Bill Jay was the first editor of Creative Camera and steered its transition from ‘Camera Owner’ to the magazine celebrated here.
He was a prolific writer and an accomplished photographer whose work is covered extensively on his own web site – well worth visiting.
This article was written for the conference, “What Happened Here?: Photography in Britain since 1968”, at the National Media Museum, Bradford, England, 14 October 2004. Also published (in a slightly revised form) in Ag Magazine, Issues 51 and 52, 2008. It is broken into 10 pages due to its length.
Over time, I have collected every issue of Creative Camera ever published. As far as I am aware, it is only one of a handful of complete sets in the world.
I thought it would be interesting to assemble a mosaic of all the covers, from May 1967 (when it was still Camera Owner) until May 2001 (when it had morphed into DPICT).
The idea of Creative Camera without Colin Osman as Editor and Publisher seems slightly absurd. The magazine he helped found to promote the worth of photography as a medium of personal expression has passed through a number of evolutionary phases, undergone several metamorphoses, even done the occasional chameleon act. But it has always been watched over, guided and gently prodded by the same, generally benign father figure. We haven’t had many such figures in British photography, in fact I cannot think of any except Norman Hall and he belonged to an earlier generation. Good reason, then, that Colin’s absence from the helm should strike that absurd note. He was, indeed remains, quite unique.