Industry News: Photo District News Has Been Folded

By David Schonauer   Tuesday January 28, 2020

Photo District News, or PDN, has been folded.

PDN’s current owner, Emerald Expositions, has confirmed that the print edition of the magazine will no longer be published, and that no new content will be added to its online edition. Rangefinder magazine, also owned by Emerald Expositions, will continue to be published.

“The PDN online content will not vanish, and we’re looking for ways to ensure that what content there is will continue to be easily accessible, but there won’t be new content,” said a spokesperson for Emerald Expositions, which operates business-to-business trade shows in the United States, including the PhotoPlus show in New York and the WPPI show in Las Vegas, the largest trade show for wedding and portrait photographers and filmmakers. Both trade shows will continue.

The move to fold PDN was made “to deliver what our most active and engaged market was looking for, and that was more content and information around Rangefinder and WPPI. We also wanted to create a content platform that supported the PhotoPlus community,” said the Emerald Expositions spokesperson. “That meant evolving our portfolio to no longer include PDN.”

The fate of PDN’s ancillary publications, including the PDN Annual and PDN’s 30 — an influential spotlight of emerging talent — has yet to fully be determined.

“Those are things we would like to service the market with, though we may need to reimagine them,” said the Emerald Expositions spokesperson. “The PDN 30 in particular is a really important channel for rising photographers.”

A statement from the company, including information on how current PDN subscription fulfillment will be dealt with, will be coming “in a few days,” said the company’s spokesperson.

First published in 1980, Photo District News quickly became a mainstay of the professional photography industry.

According to its Wikipedia page, PDN “was founded by Carl S. Pugh, who was working as a photographer's assistant and sought more freelance work. He inquired as to the best way to advertise his services and was told to post a note on the community bulletin boards found at local businesses frequented by professional photographers. This sparked the idea to create a newsletter for the loose-knit community of professional photographers who populated the inexpensive loft spaces along lower Fifth Avenue.”

In 1983, PDN launched the trade show Photo Expo, since renamed PhotoPlus. Pugh sold PDN and the show to Adweek in 1984. In 2015 Time magazine declared that PDN's annual list of "30 New and Emerging Photographers" was "the go-to outlet to discover up-and-coming photographers, determined on the basis of creativity, versatility and distinctive vision.”

Under the direction of longtime editor Holly Stuart Hughes, PDN became a indispensable source of inspiration and information for professional photographers. PDN journalist David Walker’s coverage of legal matters affecting professionals was of critical importance to pros navigating the complexities of copyright law.


  1. Lisa Powers commented on: January 28, 2020 at 2:05 p.m.
    OMG! I'm saddened to hear that PDN will no longer publish. Holly Hughes has been the voice for commercial photographers and helped launch many careers, including mine. Thank you Holly!
  1. commented on: January 28, 2020 at 3:01 p.m.
    Well put Lisa.
  1. Steve Langerman commented on: January 28, 2020 at 2:19 p.m.
    So very sad to hear about PDN - I have fond memories of the PHoto District back in the early 80's when I had a studio near the Flatiron building, even though the area was a bit on the rough side. And PDN helped launch my list business when I put a little ad in their classified section near the back.
  1. commented on: January 28, 2020 at 3:02 p.m.
    I remember those ads Steve - they worked!
  1. commented on: January 28, 2020 at 3:01 p.m.
    PDN has been the Gold Standard of our industry on the shooting side for decades. I can't imagine a photography industry without this important voice. Holly Hughes, David Walker & David Schonauer have been among the people I count on most often to tell me "what's what" in our business. This publication will be sorely missed and silencing their talent in curating what was current - and what was coming next - is a deep loss for us all.
  1. Dennie Cody commented on: January 28, 2020 at 7:25 p.m.
    What a loss to the photo community!!!
  1. Sean Sullivan commented on: January 28, 2020 at 9:28 p.m.
    PDN used to be a great publication about 10 years ago. I enjoyed their special pull out sections for the Self-Promotion issues but the creativity really stagnated and the articles suffered as a result. The gear reviews were also months and months behind. When I cancelled my subscription a year ago they were relentless in trying to get me to resubscribe through phone calls, emails and mailings. I had never seen such a media blitz in trying to regain a subscription and it bordered on harassment. That alone told me they were in trouble and I'm glad I didn't subscribe because no one is getting their money back now.
  1. Brad Trent commented on: January 29, 2020 at 12:18 a.m.
    Ugh.....while the news of PDN’s demise I should truly sad, I can’t act too surprised. Like so many other print-based publications, PDN had an extremely hard time locking in new (young!) subscribers not used to paying for content...and in the end, that all too familiar storyline ended up killing them. I’ve seen over then past 3-4 years how the magazine has become nothing more than a catalogue/brochure for product manufacturers, and honestly, that was never a way to attract new subscribers. And the other side of the business...PhotoPlus...has seen its attendance decimated by lack of (young) interest! So as sad as it is to see this once great resource fade away, maybe it’s just time...everything evolves...I’m sure we’ll all weather the storm.

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