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Author Topic: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?  (Read 49809 times)
RSL
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« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2009, 09:09:31 AM »
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Quote from: bob mccarthy
Isn't this forum "Luminous LANDSCAPE".

Don't get me wrong I really enjoy street, documentary, social commentary, and other forms of photography,

but rocks and trees are pretty much the mother earth of a landscape photographer.

Too call a guy wooly bearded describes a bunch of us.

What were you thinking....


bob

Bob, I didn't realize that "Luminous Landscape" was to be taken so literally. If you're right, and if we're supposed to limit our appreciation on this forum to lanscapes only, then I apologize.

Actually it's not the woolly beard idea that bothers me, it's the idea that academic credentials can turn someone into an "artist." In my own experience, if a man makes that claim it usually turns out that he also has a woolly beard. If a woman makes that claim it usually turns out that she goes by three names.

That's what I was thinking.
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RSL
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« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2009, 09:20:12 AM »
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Quote from: whawn
I swear I saw some rocks and trees on your website, Russ.

Mea culpa, Walter. But it's pretty hard to shoot pictures in Colorado without catching a few rocks and trees in the background -- unless you're shooting inside. If you look closely you'll notice that the pictures of western ghosts, which sometimes include rocks and trees, are actually about ghostly artifacts left behind by humans, not about rocks and trees.

But I envy you picking up one of Ansel's prints for $15 in 1967. That was the period when I was going into the mountains west of Colorado Springs with a view camera and carefully following Ansel's teaching in his books. Even though I very much prefer the people side of photography I still can appreciate a finely wrought B&W print, and Ansel wrought them more finely than anyone. On the other hand, during that same period I was picking up a whole collection of what now are pretty valuable books of photographs from a second-hand and rare book shop in Colorado Springs.
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whawn
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« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2009, 01:12:49 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Bob, I didn't realize that "Luminous Landscape" was to be taken so literally. If you're right, and if we're supposed to limit our appreciation on this forum to lanscapes only, then I apologize.
For myself, I've always taken the 'landscape' part to be figurative.  Seems to me that the 'Landscape' can encompass everything illuminated.  And I'll agree that the human element is part of the literal landscape, and so photography within a city can be 'landscape' photography.  I believe the 'natural' landscape carries or enhances the soul of the human, and that without the land, the rocks and the trees, the human withers.  The landscape, as illuminated by Adams, or by Constable, can be a grand thing, lofting the soul.  Or it can be mundane and less, displaying the ugly (which nature, unadorned, can provide in excelsis, without the help of humankind), the choice is that of the artist.  

Adams often included the works of man within his rocks and trees.  "Moonrise...," famously so, and there is a lesser known but very fine work from 1951, "Silverton, Colorado."
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Walter Hawn -- Casper, Wyoming
RSL
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« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2009, 01:26:17 PM »
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Quote from: whawn
For myself, I've always taken the 'landscape' part to be figurative.  Seems to me that the 'Landscape' can encompass everything illuminated.  And I'll agree that the human element is part of the literal landscape, and so photography within a city can be 'landscape' photography.  I believe the 'natural' landscape carries or enhances the soul of the human, and that without the land, the rocks and the trees, the human withers.  The landscape, as illuminated by Adams, or by Constable, can be a grand thing, lofting the soul.  Or it can be mundane and less, displaying the ugly (which nature, unadorned, can provide in excelsis, without the help of humankind), the choice is that of the artist.  

Adams often included the works of man within his rocks and trees.  "Moonrise...," famously so, and there is a lesser known but very fine work from 1951, "Silverton, Colorado."

Quite so. "Moonrise, Hernandez" has been one of my favorites of his for years and "Sliverton" is another good one. An even better one is "Woman behind screen door, Independence, California 1944." When he photographed people and their artifacts he did good work. I think one reason he didn't do more of it is that he got typecast as a landscape photographer and was never able to break out of the mold.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2009, 04:06:12 PM »
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RSL,  

I don't have any particular axe to grind here, but you said, twice, that you didn't think that credentials implied artistic merit. Did anyone suggest they did?

Maybe landscapes don't do it for you, but it seems a little closed minded to presume that only artistic pursuits that appeal to you have value. You're free to think that, of course, but I don't believe that's how it works.
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« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2009, 04:39:07 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
There are lots of rocks and trees in Canada -- but there are also a lot of warm, wonderful people there.
Some with a sense of humour, even.  
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bob mccarthy
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« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2009, 07:03:03 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Bob, I didn't realize that "Luminous Landscape" was to be taken so literally. If you're right, and if we're supposed to limit our appreciation on this forum to lanscapes only, then I apologize.

Actually it's not the woolly beard idea that bothers me, it's the idea that academic credentials can turn someone into an "artist." In my own experience, if a man makes that claim it usually turns out that he also has a woolly beard. If a woman makes that claim it usually turns out that she goes by three names.

That's what I was thinking.

No one ever said the LL was an exclusive site devoted solely to landscape photography. When you spend some time with us you would note that the owner is a guy that does many types of photography, but principally works in landscape and does videos and reviews somewhat focused on the landscape genre. He is very broad in his acceptance of different forms of photography and controversial viewpoints.

I would say that landscape is a common thread of most of the people who frequent the site.

When you threw the original grenade into the room, and I'll say you didn't make any friends by dissing Ctein, who many respect as a skilled practitioner of the art.
 
I would describe your attitude as arrogant and a bit small minded. There is room for us all. Nothing wrong with discussing any particular viewpoint, but just dismissing artists who are generally held in high esteem is not a way to make friends, only enemies.

bob
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 09:27:21 PM by bob mccarthy » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2009, 04:53:50 AM »
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Quote from: bob mccarthy
I would describe your attitude as arrogant and a bit small minded. There is room for us all. Nothing wrong with discussing any particular viewpoint, but just dismissing artists who are generally held in high esteem is not a way to make friends, only enemies.

bob



Bob, why should it matter about making friends, as you put it? I refer you to my last post in this thread where I mention the fact that all (photographers) have these huge feet of clay. I would suggest that the problem with belief in "icons" is that you are ultimately setting yourself, and the rest of the world, up for a huge disappointment. It might take time, but it will come.

From musicians that one thought god-like during those years of youth to painters and certainly photographers one admired, there is something in the experience that does not endure. The sad reality always breaks through in the end and you come to realise that you have been a player in the age-old game of blind faith.

Thatīs part of the problem with icons in the current, popular meaning of the term: they become icons because of public clamour, press hype and precious little intrinsic merit. Invidious to make an example, but simply to illustrate the point by raising the question: without his homosexual noise, would anybody have given a snap of the fingers for anything else that came from the toil of Mr Mapplethorpe?

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2009, 06:19:11 AM »
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Quote from: bob mccarthy
No one ever said the LL was an exclusive site devoted solely to landscape photography.

Well, I guess it's possible for sarcasm to be too subtle to be effective.

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RSL
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« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2009, 06:42:14 AM »
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Quote from: Robert Roaldi
I don't have any particular axe to grind here, but you said, twice, that you didn't think that credentials implied artistic merit. Did anyone suggest they did?

Robert, If you haven't already done so, check http://ctein.com/whoami.htm. Here's a subtle, unassuming artist's statement if there ever was one. (Maybe that sarcasm is too subtle too.)

Come on, folks. Real artists don't make wild claims about their own accomplishments, or statements like, "What ties my work together is a consistent and coherent artistic vision." He calls this a "modest effort at self-promotion." One has to wonder what an immodest one would look like.
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2009, 02:35:28 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Robert, If you haven't already done so, check http://ctein.com/whoami.htm. Here's a subtle, unassuming artist's statement if there ever was one. (Maybe that sarcasm is too subtle too.)

Come on, folks. Real artists don't make wild claims about their own accomplishments, or statements like, "What ties my work together is a consistent and coherent artistic vision." He calls this a "modest effort at self-promotion." One has to wonder what an immodest one would look like.

Russ, you absolutely have the right to your opinion regarding the merit of Ctein's work as art. Different strokes and all that. But your comments descend to the level of ad hominem attacks on an exceedingly talented individual. I would strongly recommend that you find a copy of Ctein's book Post Exposure, the smartest discussion you will ever find of the perceptual and physical underpinnings of photography. Simply brilliant stuff.
You might also want to withhold judgment until you have a chance to actually see some of Ctein's dye transfer work in person. I love my Z3100 and I think I can make an excellent print; but the color purity and impact of a dye transfer print is in another league.
Finally, the art world is all about self-promotion. Ctein's academic and scientific credentials lend a bit more weight to his writing than your average blogger in mom's basement. "Real artists" make lots of claims about the quality of their artistic vision and technique. It's called marketing. And there are several words for artists who never make any effort to publicize their skill or promote their talents. "Failure" and "hobbyist" come to mind.
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Rob C
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« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2009, 03:40:01 PM »
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Quote from: Geoff Wittig
Ctein's academic and scientific credentials lend a bit more weight to his writing than your average blogger in mom's basement. "Real artists" make lots of claims about the quality of their artistic vision and technique. It's called marketing. And there are several words for artists who never make any effort to publicize their skill or promote their talents. "Failure" and "hobbyist" come to mind.


Geoff, thatīs a little bit harsh too. We have already seen where Ph.Ds can take discussion in another thread just recently; education has its place - a huge one - but qualifications per se are no answer to lifeīs imponderables. In fact, if you take the idea into the world of public services and local government even, you find that many of those sitting in the top jobs are very qualified academically but totally incapable of getting the refuse collected and the busses running on time - or at all. I am no spring chicken unfortunately, and in my inevitably longish experience of people from many different backgrounds and walks of life, I have noted that those with lesser scholastic achievements are often the ones at the top of the economic totem pole, the ones that can make things happen.

So no, I wouldnīt put a heap of credibility on someone just because they can scribble some abbreviations after their name.

Your reference to "real artists" making claims about their art: you call it marketing; I could also call it bullshit. It all depends from which angle you care to view it, or even whether you have the nose to sniff it at ten metres. Interesting that you concatenate failure and hobbyist.

Rob C
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2009, 05:22:51 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Geoff, thatīs a little bit harsh too. We have already seen where Ph.Ds can take discussion in another thread just recently; education has its place - a huge one - but qualifications per se are no answer to lifeīs imponderables. In fact, if you take the idea into the world of public services and local government even, you find that many of those sitting in the top jobs are very qualified academically but totally incapable of getting the refuse collected and the busses running on time - or at all. I am no spring chicken unfortunately, and in my inevitably longish experience of people from many different backgrounds and walks of life, I have noted that those with lesser scholastic achievements are often the ones at the top of the economic totem pole, the ones that can make things happen.

So no, I wouldnīt put a heap of credibility on someone just because they can scribble some abbreviations after their name.

Your reference to "real artists" making claims about their art: you call it marketing; I could also call it bullshit. It all depends from which angle you care to view it, or even whether you have the nose to sniff it at ten metres. Interesting that you concatenate failure and hobbyist.

Rob C

Projection, perhaps. Seeing as how I generally fall into the hobbyst category.  
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RSL
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« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2009, 07:35:41 PM »
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Quote from: Geoff Wittig
You might also want to withhold judgment until you have a chance to actually see some of Ctein's dye transfer work in person. I love my Z3100 and I think I can make an excellent print; but the color purity and impact of a dye transfer print is in another league.
Finally, the art world is all about self-promotion. Ctein's academic and scientific credentials lend a bit more weight to his writing than your average blogger in mom's basement. "Real artists" make lots of claims about the quality of their artistic vision and technique. It's called marketing. And there are several words for artists who never make any effort to publicize their skill or promote their talents. "Failure" and "hobbyist" come to mind.

Geoff, It's not a question of seeing his stuff in its original state. I love Ansel Adams's original prints too. He's a marvelous mechanic. But that doesn't make photographic landscapes any more significant. Looking at a photograph, Walker Evans once said, "That's a beautiful sunrise..." and then added, "So what?" Precisely. I agree with him. I've seen landscape paintings that really blew me away -- gripped me -- made me sit down in the museum in front of them and stay a while. I've never seen anything like that in photography.

As far as self-promotion is concerned, marketing certainly is about promotion but it seems to me that what I'd consider successful artists get promoted mostly by people other than themselves. The kind of self-promotion this guy's doing should be embarassing to him and to anyone who reads it. As far as self-promotion is concerned, walk into a museum some time and look at the crap "artists" write about their work and about themselves. It's the same kind of thing, and it usually leaves me ROTFL because the people writing it haven't a clue about the English language. This guy isn't in the same league. He knows how to write, so he should know better.

As far as the average blogger in mom's basement is concerned, considering the condition of our "news" media and the veracity of the credentialed "reporters" writing for them, all I can say is thank God we have bloggers in mom's basement.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 10:16:31 AM by RSL » Logged

viewfinder
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« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2009, 05:20:08 AM »
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I'm quite sure Ctein is a wonderful, intelligent and clever man.........

..........Unfortuntately, no amount of those undoubted attributes makes one an 'artist'.    Ctein is obviously a very skilled photographer, but I see nothing on his website that is any different to the million other photo sites of snapshooters despite his claim that; "everyone who has seen my work declares it unparalleled."...( a touch of humility would'nt come amiss!)

We can argue for days about what constitutes 'art', however, the real test for me is whether an image has the power to get me to return to it again and again.    In the case of Ctein, the images are good solid snapshots of many different subjects but none have anything other than the usual 'so what' apeal.

The truth is that there are millions of people clicking cameras and it's getting easier to do so it's only human nature to imagine that what you're doing must be art because it 'feels' artistic.

Unfortunately there is rather more to it than that.........
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Rob C
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« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2009, 05:36:15 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
As far as the average blogger in mom's basement is concerned, considering the condition of our "news" media and the veracity of the credentialed "reporters" writing for them, all I can say is thank God we have bloggers in mom's basement.


Or even people like us!

At the moment, on British TV we have an overdose of media attention applied to a woman who was considered a total no-no when she was on one of those stupid shows where people live together for whatever reason and are watched by TV cameras (what a waste of resources and crew). Unfortunately for her, she has now reached what is claimed to be a terminal state of cancer, and all is forgiven, and we are fed daily reports about her condition.

As some may know, my own wife died of cancer in November last. I donīt need daily TV reminders of my loss, I live with it all day and every day. (Unbelievably, the guy who is behind her in the rôle of PR agent is a man who once enjoyed a Coke on my terrace out here in Spain. To make things even worse, his own wife, I believe was killed by the disease.) I wonder just how many other people like me are being slapped in the face and their emotions torn to bits in the pursuit of nothing but sensational junk. I guess itīs the age-old thing about public interest being confused with public curiosity - as if the media didnīt really know!

I have every sympahy for the woman in question. I know too damn well what she is facing and that nobody deserves it. She is not the problem, she has the problem. What is unforgivable is the way that it has all been turned, willingly, into a circus intended to raise money for her children via the disease, instant weddings, christenings and God alone knows what other spectacles.  And the hell with everybody else.

So with reference to your comment about the media, it does truly suck.

Rob C
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2009, 06:04:09 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Geoff, It's not a question of seeing his stuff in its original state. I love Ansel Adams's original prints too. He's a marvelous mechanic. But that doesn't make photographic landscapes any more significant. Walker Evans once said, "That's a beautiful sunrise..." and then added, "So what?" Precisely. I agree with him. I've seen landscape paintings that really blew me away -- gripped me -- made me sit down in the museum in front of them and stay a while. I've never seen anything like that in photography.

I guess I can see where you're coming from regarding art, though I still disagree. The prevailing post-modern view of art is that the intellectual concept, the clever idea or conceit behind the work, is all that matters. "Mere craftsmanship" is not only devalued, it's positively disparaged as trivial. This is what lies beneath everything from Andy Warhol's Campbell soup cans to the $12 million stuffed shark highlighted by a recent book on the art market.

Certainly there are compelling photographs that can aspire to 'art' which are technically flawed and crudely printed. But gosh, I'd like something better for my money. If immaculately printed black & white landscape photos ala Ansel Adams leave you cold, that's your privilege. But the craftsmanship is just as important to me as the 'high concept'.
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RSL
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« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2009, 09:59:51 AM »
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Quote from: Geoff Wittig
I guess I can see where you're coming from regarding art, though I still disagree. The prevailing post-modern view of art is that the intellectual concept, the clever idea or conceit behind the work, is all that matters. "Mere craftsmanship" is not only devalued, it's positively disparaged as trivial. This is what lies beneath everything from Andy Warhol's Campbell soup cans to the $12 million stuffed shark highlighted by a recent book on the art market.

Certainly there are compelling photographs that can aspire to 'art' which are technically flawed and crudely printed. But gosh, I'd like something better for my money. If immaculately printed black & white landscape photos ala Ansel Adams leave you cold, that's your privilege. But the craftsmanship is just as important to me as the 'high concept'.

Geoff, That's not where I'm coming from. I have absolutely no use for anything like "Piss Christ," Andy Warhol's put-ons, or anything like that. Talk about ROTFL: A year or so ago there was a story -- in the Wall Street Journal I think -- about a Museum janitor who was fired because, during the night, he swept up and dumped an "installation" that consisted of junk. I'm sure the "artist" who set up the installation had a "high concept." Wish I could have read his artist's statement. It probably was a classic.

Ansel's prints don't "leave me cold." As I've explained above, I learned a lot from his books. I have a great deal of respect for fine craftsmanship. I was a software engineer for 30 years, with my own small software company. Occasionally I'd see code so beautifully crafted it could bring tears to your eyes, but it didn't give me the kind of transcendental experience I'd call art. What I look for is a face-to-face meeting with something I can't describe in words. In a different thread I put it this way:

"If the experience you have when you look at a photograph isn't transcendental -- if it doesn't "penetrate the illusions of reality" -- if you actually can explain in words what's important about the image, then it isn't "art." It may be beautiful, it may satisfy the rule of thirds, it may have diagonals, repitition, etc., etc., and it may be significant in some temporal way, but unless the transcendental experience is there, it isn't art."

That's where I'm coming from. I certainly don't look for photographs that are "technically flawed or crudely printed," but sometimes the significance of what's there overcomes flaws. What do you think about Cartier-Bresson's early work -- from, say, the twenties? Some of it is slightly out of focus, but I'm not sure the flaw makes those photographs something less than art. The craft is weak but to my eye the pictures don't "aspire to art," they are art. In fact, they're more art than a lot of his later, well-crafted pictures made to fill out a picture story. His Moscow book comes to mind.

Of course, "art" is always in the eye of the beholder. The question at the start of this thread was, "Does Ctein have 100 true fans?" I suggested that he might but that I'm not one of them. If Ctein's snaps give you a transcendental experience, enjoy it.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2009, 10:13:52 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
If there is a problem, it is the knee-jerk reactionaries who feel obliged to defend every icon...
Rob C
I think if there is a problem it is also the knee-jerk reactionaries who feel obliged to disparage every icon.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 10:18:07 AM by walter.sk » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2009, 10:23:40 AM »
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Quote from: walter.sk
I think if there is a problem it is also the knee-jerk reactionaries who feel obliged to disparage every icon.

If somebody considers himself an icon he deserves to be disparaged. Anyone considering himself a photographic "artist" needs to read Brooks Jensen's book, Letting Go of the Camera."
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