Thursday, May 2, 2013

Årets Bild Magasin: another excellent example of a native tablet magazine that showcases photography

The one category of digital magazines that is exploding with good, natively designed tablet (or tablet-only) editions is photography. No other category seems to be as vibrant, with as much really good work being done. And why not, didn't Steve Jobs, in his product introduction event for the iPad emphasis how good photos look on the iPad? Yep, and they look even better on the newer retina display models, as well.

The problem was that the iPad isn't really a very good way to take photos, and how many of us import photos into the iPad? Probably not many. So the problems is getting them in there.

The first way is through e-books – whether a stand-alone e-book like that created by Joe Zeff Design for Above & Beyond: George Steinmetz – or as an interactive e-book, like those that use iBooks Author.

The second way, of course, is through digital photography magazines. No wonder, then, that so many new, digital-only tablet magazines are being launched into the Apple Newsstand. Future recently launched Photography Week, Focus Publishing launched Exposures (and other photographer-branded titles), and now this digital magazine built around the Swedish photojournalism awards Årets Bild Magasin.

It is easy to see why the photography category is perfect for the tablet. Yes, the photos look great, but there is also the fact that editors are not limited to using one of two photos in a print magazine spread. In a digital magazine one could use a slideshow, or simply add more digital pages.

Here, with Årets Bild Magasin, there are a limited number of photos since each one has received some recognition. But the art director can, by simply making a design choice, turn the digital magazine from one designed for portrait reading, into one the utilizes landscape. The funny thing is that an art director could do this with print and make the reader turn their magazine around, but it simply is rarely done in print – with tablets it is considered quite OK.

Årets Bild translates roughly as 'Pictures of the Year", and is the photojournalism awards organized by Pressfotografernas Klubb (Press Photographers Association).

Årets Bild Magasin is free of charge to download and the first issue inside is free, as well. The app description does not tell the reader when they might expect another issue – maybe it will be annually because I assume the awards are annual. But the first issue has an April 2013 dateline on it, at least signifying to me that we may see more frequent editions. Maybe someone who speaks Swedish, like our friends at Bonnier or Mag+ can tell us more.