There have been a lot of famous names mentioned in this thread. No matter how good I will eventually come then I don't see myself ploughing fields among the "elite" mentioned nor will I strive to. If I do show my efforts on here or to other photographers then I think I will be a little peeved that someone would mention their names. Rob if you posted an image with respect to Street then if someone said that wasn't as good as Cartier Bresson how would you react?
Well, for a start, I'm terrified of the concept of doing 'street' when it means shooting total strangers face-to-face in possibly dangerous circumstances, such as doon 'n' oots which seems to be the basic idea today, though when HC-B and pals were doing it, it was usually for left-wing magazines and so that was okay, they were all supposedly in it together, the poor, the magazines (really?) and the photographers!
I did it twice: the first time when I was a trainee in the industrial photo unit and we were kidding around at work saying how easy press stuff was compared with industrial, and two of us went into Glasgow one night (separately) to get some pics to prove the point. We both came back with pics of some girls walking around doing nothing much. Safe options? Chicken? Yes!
The next time, I was in Rome visiting distant relatives and was at a birthday party. It was just at the time of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita
and paparazzo hadn’t yet made it into the English language. However, Italian magazines had been full of gossip column stuff for years - it was nothing new there. Anyway, after the party a bunch of us walked down the Via Veneto (celebrated in the movie) and as I had my camera and a flash with me, we decided to have a giggle. We walked down the street toward the US Embassy and Excelsior Hotel, down in front of the bars, and one of the girls pretended to be ‘someone’ and covered her face, waving at me yelling no pictures! no pictures! It was amusing enough at the time. However, as I wasn’t a good drinker then, I was certainly on a controlled high, and so I extended my attentions to several other ladies sitting at pavement tables here and there along the Via, and not a single table objected: every girl primped and posed as if she were about to audition for something. Amazing thing, a camera at night, and at the right time and place.
Of course, I had no idea who any of them was.
Many things really were possible in the 60s, and often just a matter of asking.
Even starlets/models were fair game there, and one day I happened upon something being filmed across from the Trevi and took a fancy to the wench being shot; at a break she walked over to a bar for a drink and I followed and asked her to let me shoot – she did, not a question, nothing. She ‘played’ with one of those wall-telephone units and I got my exposures. Those were indeed the days, regardless of what the young turks tell us now.
But, how would I feel in the situation you quoted, where other snappers got mentioned? Honestly, that’s not a difficult thing to handle: if anything, it’s nice to think your work brings stars to their minds.
I used to do a lot of fashion work for House of Fraser. On my first visit to meet the head honcho I took along my book (we used to call them portfolios) and discovered that the guy was new to Glasgow. He’d been a top manager in Harrods but had been sent up to Scotland to resolve some problems in the group’s northern stores. Anyway, he used to commission photography for Harrods and his first few words to me were never forgotten: this is just as good as the stuff I can buy in London!
So yeah, it can be nice as well as the opposite. Trouble was, after he resolved the store problems in Scotland he was sent to do the same in Ireland, and the next manager never commissioned anything, from anyone. A, effin’, men! For me, Buchanan Street died.
But personal trumpet tuning aside, I don’t think it matters at all what others think of your work unless you are pro and in a pro situation. (Compliments are ever nice, of course, and one enjoys them if and when they come.) And even there, it all comes down to personal likes and dislikes, which is why not all clients use the same snapper. Cost also counts with some, and probably more so today than in my era.