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Author Topic: The evolution of professional photography  (Read 9479 times)
Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2010, 07:17:42 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I recently saw on Bloomberg a wealthy South American entrepreneur giving the advice that you should never fall in love with your business. I think that illustrates our next greatest failure as businessmen.
Rob C
It is difficult to imagine a painter making much of an impression without "falling in love with their business" ..or their craft", and work can be enjoyable.

I think that pictorial photographers should regard themselves as picture makers or imaginographers rather that just "photographers".
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2010, 07:30:59 AM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I can't actually believe I am reading this!

Rob are you seriously suggesting that Photographers should be "licensed", only permitted to practise if they have passed an exam or attained a qualification or some accreditation from a recognised body?

Every working photographer is already assessed, and that is by the clients who hire them. We're not doctors..there is an art element here! Should painters who sell their work be licensed too?
I've seen some posts on forums, but this is up to an almost unrivalled level of snobbery..with respect Rob, you're about as off the mark as is possible.
There is a lot more competition around, we know that..but if you're any good it should not have a massive impact on your business.

I'm dead against trying to "measure", evaluate photographers or license them, and I in no way consider myself a chancer..

In Germany you need a license to shoot weddings and if I remember right you needed to qualify. Can't really fault them for that either, one in a lifetime chance to get it right every wedding you shoot, no different than passing an exam.

I'm a wedding shooter and our business has changed fast and drastically. I'm not going to expound on all the details other than to say that it has become plainly apparent that if you stay still you die. Period. Video has been in the profession for decades so it's not the threat per se, you can't shoot a wedding with full coverage and give full coverage with video as well. Heck most wedding video is done with multiple cameras anyway. These days so is the photography with a 2nd shooter almost standard. The idea that 4 people (2 camera, 2 vide) can be replaced by 1 combo cam is a joke. However the two products are coming together and fast which is why I'm looking to offer photo+video packages with combined output.

What has become more and more apparent is that we have to provide much more for significantly less (compared to what it would have cost) because if we don't then someone else will. Same as in fashion where the shooter is now the photographer, AD and lab all in one and not making any more. The emphasis has become streamlining workflow to manage all the extra, not just shots but styles, added 'this years fashion' processing, albums, webpages, etc.

I'm not going to stick my head in the sand. There is a lot of young talent out there producing work which is equal or better, often much better than the old brigade. They're doing it with joke equipment, no backup, little insurance if any and very questionable business practices. The client only sees the portfolio however and if this person is capturing a wedding better and far more in line with the age group of the bride then the old fuddy duddy with his studio, hordes of equipment and assistants, immaculate posing, etc is going to starve and probably has been for a while.

Do more, better and for less. Photography in this decade. Stand still and die. There is no time to have your head in the sand because the younger and newer crowd are faster, more modern, more numerous and far more hungry than you.  Oh and a good percentage are better than you too whether you like it or not.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2010, 07:40:01 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I recently saw on Bloomberg a wealthy South American entrepreneur giving the advice that you should never fall in love with your business.

Good advice for investors, terrible advice for entrepreneurs.  He must have been an investor.
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Joe Behar
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2010, 08:41:57 AM »
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Quote from: Schewe
Well, tell that to the clients who are demanding smaller and smaller creative fees because they can just "fix it in post"...

It ain't the photographers that are pushing to fix it after the fact, it's the friggin' clients who won't pay top $$$ to have a true photographic craftsman spend a few days setting up and testing a shot. Look, in the 1980' and 1990's I would think nothing of booking out 2-3 days of PREPRO just for setting up a shot and testing out the lighting. and that was at $1K a day...you tell me where to find clients willing to pay a photographer to "dwell" on the creation of an image BEFORE the image has been captured?

I'm sure the photographers you work with (you sound like a digital tech) are trying really, really hard to get stuff right in capture. But if you were to ask them (if they would tell you and if they were old enough) what is it like now vs back when they were shooting film 10-15 years ago, gotta tell ya, they would be lying if they said it was more fun (and more money) now vs then.

Unless you are over 35-45 years old, you simply don't know what it was like then than vs now–and that has taken a lot of fun out of working as a pro.

Schewe,

A couple of clarifications.

I'm 52 years old, so yes, I remember the 80's and 90's very well. Most all of my clients are my age, give or take a few years.

I'm not a digital tech, I'm a sales rep, so my job is to get my clients the best possible value for their money and share whatever knowledge I have on things that have helped commercial photographers in my market area.

You're right that few clients today are willing to pay thousands to set up a shot, but they are willing to pay up front to get a great shot that requires a minimum of post work. From what my successful clients tell me, its a matter of education and convincing the young ADs that technology alone won't solve their problems, they still need a craftsman.

As far as the fun part goes, I guess it depends on what you consider fun. Some of my clients love the process, while other get excited over the finished shot.

At the end of the day, there is no doubt that things ain't what they used to be. Some things are better, some are not, but we have to deal with it and try our damnest to keep photography at the forefront for as long as we can.
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Joe Behar
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2010, 08:42:18 AM »
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Sorry,

Double post
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 08:43:03 AM by Joe Behar » Logged
Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2010, 09:06:52 AM »
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Quote from: Ben Rubinstein
In Germany you need a license to shoot weddings and if I remember right you needed to qualify. Can't really fault them for that either, one in a lifetime chance to get it right every wedding you shoot, no different than passing an exam.
The last competent wedding photographer I saw was using glass plates (and the bride now has adult grandchildren), and I can see the logic of licensing... but couples see photographers' portfolios and that would seem adequate.

It would be nice if Professional Photographers' institutions awarded qualifications that meant something, and were recognized ¿and required? by clients.

Any reply to topic Professional Photographers' Institutions, please.
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hsmeets
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« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2010, 09:23:10 AM »
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What has been discussed in previous post is not limited to photogaphy only. It happens everywhere, technology changes the world we live in and touches all aspects, financially, socially, etc etc in positive and negative ways. But what positive or what negative is, depends on who you are and what part you play in theather piece called "life".

I think of some years ago when photographers embraced digital: no more lab and film costs, faster results, etc as the main reason to dump film. It proved to be a limited view on the impact of a photographers life as the new tools also allowed new-comers or people having digital camera's that later became AD's and extrapolated that personal experience into the day job.

I have an IT job, in the good'ol'days we created software ourselves, programmed it ourselves. Then standard software came, hooray we said as we no longer need to programm ourselves (as tedious and costly as sending film to a lab and also you needed special traained and skilled people), jobs changed from programming to application specialist tweaking settings of the software, skills needed changed:  less IT more Business. Some users started to tweak the software too, the super-user was born.

And the 'landscape' it still changing, with the adoption of internet and ever increasing band-width, business users more and more turn away from the classic IT department and start to source there solution themselves (bypass IT) as more and more system are hosted online and no longer need involvement of specialezed IT staff. Costs are nothing compared to when we programmed it all ourselves.

Internet is great, but within 10 years many companies can close their IT departments. Except maybe for a small number of people taking care of some hardware like, pc, printers and the internet connection, but the software related part of IT can be made redundant.

I hope you see the parallels with photography.
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Pete Ferling
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2010, 09:40:06 AM »
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Never forget that while the software and hardware upgrades and changes abound, none of that means squat without a capable artist behind the lens.  I love my 40D for live events and concerts.  However, other than seemingly endless ammo of digital vs. film, when I switch the camera to manual, none of that technology matters.
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BFoto
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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2010, 12:47:20 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I do believe that the answer to the problem for pros - and this has been started by Fred as a PRO MATTER and I wish only pros would contribute since only they have anything valid to add - is a mixture of two things: a legal obligation for anyone setting up in business to be obliged to get qualifications and the establishment of a qualifying body with muscle. Something along the lines of the Royal Institutes of Chartered whatevers that represent surveyors et al. Without that visible level of qualification photographers will forever be thought of a chancers with or without a talent and worth no more than that. It is all about being seen to be legitimate practitioners of something.

As far as my mind sees it, only those who suspect they wouldn't make it would object to having to earn the right to practise.

Rob C

That's a fairly elitist statement if ever there was one, but from a baby boomer, i would expect nothing less.

"and I wish only pros would contribute since only they have anything valid to add"
YA what, ok i guess 1/2 the subscribers on this forum should shut up now. Get real.

Define PRO mate? Getting a qualification does not mean you are PRO. If i get a teaching qualification does that entitle me to PRO status and unfetered practice? In the US it does, and look where there education system is going! What about any of the photgraphers who won a category in the International Photographer of the Year Award for non-pro. Did not see your name in the winner list for the Pro's? Do these winners deserve to take this recognition as qualification? I bet most would say it would certainly contribute towards it.

Photography is more than just business, and sad for you if that's all it is.

There is an exiting body of great work out there from 'unqualified' photographers who are just as professional in there practice as you.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 12:48:29 PM by BFoto » Logged

fredjeang
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« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2010, 02:05:14 PM »
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Quote from: BFoto
That's a fairly elitist statement if ever there was one, but from a baby boomer, i would expect nothing less.

"and I wish only pros would contribute since only they have anything valid to add"
YA what, ok i guess 1/2 the subscribers on this forum should shut up now. Get real.

Define PRO mate? Getting a qualification does not mean you are PRO. If i get a teaching qualification does that entitle me to PRO status and unfetered practice? In the US it does, and look where there education system is going! What about any of the photgraphers who won a category in the International Photographer of the Year Award for non-pro. Did not see your name in the winner list for the Pro's? Do these winners deserve to take this recognition as qualification? I bet most would say it would certainly contribute towards it.

Photography is more than just business, and sad for you if that's all it is.

There is an exiting body of great work out there from 'unqualified' photographers who are just as professional in there practice as you.
Hi,
Of course what you point is true, I mean, there is no doubt that the talent and passion does not depend if you are pro or not. But I think that your point is for starting another(s) topic debate, because it is also an important point that would deserve a topic in itself IMO. In my OP, I used Professional in its narrowest sense: someone who's photography is his daily job. Regardless if talented, genious, or not, and I think that it is what Rob was meaning. Excatly let's say like, a plane pilot. There are many people that fly, that are passionate about that and some are really excelent pilots, but the reality involved and the problems etc...are different when you flight as a professional that when you fly your your passion as a private pilot.
When you live daily in a profession there are parameters that simply do not exist for a passionate amateur and vice-versa.
Of course, many amateurs are maybe better photographers or more talented than many pros, no doubt.

Cheers,

Fred.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 02:08:40 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Pete Ferling
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« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2010, 03:06:49 PM »
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I think the point with regards to occupation, is that just having access to tools that were once specialized and expensive is no longer a crutch for keeping the doors open.  Folks should now pay for your expertise and talent.  Such traits cannot be upgraded or manufactured and still require the years of dedication through trial and error.  The advent of technology should actually assist the professional so he or she can focus more on the art and deliver a better end product, and do so in a more timely manner.

We should look upon ourselves and see in which camp we reside: the tech or the art, and therein lies the answer as to whether or not this technology is a menace or blessing.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 03:08:18 PM by Pete Ferling » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2010, 03:53:32 PM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Hi,
Of course what you point is true, I mean, there is no doubt that the talent and passion does not depend if you are pro or not. But I think that your point is for starting another(s) topic debate, because it is also an important point that would deserve a topic in itself IMO. In my OP, I used Professional in its narrowest sense: someone who's photography is his daily job. Regardless if talented, genious, or not, and I think that it is what Rob was meaning. Excatly let's say like, a plane pilot. There are many people that fly, that are passionate about that and some are really excelent pilots, but the reality involved and the problems etc...are different when you flight as a professional that when you fly your your passion as a private pilot.
When you live daily in a profession there are parameters that simply do not exist for a passionate amateur and vice-versa.
Of course, many amateurs are maybe better photographers or more talented than many pros, no doubt.

Cheers,

Fred.


Fred

You are, of course, absolutely right; but that will never stop people seeing slurs where non exist, challenges where they are not offered. For some reason that I can't understand, photography is thought to be in a state of open season to all hunters, licensed or not. Amen. That's why it is being hunted to extinction, just like the poor old blue tuna or sad old tiger.

I have never said that pros are always better photographers; I have often written the opposite, in fact, because I have seen excellent amateur work. But that isn't the point: the point is being respected and paid properly for what you do as a professional and you don't get there by simply saying hey, look at me, I am a great photographer. You should at the very least be able to offer any client the basic assurance that you have studied and passed enough hurdles to ensure that he, the client, can know that you are good enough to produce a reasonable job, that you will not eff up through ignorance, and that you will certainly carry all required business indemnities in case that you do have that unfortunate glitch.

As an aside, I wonder why there is some idea around that if you are qualified you are excluded from having artistic talent, whatever that might actually be, as if the one automatically excluded the other? Strange.

I am amused to see references to old photographers as if they were, somehow, of a different breed. Being professional has nothing to do with age and everything to do with attitude and training. Almost as stupìdly baseless are the accusations of elitism or snobbery because one advocates regulation and the guarantee of a minimum standard of expertise. As I wrote in the post that attracted this bile, I believe that those oppoed are only opposed because they fear they can't cut it through any reasonably stringent examination. I can tell you this: were I offering my money to a photographer I would far rather he were qualified to an accepted national/international standard of excellence than not!

But Fred, what's the point? The horse has long gone and this particular stable turned into a barbecue.

Rob C
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David Sutton
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« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2010, 04:34:31 PM »
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Quote from: BFoto
That's a fairly elitist statement if ever there was one, but from a baby boomer, i would expect nothing less.

And having a chip on your shoulder about your elders entitles you to be aggressive?
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David Sutton
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« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2010, 04:36:04 PM »
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Most industries undergo stressful change at some point. You are very lucky indeed if you are at the peak of your career in a time of stability.
In the music industry here where I live I remember when a jazz school opened and started pumping out graduates into a market that could absorb maybe 2 percent of them. It quickly became apparent that many would be happy to work for nothing in order to gain experience.
After the initial shock of seeing well paid gigs dry up, I felt it time to change my thinking about what I was doing. My attitude now is that I don't want to work for clients who pay peanuts. It's either the full fee or if it is a charity, then no fee at all. I moved more into teaching, which fortunately I love, and though I work harder I have evenings and weekends mostly free. Finding what you love doing (and are good at) and then making it pay without killing the joy of doing it is not always easy. My guess is that a big factor in making it work is keeping an eye on your attitude to what you are doing and maintaining the mental strength to stick to your guns. And keeping an eye on your “niche in life”. In other words, staying ahead of the game.  Anytime I get questioned about the fees I charge to teach, I think of the twenty odd years of study and practice to develop my skills, and the next twenty years of fine tuning them.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2010, 05:22:11 PM »
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I have the feeling that there is a double game involved.
What is happening IMO is that the evolution is dual:
On one side, each time more demanding tasks that required a level of knowledge, skill anf technology each time higher but for a shorter life-time.
On the other side, the open season jungle where rule "no matter what and how" is getting also more and more evident.

Fred.
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Schewe
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« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2010, 05:38:30 PM »
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Quote from: Pete Ferling
We should look upon ourselves and see in which camp we reside: the tech or the art, and therein lies the answer as to whether or not this technology is a menace or blessing.


Technology is neither...it just is, what it is. The fact that clients, in this day and age and under these economic times perceive the costs to have gone down and the difficulty to have gone down are simply unwilling–in general–to pay what they used to pay willingly.

And when I said "Photoshop" is what has changed the industry, I wasn't kidding. The craft of photography is now digital and shots are assembled and retouched either by a photographer or retoucher and the skills required to "get the shot" in a single exposure are no longer valuable...

That's not to say this isn't a great time in photography, it is...and Photoshop has been very, very good to me...but to be a working commercial photographer these days ain't much fun as it relates to the commerce (of which there ain't much).

And none of this has anything to do with how good images are now or were years ago...there are great images being made all the time. And it really has nothing to do with talented amateurs or weekend warriors...what it has absolutely everything to do is current nature of the business for working pros.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2010, 06:24:06 PM »
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Maybe Photoshop can be compared to what happened when they invent the printing.
All a generations of craftmen just disappeared, creation and destruction go together.
But what is also really impressive I think and almost unique from now, is the speed.
Things move really fast and maybe the profession one learn today, with all the learning curve, experience requiered etc...
will simply be obsolete in a very short time, so there is almost no long term thinking.
I have the sensation of a spiral out of control where nobody knows where is the button to slow down.
We are in between two worlds, one is gone and a new one is just starting.
Now that we just started to get used of the move to digital, 3D is ringing at the door, like "hey guys, don't get it wrong, I'm the next standard".
Till the 4thD. Tomorrow, a photographer won't even move from his chair to shoot a campaign in the Bahamas, you'll be conected to a satelite
that will reproduce in 3D any location requiered at 500MP and you'll add, the now 15.000 euro top model will be a 20euros 3D digital girl with
no whims, no dressing room, no mood, no bills etc...the stylist will work with software from another computer etc...
No more lights, no more cables, no more assistant, no more beers, no more trips, and no more money?  

Fred
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2010, 07:11:10 PM »
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Quote from: Dick Roadnight
The last competent wedding photographer I saw was using glass plates (and the bride now has adult grandchildren)

 ... and I bet you had to walk uphill to school in both directions, too.

Come on, Dick ... get real ... there are plenty of talented photographers shooting weddings every day ...

... and they don't need view cameras, the couples want and expect video, too ... and they aren't interested in 4 foot prints ... welcome to the 21st century.
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2010, 07:15:59 PM »
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Coming from a professional point of view.  B&W has not changed to much in the past decades, it still takes virtually the same amount of talent, with less limitations put upon the artist.

Color has changed dramatically.  It's been almost 20 years since pigment photographs were perfected and its been 15 years since we made the first inkjet pigment photographs.  So color has been really the mover and shaker.

The ability to have control over your color image is a big step compared to the insane way we had to make photographic prints before this was invented.

The next big step was to capture the image.  The ability to use something like a Phase System and capture superior color and dynamic range compared to film, what a joy.  Although the gear has not gotten lighter from the 8x10 and 4x5 of the past.  But to have nearly infinite choice of lenses and edit them quickly in capture one.

Its not that you don't have to have the skills, its still about the art of seeing the light, choosing the right depth of field, fine tuning your composition, picking the right angle and choosing the right lens for the vision.

What we have are better tools for the task at hand.  It's like giving Da Vinci a paint brush and 3 colors and tell him to make a great painting and them handing him a palette of paint and all the brushes.  There better tools but you need to know how to use them....

Oh yes, it is more joyful, very much so!  

 You are limited by your vision, almost nothing else.  TW
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BFoto
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« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2010, 07:54:28 PM »
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Quote from: David Sutton
And having a chip on your shoulder about your elders entitles you to be aggressive?


No chip, just a statement regarding an all too familiar attitude amonst that particular demographic and there entitlements. How you got aggresive from simple words on screen with no tone is beyond me, but i will end my invlovement in this discussion as this topic is pertained and stick to the philosophy behind the original post. Lets not hog this forum with that conversation.
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