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Author Topic: discerning good images  (Read 20268 times)
Rob C
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« Reply #60 on: April 20, 2010, 02:46:37 PM »
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"Damn, you might as well bring in the old one about whether Cataluña should be part of France instead of Spain - it all depends on how far back you find it convenient to draw your datum line. Go to Languedoc and Roussillon and you will discover as much questioning about identity, about being 'French' as you do in Scotland or Wales when 'Britain' becomes an issue in the sense of 'national' identity! How often did Trieste change hands and nationhood? What is nationality, what is identity? You can conclude in accordance with your own favourite manner or belief!

Rob C"




Do you see how easily it can be done? That statement about Cataluña is pure mince; it was the Kings of Aragon that had possession of Languedoc for a while, yet a statement putting it quite the other way around and blaming other parties goes unchallenged.

The same can be said about much more recent events - it's only personal bias, perspective and propaganda that colours what people believe or are led to believe.

Rob C
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 01:54:42 AM by Rob C » Logged

EduPerez
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« Reply #61 on: April 21, 2010, 03:23:22 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
[...]On the other hand, supporting Franco as Rob pointed out wasn't all that bad an idea either.[...]
Perhaps it is because of my family heritage (one of my grandfathers was a political prisoner, and died in prison during Franco's days), or perhaps I lack the neutrality of an external viewer (I have always lived in Spain)... but in my ears "supporting Franco" sounds like "supporting Pinochet" or even "supporting Hitler".
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Rocco Penny
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« Reply #62 on: April 21, 2010, 09:22:36 AM »
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wait,
you people seem pretty fast and loose with other people's lives.

I'm wondering how to turn this into a productive outcome.

I'm missing the relevance of death dealing madmen to my pedestrian struggle.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 09:33:43 AM by Rocco Penny » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #63 on: April 21, 2010, 11:27:04 AM »
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Quote from: EduPerez
Perhaps it is because of my family heritage (one of my grandfathers was a political prisoner, and died in prison during Franco's days), or perhaps I lack the neutrality of an external viewer (I have always lived in Spain)... but in my ears "supporting Franco" sounds like "supporting Pinochet" or even "supporting Hitler".




Eduardo

You are right to feel as you do because it is perfectly natural and a result of the side of the fence on which the family found itself. Look at it from my perspective: I spent most of WW2 just north of London, and remember watching the fires in the night reflected in the clouds, and I even remember seeing aircraft towing huge gliders filled with human guinea pigs bound for their probable deaths, machine-gunned whilst hanging on a wire or up a tree. I have driven extensively through France and noted the many villages sporting the little commemorative plaques to where the Germans slew local people. And today? Today the French farmers seem inordinately enamoured of the BMW; in my family, one couple runs both a Mercedes CLS and an SLK as silver bookends; had I the spare money I'd probably buy myself an M3. What's the use of caring anymore - all things are altered by the passage of time and yesterday's enemy becomes todays object of desire or even your best customer.

The most you can hope for is a happy present without too many regrets.

Oh - the roundabouts: my neighbours were due back in Scotland this week and their flight from Palma was cancelled. They decided to drive their Spanish car back rather than wait for the volcano to go back to sleep, booked the ferry to Barcelona and almost immediately hit the 5-lane roundabout outside the gate, and if that wasn't intimidating enough for them, the happy boys on scooters attempted the tyre-slashing trick. Don't you wish it were legal to carry that Paulo Beretta in the glove box? And to use it?

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #64 on: April 21, 2010, 12:15:32 PM »
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Quote from: EduPerez
Perhaps it is because of my family heritage (one of my grandfathers was a political prisoner, and died in prison during Franco's days), or perhaps I lack the neutrality of an external viewer (I have always lived in Spain)... but in my ears "supporting Franco" sounds like "supporting Pinochet" or even "supporting Hitler".

Edu, Of course nothing can change that tragic fact in your background, and I'd expect you to feel the way you feel about it. But... the fact that Spain stayed out of the war instead of coming in on Hitler's side saved an awful lot of lives and an awful lot of misery. As far as Pinochet is concerned, yes, he was a very nasty and corrupt man, but he also pulled Chile back from the brink of economic disaster. There's no way to balance pluses and minuses when a murderer like Pinochet or Franco is involved. All we can hope for is that there's justice in eternity. I suspect the fact that "Hitler made the trains run on time" didn't offset much on his judgment day.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #65 on: April 21, 2010, 12:48:16 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
I suspect the fact that "Hitler made the trains run on time" didn't offset much on his judgment day.

Actually, that claim was associated with Mussolini. And, according to Snopes, that was not true.

http://www.snopes.com/history/govern/trains.asp

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EduPerez
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« Reply #66 on: April 21, 2010, 04:30:19 PM »
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Rob & Russ: yes, Spain did not join WW2, but we had a civil war... not sure which one of both I prefer; and Spain could could not join simply because the country had just been devastated during the war that Franco started. I see your point, however; but I could not conceive a positive final balance.

Rob: I am sincerely sorry about what happened to your neighbours, delinquency is the first think I would fix in this city (but no, a gun is not an acceptable solution in my books). There is an annual meeting here, which all the mobile phone companies join. Last year, the organization was proud to announce that the number of attendants who suffered pick-pockets had reduced since the previous year; I was ashamed to know they kept statistics on that.
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RSL
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« Reply #67 on: April 21, 2010, 05:07:20 PM »
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Quote from: Paul Sumi
Actually, that claim was associated with Mussolini. And, according to Snopes, that was not true.

http://www.snopes.com/history/govern/trains.asp

Paul, Maybe you didn't notice the quotes.
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Ray
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« Reply #68 on: April 22, 2010, 12:48:45 AM »
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Quote from: Rocco Penny
wait,
you people seem pretty fast and loose with other people's lives.

I'm wondering how to turn this into a productive outcome.

I'm missing the relevance of death dealing madmen to my pedestrian struggle.

Rocco,
I agree. There's not much relevance in the past few posts to your predicament, except perhaps a demonstration of the fact that an opinion is just an opinion, whether it be the merits of a particular photograph or the truth about purported events of a particular period of history.

What does seem a little puzzling to me is the following question from your original post. "What is it that as a photographer I should be interested in?"

This question is one that only you can answer, unless you are a professional photographer, in which case the answer would be, "You should be interested in, and try to produce, the sorts of photos which your clients find most pleasing."

Being an amateur is an excellent position to be in because you are your own client. You can therefore take photos, not of what you should be interested in, but what you actually are interested in.

I think I'd hate being a wedding photographer. However, if circumstances were such that I found myself trying to earn a living as a wedding photographer, I think I'd do a lot of research on the sorts of photos that tend to produce the 'oohs! and aahs!' from wedding clients in general, and practise the techniques required to capture such shots, even if I personally thought such shots were crap.

Having found a scene, a subject, which interests you, which inspires you to a degree sufficient to motivate you to take the trouble to photograph it, the problem then becomes one of processing the image in such a way that the final result, in print or on monitor, depicts to your own satisfaction that initial experience which motivated you to take the shot in the first instance.

This is not necessarily easy and often requires far more skill in post processing than the initial technical competence of getting a correct exposure and a well-focussed shot.

For this task we have that wonderful tool called Photoshop. Perhaps you took the shot because of an amazing sky which was dark and threatening. You got the exposure correct but that dark, ominous, brooding sky has become bland in the automatically processed result on your monitor. Not worth making a print to hang on your wall. Don't give up. You need to select parts of the image in Photoshop and give them different processing. That's what your eye and brain did before you took the shot. It's not cheating.

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Ray
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« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2010, 01:21:23 AM »
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Ray, I'd never claim to be a "true" artist. Maybe an untrue one, or possibly a dissembling one, but I think your dichotomy isn't valid. Yes, someone like HCB was independently wealthy, so he could afford to apply himself full-time to creating art. But how about Ansel Adams? He needed to make a living, and he made it partly through his photography and partly as a concert pianist. He didn't spend full time making photographic art but he sure produced some art. Same thing with Elliott Erwitt. He was on his own starting when he was still a kid. He made his living with photography, but when he shot that picture of Nixon poking Khruschev in the chest he was on an assignment to shoot kitchen appliances. I think the idea that your only choices are between being a hedge fund manager and a starving artist is (to be polite) a bit over the top.

Russ,
Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been. The artistic spirit or motivation, which Rocco Penny seems to be in search of, is so strong in the 'true' artist that sometimes he will sacrifice much needed food in order to buy paint and brushes, as in the example of Van Gogh and many others we don't even hear about. I'm not implying that it is therefore necessary to be poverty-stricken in order to be an artist (although being poor might help one to focus on one's true priorities), rather I'm implying that the urge to create, to find meaning and express meaning is so strong that one is compelled to paint, photograph, write music etc whatever one's circumstances, rich or poor.

In other words, it's almost like a calling or vocation which chooses you, rather than the other way round. There are many examples of people from a wealthy background who have insisted on pursuing a vocation as a pianist, or painter, or actor against the wishes of their parents, sometimes at the expense of being disinherited.

I recall seeing a play by Somerset Maugham many years ago which addressed this very issue. Can't remember all the details, but basically a son in a wealthy family wanted to be a pianist. His father was adamantly opposed to the idea, and after many heated arguments about the matter the son made the fatal mistake of agreeing to a proposal that he would go away for a couple of years, practise the piano assiduously, then subject himself to an appraisal from an experienced, professional, and successful concert pianist who would assess whether or not the young man had any talent. If the verdict was - no talent, then the son would agree to give up his aspirations to become a professional (classical) pianist, and join his father's business instead.

However, if the verdict was - promising talent - then the father would agree to give his son his blessing and not stand in the way of his son's chosen vocation.

Okay! It's only a story. It has a sad ending. The verdict was -no talent. The next day the son committed suicide.

Now I'm sure glad that I don't have to make a living as a photographer trying to fulfil the requirements of a client and/or please the tastes of the fickle public. I shoot what I want when I want. If someone happens to like a particular image or print I've made, I'm willing to sell it or give it away as a birthday or christmas present. My satisfaction lies in the entire photographic process from the extroverted activity of travelling to a place in search of interesting scenes to photograph, to the technical challenge of mastering the complexities of the machine (the camera) and getting it to produce the results I intended, to the interesting and marvelously flexible processing capabilities of Photoshop, to the crafstmanlike control of transferring a faithful reproduction of the final image to paper and ink.

However, I'm a bit slack in mounting my prints. I don't find that activity nearly as interesting. Nor would I find the chore of running a photographic business interesting. In fact, if I were to attempt it I'd be worried it might even put me off the joys of photography completely
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 01:25:10 AM by Ray » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #70 on: April 22, 2010, 03:23:48 AM »
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[quote name='Ray' date='Apr 22 2010, 07:21 AM' post='361532']

"Okay! It's only a story. It has a sad ending. The verdict was -no talent. The next day the son committed suicide."

Surprising the number of well established pros who took that route, not because they lacked talent, but possibly because their talent was no longer au courant and the pain of that just too much to bear. So yes, if you are dedicated, the love is overwhelming.

"Nor would I find the chore of running a photographic business interesting. In fact, if I were to attempt it I'd be worried it might even put me off the joys of photography completely"

Well yes and no: it's the business that allows you to indulge the love full-time. How else, unless you fall into the very rare category of the idle playboy? But then again, it all depends whether you do opt for the 'weddings, babies and dogs' ethos or go for the real deal. It might even be that the former is your real deal, in which case I will never understand why you might wish to spend your life in that way.

Rob C
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #71 on: April 22, 2010, 08:58:59 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Paul, Maybe you didn't notice the quotes.

I did; perhaps I'm not clear why you used them?

Paul
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 09:08:58 AM by Paul Sumi » Logged

stamper
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« Reply #72 on: April 22, 2010, 09:27:29 AM »
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Quote Ray

Russ,
Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been. The artistic spirit or motivation, which Rocco Penny seems to be in search of, is so strong in the 'true' artist that sometimes he will sacrifice much needed food in order to buy paint and brushes, as in the example of Van Gogh and many others we don't even hear about. I'm not implying that it is therefore necessary to be poverty-stricken in order to be an artist (although being poor might help one to focus on one's true priorities), rather I'm implying that the urge to create, to find meaning and express meaning is so strong that one is compelled to paint, photograph, write music etc whatever one's circumstances, rich or poor.

Unquote

This talk of 'true' artist smacks of elitism. In fact the overtones of much of your posts are the same? I don't see the point of such an attitude and I feel it will get up the noses of some of the posters? Are you for real or just attempting what is a poor wind up?
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RSL
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« Reply #73 on: April 22, 2010, 09:27:43 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
Russ,
Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been. The artistic spirit or motivation, which Rocco Penny seems to be in search of, is so strong in the 'true' artist that sometimes he will sacrifice much needed food in order to buy paint and brushes, as in the example of Van Gogh and many others we don't even hear about. I'm not implying that it is therefore necessary to be poverty-stricken in order to be an artist (although being poor might help one to focus on one's true priorities), rather I'm implying that the urge to create, to find meaning and express meaning is so strong that one is compelled to paint, photograph, write music etc whatever one's circumstances, rich or poor.

Ray, I won't argue with your main point though using Van Gogh as an example may be a bit over the top. Van Gogh didn't have both oars in the water. The nearest comparison in the photography world I can make is to Gene Smith who resigned from Life magazine over the way the magazine laid out his Schweitzer article, temporarily brought the Magnum photo agency to its knees financially by taking three years to do a three week project, and finally killed himself with drugs and booze. I agree with your point but I'd modify it by saying I don't think it's an either/or condition for people who aren't as (dedicated?) as Van Gogh or Gene Smith. I think it manifests itself in degrees. I think Renoir was every bit as dedicated an artist as Van Gogh but he also was a pretty good businessman.

Quote
I recall seeing a play by Somerset Maugham many years ago which addressed this very issue. Can't remember all the details, but basically a son in a wealthy family wanted to be a pianist. His father was adamantly opposed to the idea, and after many heated arguments about the matter the son made the fatal mistake of agreeing to a proposal that he would go away for a couple of years, practise the piano assiduously, then subject himself to an appraisal from an experienced, professional, and successful concert pianist who would assess whether or not the young man had any talent. If the verdict was - no talent, then the son would agree to give up his aspirations to become a professional (classical) pianist, and join his father's business instead.

However, if the verdict was - promising talent - then the father would agree to give his son his blessing and not stand in the way of his son's chosen vocation.

Okay! It's only a story. It has a sad ending. The verdict was -no talent. The next day the son committed suicide.

Yes, I'm familiar with the story: "The Alien Corn," though I've never seen the play. Maugham was a genius and it's a very touching story... but it's fiction. The son sounds like Van Gogh or Gene Smith without the genius. Why didn't he just go off on his own and be a starving pianist?

Quote
Now I'm sure glad that I don't have to make a living as a photographer trying to fulfil the requirements of a client and/or please the tastes of the fickle public. I shoot what I want when I want. If someone happens to like a particular image or print I've made, I'm willing to sell it or give it away as a birthday or christmas present. My satisfaction lies in the entire photographic process from the extroverted activity of travelling to a place in search of interesting scenes to photograph, to the technical challenge of mastering the complexities of the machine (the camera) and getting it to produce the results I intended, to the interesting and marvelously flexible processing capabilities of Photoshop, to the crafstmanlike control of transferring a faithful reproduction of the final image to paper and ink.

We certainly agree on these points. I do the same thing. I like to have people look at my photographs and even buy them since, as Elizabeth Taylor once said, "money is applause," but not making sales doesn't bother me in the slightest. I don't need revenue from print sales to live and I don't expect to go down in history as a great photographer. I give prints to friends who express a real liking for them and I often donate prints as raffle prizes for various charitable events. On the other hand when someone wants to buy a print I don't haggle. I give the buyer a non-negotiable price. But I can't stop taking pictures. A day without at least a few frames is a day wasted.

Quote
However, I'm a bit slack in mounting my prints. I don't find that activity nearly as interesting. Nor would I find the chore of running a photographic business interesting. In fact, if I were to attempt it I'd be worried it might even put me off the joys of photography completely

We agree about the business part. As I've said before on this forum: I may not be the world's worst marketer, but when he dies I'm in. But I do enjoy matting and framing my pictures.
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RSL
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« Reply #74 on: April 22, 2010, 09:28:41 AM »
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Quote from: Paul Sumi
I did; perhaps I'm not clear why you used them?

Paul

Is English your first language?
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Rob C
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« Reply #75 on: April 22, 2010, 10:29:56 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
Quote Ray

Russ,
Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been. The artistic spirit or motivation, which Rocco Penny seems to be in search of, is so strong in the 'true' artist that sometimes he will sacrifice much needed food in order to buy paint and brushes, as in the example of Van Gogh and many others we don't even hear about. I'm not implying that it is therefore necessary to be poverty-stricken in order to be an artist (although being poor might help one to focus on one's true priorities), rather I'm implying that the urge to create, to find meaning and express meaning is so strong that one is compelled to paint, photograph, write music etc whatever one's circumstances, rich or poor.

Unquote

This talk of 'true' artist smacks of elitism. In fact the overtones of much of your posts are the same? I don't see the point of such an attitude and I feel it will get up the noses of some of the posters? Are you for real or just attempting what is a poor wind up?




stamper

I know you addressed this to Ray, but I feel obliged to say that I certainly don't view the expressed opinion as an expression of elitism. However, neither do I have any fight with elitism because, in my opinion, it is simply a concentration of the mind on the really worthwhile and the ignoring of the junk. Life, as I am learning, is bloody short; why woud anyone want to waste any part of it on the mediocre or downright worthless?

As for annoying other posters, don't you think that that's the risk that they have to be prepared to take if they want to play here? There sure ain't no common entrance exam required for logging on to LuLa, though the next iteration might include such a worthy innovation!? Christ! I might not make the cut - cancel that flight of fantasy.

Rob C
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 10:33:18 AM by Rob C » Logged

Paul Sumi
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« Reply #76 on: April 22, 2010, 11:27:12 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Is English your first language?

Yes.  What does that have to do with my apparent confusion over your use of quotes?

If you would be so kind as to enlighten me why you said that Hitler made the trains run on time when it was Mussolini, it would be appreciated.
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RSL
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« Reply #77 on: April 22, 2010, 11:43:25 AM »
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Quote from: Paul Sumi
Yes.  What does that have to do with my apparent confusion over your use of quotes?

If you would be so kind as to enlighten me why you said that Hitler made the trains run on time when it was Mussolini, it would be appreciated.

Paul, Sorry. Since you haven't bothered to fill out your profile I have no way of knowing where you are or what your background is. In English, when one surrounds a statement like that with quotes it normally means that the writer either knows or suspects it's bogus.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #78 on: April 22, 2010, 11:52:02 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Paul, Sorry. Since you haven't bothered to fill out your profile I have no way of knowing where you are or what your background is. In English, when one surrounds a statement like that with quotes it normally means that the writer either knows or suspects it's bogus.

Thanks for the clarification.

Paul
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stamper
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« Reply #79 on: April 23, 2010, 02:59:30 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
stamper

I know you addressed this to Ray, but I feel obliged to say that I certainly don't view the expressed opinion as an expression of elitism. However, neither do I have any fight with elitism because, in my opinion, it is simply a concentration of the mind on the really worthwhile and the ignoring of the junk. Life, as I am learning, is bloody short; why woud anyone want to waste any part of it on the mediocre or downright worthless?

As for annoying other posters, don't you think that that's the risk that they have to be prepared to take if they want to play here? There sure ain't no common entrance exam required for logging on to LuLa, though the next iteration might include such a worthy innovation!? Christ! I might not make the cut - cancel that flight of fantasy.

Rob C

I would like to know what he means by "true" artist? I don't think it helps the debate by taking what seems to me to be a highbrow attitude. I think that most posters here aren't professionals but they benefit from seeing what professionals have to say? What they don't benefit from is what appears to be a condescending attitude. I may be reading this wrongly. My paranoia playing up again? Other posters I think have commented in the same vein. Maybe this is what he believes. Fair enough or maybe a " tugging of the chain" is happening. We all do it from time to time?
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