When Focus disappeared from the shelves (although I notice it reappeared this week after being way for a year) I switched to Soura. Soura is Arabic for photography. The magazine is published by a company in the United Arab Emirates and is the only photo magazine in the Middle East.

It sounds improbable, but it is one of the most interesting photo magazine currently available. It concentrates on the work of photographers from the Arab world, but does not exlude those from other countries. Issue 20, for example, features the work of French photographer Dorothy-Shoes on the front cover, followed by a brilliant 12 page spread of her work.

Production values are different to Focus. Design is less conservative (although the cover is more so, not having a single cover line) and it is not so wordy. Nor is it aimed solely at the fine art market, although some of the images are the equal of anything in the New York magazine and yes, equipment and techniques do seep in, but Soura is still about photographs, not gear.

On the whole, the photographs in Soura are much more avant garde than that of Focus and that was unexpected. One tends to view the Arab world as being much more conservative than the West, but from the stuff being published in this magazine that is not really true.


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