This piece from today's CBS Sunday Morning profiling Dr. Steven Lomazow, who owns 83,000 magazines, struck a chord with me.
For most of my life, I was a magazine junkie. I would buy a dozen or more new titles every week, devouring their design, their content, their personality. I would keep the ones I liked best, or — more commonly — keep tear sheets. I still have a gigantic collection of tear sheets that I recently digitized.
I liked magazines enough that they became the core of my eventual career, first in porn, then in teen magazines. Fifteen-plus years spent in their conception and production.
I also still do own a lot of magazines, though I have not regularly bought from the newsstand in a regular way in years. My collection of beefcake and gay-related magazines is no longer special, but I do have well over 2,000 Madonna cover magazines. Interestingly, one of the magazines Lomazow pulled for a recent exhibition of his collection was the first magazine to feature Madonna on its full cover — Island (1983).
We will never go back to magazines. They were a democratic institution that was eventually voted out. I miss them, and more than that, I miss that love I had for them. I can't be bothered to read a new magazine, let alone buy one, but I do still stoke the embers of that passion by continuing to acquire vintage Madonna covers.
Like Dr. Lomazow, I have a lot of magazines — but also like him, I will never have all of the ones I want. Collectors, hoarders, archivists are all intertwined, and we all share a desire to acquire that fills some kind of hole, harmless or otherwise.
More about Lomazow's American-slanted archive, which specializes in first issues, here.