A scavenge through the archives of the SVA Periodicals Collection can take you to some strange and wonderful corners of print history. Perhaps you want to see the first-ever issue of Print magazine from 1940, or sift through some Playboys from the 1960s (for the articles, obviously), or maybe you just want to be introduced to a publication you would otherwise have never heard of or had access to. Take Photo Metro, for example. Photo Metro was a free San Francisco-based publication, published 10 times yearly, that focused on photography. You probably haven’t heard of it, given that it has long been out of print, unless you are a photography mag nerd of the highest order (if so, we commend you). The collection is in possession of several dozen issues of Photo Metro, with volumes ranging from 1985 to 2000. While its format is similar in size to the glossies of the earlier part of the 20th Century, its pages (which have held up nicely) are produced in what one might call an unpretentious manner (it was issued on newsprint until the later issues). It relied less on high end printing techniques, and more on providing uniformly good-quality content. In an uncredited note from the November 1991 issue of the magazine, there is mention of a large forest fire that devastated the Oakland and Berkeley Hills in California. The note remarks upon the significant amount of times those affected by the fire lament in particular the loss of “their photographs - the documentation of their personal histories and memory.” This comment speaks to the ethos of the publication more generally - to uphold and celebrate the archival, artistic, and personal value of the photograph. See below for a peek into the Photo Metro archives, and, as always, come by the library for a better look.
A woman with wet hair and an exposed collarbone.
An elderly couple dances.
November 1991
Cows in a field.
March 1991
June/July 1989
A group of women in cowgirl outfits dance beside hay barrels.