PopPhoto is Dead, Again

PopPhoto Obit

After shuttering in 2017 and reviving in 2021 as an online-only magazine, Popular Photography — colloquially known as PopPhoto — has let go its last staff members and is effectively dead once again.

The last of PopPhoto‘s staff has been let go from the publication this month, PetaPixel has learned. While the website is still available to peruse, the most recent story was published several weeks ago (the Black Friday deals story was published well in advance of the popular shopping day). Sources say that no current dedicated staff members are contributing to the site, although some maintenance may be taking place with help from its sister site, Popular Science.

Popular Photography did not respond to a request for comment.

After shutting down in 2017, PopPhoto was revived from the dead in December 2021 by Recurrent Ventures, a digital media company that operates online publications such as Futurism, Popular Science, Dwell, and The Drive, among others.

Recurrent relaunched Popular Photography behind former DPReview editor Dan Bracaglia who left the then Amazon-owned publication to lead the revival.

Screenshot of the most recent home page of PopPhoto.com
The homepage of PopPhoto, November 27, 2023.

“This relaunch marks the introduction of a new editorial team, a refreshed design, and more. The new popphoto.com will include regular coverage of smartphone photography and social media, how-to’s for all skill levels, cultural commentary, and reviews of new and used cameras and gear—all with an eye towards accessibility and affordability,” Recurrent wrote in 2021.

According to social media, Bracaglia remained at PopPhoto for just one year as Recurrent began to rein in its investment in the once-renowned publication. It then operated the site with a bare-bones team that focused on deals and reviews over the next year. The previous commitment to “regular coverage” was pulled back significantly.

While at the time of publication, PopPhoto is still listed as an owned publication by Recurrent, the website is effectively only online as an archive now unless Recurrent reinvests in the site — a move that doesn’t appear likely given its history with the brand.

At its peak, Popular Photography magazine — which was owned and operated by the Bonnier Corporation until it was closed the first time (and which now focuses its efforts on fishing, boating, motorsports, and hunting magazines) — had a circulation of nearly one million. When the physical magazine shut down, that number had fallen to 320,000 according to the most recent media kit at the time.

In related news, Popular Science will no longer publish a printed version of the magazine for the first time in its 151 year history following a series of layoffs that left around five editorial staff members and “a few” others on the commerce team, Axios reports. Recurrent will transition PopSci to a fully digital strategy behind a new CEO — the third in three years.

Update 11/28: The original story incorrectly stated that Popular Mechanics was part of Recurrent Venture’s portfolio. We apologize for the error.