One of the unique things about Popular Woodworking’s Arts and Mysteries column is that it has long, sometimes year long, series. Let’s face it. Woodworking magazines have been in print for a long long time. Almost everything has been written or done before.
Well, that’s not quite true. See, the basic structural way magazine articles are written effects the final product. If you have a team of editors and cameramen traveling to an author, you can only get so much of the “in-process” detail. My “forme” took me over a week to build. And I was snapping pictures, and writing the article at each phase in the construction while all the details were fresh in my mind.
PW encourages authors to be photographers. This has got to be cheaper than sending crews to faraway lands. But I see a huge advantage to this arrangement. I think we can look at a subject in levels of detail never before possible. Digital photography has really helped make this possible. But the vision and leadership of Popular Woodworking magazine has brought it to print.
Next time you are reading your favorite ww magazine, ask yourself if the pictures you see are staged and if you are really getting a detailed accounting of construction. Had I never written for a magazine, I doubt I would ask myself this question, which is why I pose it here. How does the structure of the relationship between author and publisher effect the final product we read?
To my thinking, it’s almost like the difference between a documentary and a dramatic scripted film. I think I prefer the documentary. Especially those revolutionary war documentaries on the History channel.! It’s amazing how that film has lasted this long!
P.S. I don’t get the History channel 🙁