Friday, January 30, 2015

Victoria Magazine

I put a post on my Facebook page yesterday that spoke of Victoria Magazine. I think they need me but that's not what this post is about.

If you aren't aware of this magazine... it was a Hearst publication back in the late 80's and 90's. It was laid to rest in 2003 but only with an outcry from people who knew something magical would be lost. My mother sent me a subscription every year for many years. She loved it. So did I.

Several years later, Phyllis Hoffman revived it. She's done a masterful job of keeping it the same so the long time fans would still love it but she's had to update it. Print magazines have a hard time in the digital age. Print magazines that appeal to women who don't sneer at being feminine are really struggling. But Phyllis keeps at it. I suspect it's now a labor of love rather than a lucrative publication.

I think this is a crying shame, not only for the magazine but for the millions of young women who have no clue about their own feminine magic, allure, power, and mystique. They lost so much when they twerked away their appeal.

The magazine's founding editor was a fabulous woman named Nancy Lindemeyer. The literary quality of the magazine and the breathtaking use of words created a mental and emotional retreat. Reading it each month was nothing less than a series of affirmational moments strung together like smooth, natural pearls. The beauty of the magazine was portrayed by a talented photographer named Toshi Otsuki. (He is now retired and living in Japan. Fan Note: He survived the tsunami and devastation in 2011.)

His body of work arrested us, soothed us, and helped us dream. Other photographers did beautiful work in the pages of the magazine but his set the tone for how we interacted. From a branding standpoint, his work is the one that taught me how important it is to tell a visual story. I went back to photography school in 2003 and I brought pictures from Victoria Magazine. I said to my teacher that if I could make images like this, THEN (and only then) could I call myself a photographer.

Of course, my teachers taught me to make pictures for every need. Fashion, Products, Journalism, Lifestyle. I found I liked shooting still life, food, and homes. I like Fine Art imagery and images that engage the emotions...positive emotions, anyway.  Of course, I found my own style but I remained inspired by Toshi Otsuki's work.

Then, recently, I found a post on Buzzfeed that was insulting the magazine.  I gasped right in my heart. Not only for the "Mean Girl" jeer at my glorious mentor but for the Mean Girl herself. The hateful littleness.

She didn't get it. She completely missed it. Hard, like a swan dive onto concrete and it hurt to watch. 

Yes, she got the smallness. She understood the fun of deriding an old, fusty magazine. She poked nastily at the silliness of Being Feminine. She dropped an F-Bomb for the shock value. (Honey, we know all about it. Yawn) The Vintage clothes. The blue and white dishes. The gardens and the wisteria, which she ignorantly labeled as violets. The romantic bed that she was sure no man would want to visit. (Ahem. Nakedly revealing that she knows not one THING about men. Guys perhaps, but not Men.

I feel sorry for her and I realize that that poor girl is lost in her own coolness. Really. Lost as in ignorant of so many of the basics of being a woman. Like OMG Totes. (Where is her MOTHER?)

One day, it'll hit this girl-child the way life hits us all and she'll find herself wanting a spa moment just to chase away the hurts, sickness, losses, fears, and worries that are always embedded in real life. A child of her heart will hand her a drooping rose and she will begin to understand the soul of a rose. A note from her childhood is in an old box somewhere. She'll find it one day and understand the value in old written words.

So. That's her issue.

But. BUT. 

Here is something women need to do. We need to link hands and share what we know so this kind of ignorance is educated out of existence. Life Ignorance is just awful to watch.

We need to keep Victoria's spirit alive.
So go order a subscription and send it to your daughters, nieces, and grandchildren. Share and link it on facebook. If you own a female-oriented business, advertise in it.

Just do it.