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Author Topic: Why Do We Photograph?  (Read 9469 times)
Harlem22
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« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2013, 03:24:42 AM »
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Ah! I think I see your difficulty.

AFAIK, the actual quotation was, rather, "the problem for an amateur is finding a reason to take a photograph."


That is something very else, and exactly where I currently fit. Semantics do count, greatly.

Rob C

AFAIK the quote was taken from his last interview and I believe that Alain has cited it right. But I can remember as well the following sentence in which Terence justified his statement by his obesrvation that amateurs are focussed far too much on gear.

Harald
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Rob C
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« Reply #41 on: July 31, 2013, 04:20:12 AM »
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Harald, you may be right - I have no direct link to the moment of pronouncement.

However, I think that this, attributed to Berenice Abbott, might be saying much the same thing:

" the art is in selecting what is worthwhile to take the trouble about..."

Rob C
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Harlem22
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« Reply #42 on: July 31, 2013, 05:16:29 AM »
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Harald, you may be right - I have no direct link to the moment of pronouncement.

However, I think that this, attributed to Berenice Abbott, might be saying much the same thing:

" the art is in selecting what is worthwhile to take the trouble about..."

Rob C

Rob, this is a very wise and almost universal statement. Unfortunately I tend to act against better knowledge Undecided

Harald
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OldRoy
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« Reply #43 on: July 31, 2013, 05:54:34 AM »
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Still is Slobodan, and despite attempted political incantations being aimed at its virtue, it is quite accurate, IMO....
...a vison skewed by class hatred where everything a very successful man does has to be wrong. You see what killed British industry?

Rob C
Prime ideological bu115h!t. What killed British industry was the decision that we didn't need it. That it could be substituted by activities such as the secondary insurance market, mercantile banking etc - in fact the parasitic speculation of all kinds which has subsequently almost destroyed the entire western economy. Minor idiocy on the part of some of the workforce was a fleabite by comparison.

Recall that a couple of days before the collapse of whichever "bank" initiated the last Wall St. crash, one of the "ratings agencies" renewed the status of whichever mafia family fell first (Bear Stearns?) despite - or so it's said - the fact that everyone in the know knew that this crew was holed below the waterline by exposure to the "sub-prime" mortgage scam on which the entire sector had been greedily feasting. The same cynical ratings entity is still in a position to impose penury upon entire nation states on the basis of its supposedly objective judgments despite the fact that it got it wrong about its neighbours on the same street. Or maybe there's another explanation for its behaviour.

Meanwhile the world's fastest growing economy has a communist government which cynically exploits the capitalist ethos to achieve what will surely be economic domination of the planet. The price will be horrendous.

As for Mr. Donovan's observation (didn't he write "Mellow Yellow"?) how do we explain all those people running really, really fast at the Olympics, none of whom are being pursued by a predatory carnivore?

Roy
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Harlem22
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« Reply #44 on: July 31, 2013, 10:10:44 AM »
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Harald, you may be right - I have no direct link to the moment of pronouncement.

However, I think that this, attributed to Berenice Abbott, might be saying much the same thing:

" the art is in selecting what is worthwhile to take the trouble about..."

Rob C

I've found it, here you are: http://www.martynmoore.com/donovan.html
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #45 on: July 31, 2013, 10:18:57 AM »
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I've found it, here you are: http://www.martynmoore.com/donovan.html

Thanks for finding the source.

In the linked piece, I find the word "amateur" used three times, and each time Donovan is suggesting strongly that all amateurs are equipment junkies, or have some other "universal" amateur trait. What I get from the interview is that Donovan doesn't understand the first thing about amateurs. Yes, some are equipment junkies, and some aren't very good at what they do. But painting us all with the same brush is insulting.
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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Rob C
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« Reply #46 on: July 31, 2013, 03:59:50 PM »
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As for Mr. Donovan's observation (didn't he write "Mellow Yellow"?) how do we explain all those people running really, really fast at the Olympics, none of whom are being pursued by a predatory carnivore?

Roy

That Donovan was a young Glaswegian with absolutely nothing to do with photography. However, he did date Sue Lyon for a while, so perhaps that helps your 'point' scratch some basis for itself...

The UK started its industrial decline way before the banks had anything to do with any crisis: it had roots as far back as the 50s (my start in engineering so I know and understand, from very personal experience, the tribal mindset very well); it was created by the near anarchy that existed in the engineering, printing and mining industries (to name but some of which I have some experiences), which resulted in shops so closed that they ultimately did just that. Voter apathy at union meetings, block votes and blatant personal threats did everything to create the perfect political climate for the dissolution not of any remaining monasteries, but of industry.

You create the climate of fear, the pointlessness of pouring more good money after bad, and the inevitable closure of an operation is guaranteed. Of course it never does the 'workers' any good, but anyone with at least one open eye saw that they were always but pawns to the greater plan, which was the bringing down of government and the destruction of the democratic system.

But the whole sorry history is all writtten and out there for you to discover, and so little remains for me to add.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #47 on: July 31, 2013, 04:21:16 PM »
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I've found it, here you are: http://www.martynmoore.com/donovan.html



Thank you very much, Harald, for your effort and time; I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article and now that I have, the 'quotation' seems even more innocent and based on the same reality that I have observed in real life, and not simply read about on the Internet; the two are not the same at all. On the Internet anyone can strike a pose; in reality you can see their eyes and hear them speak. They don't always say the same thing, eyes and mouths.

Clearly, acording to some points of view, TD should not have had an opinion of his own or, if he had, should have kept it secret. That's partly why we are in the universal mess that we are: few like to stand up and be counted, hoping instead that somebody else will do the required but unpopular task - whatever it might be. Quite why his views on the amateurs he'd met should so offend those he didn't is another of those sublime mysteries in life; at the most, I'd have imagined the offended ones would simply ignore him, especially now he's dead. Oh those sensitive teeth! Keep away from ice cream.

;-)

Rob C
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 04:41:16 PM by Rob C » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2013, 04:40:15 PM »
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"Do I have any great desire to make images without contract? No.

Do I have any great desire to make them on assignment? Yes."

To my earlier statement above, I would now like to add a new Donovan quotation that kind of fits my own mindset:

"As I got older I learned that in order to do something well, you've got to really want to do it."

This, in explanation of his cutting down of workload, convinces me that I was, and am right to think as I do, which is but an extension of the same thing as Donovan said. For me, no client still means no validity for doing anything much with the cameras.

Nothing to do with age, confidence nor interest; everything to do with knowing what one is capable of doing and feeling no threat that drives the need for constant reconfirmation. If it's something I want to do and somebody offers it to me - wonderful. If they don't I haven't wasted my days at the Photoshop computer, though I might have wasted almost the same hours on the Internet. Can't win it all.

;-)

Rob C


 

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #49 on: July 31, 2013, 05:06:21 PM »
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... Nothing to do with age, confidence nor interest; everything to do with knowing what one is capable of doing...

American attitude: Yes, I can (and will)!

Serbian attitude: I know I can (why bother then?)

Sounds like Serbs and (some) Scots have more in common that I thought?  Grin
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Rob C
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« Reply #50 on: August 01, 2013, 02:24:47 AM »
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American attitude: Yes, I can (and will)!

Serbian attitude: I know I can (why bother then?)

Sounds like Serbs and (some) Scots have more in common that I thought?  Grin


So there you go: some of us should be running the world instead, rather than chasing our tails doing a lot of nothing much!

8-)

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 02:26:22 AM by Rob C » Logged

KLaban
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« Reply #51 on: August 01, 2013, 02:25:58 AM »
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"As I got older I learned that in order to do something well, you've got to really want to do it."

I doubt that there's anyone here who would disagree with that one.
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Rob C
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« Reply #52 on: August 01, 2013, 02:28:02 AM »
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I doubt that there's anyone here who would disagree with that one.

Careful Keith: you might have just utter a famous last word, opening yet another can of crazy worms!

;-)

Rob C
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2013, 06:56:36 AM »
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"The problem for an amateur is that he/she has no reason to take a photograph" - Terence Donovan.

Sorry, but I could not disagree more: just because someone does not have a monetary incentive to take a photograph, it does not means he/she has no reason to do it; an amateur can put as much passion in his photography than a professional photographer.

Just my humble amateur opinion.

I agree, that quote is crazy. The non-pro photog is more dedicated than the pro that only shoots for $.

The non pro is a true lover of photography that will pay for the privilege of freezing time.
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #54 on: August 01, 2013, 07:00:25 AM »
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Why do I take photos?

Why do I like chocolate or ice cream...I just do.

Same with taking pix. I love freezing time.

http://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/721151-the-lost-princess
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stamper
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« Reply #55 on: August 01, 2013, 07:14:00 AM »
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Quote from a photo professional magazine. Photo Professional.

Obviously as a professional, you have to take a commercial view on how you use your time, and it is quite different to be shooting pictures that will earn you the money to pay the rent than it is producing images purely for your own pleasure. However I do believe that it's necessary to retain the sense of fun that comes from being behind a camera, and to be motivated and loving what you do.

Unquote. Smiley
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #56 on: August 02, 2013, 08:04:42 AM »
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For me, a "professional" photographer is a guy who takes orders, in one way or another. There are lots of other kinds of photographers, and I'm one of them. In fact, I wouldn't want to be a professional photographer -- for all but a few dozen people in the world, it's a tedious, uncreative, unreliable, low-paid job. A professional photographer is the guy who takes direction from the assistant principal at the grade school while shooting class photographs. So if you're taking direction from an assistant principal, just how high up the status/salary/job satisfaction pole could you be? A professional is a guy who shoots scenic photographs that will sell to people who will thumb-tack them above the couch, and offers them in 22 different sizes, and printed Wile-U-Wate.

Some other designations besides "amateur" (I would consider amateurs to be knowledgeable photographers who shoot for their own pleasure, at nobody else's direction except perhaps the wife and kids, which is far, far preferable to being a "professional") include such things as "artist" or "technician" or "journalist." A photographic artist is really looking for the soul of things, shoots at nobody's command, may or may not make a lot of money without changing his/her status as an artist, and often makes his/her primary economic living doing something else, such as working as a teacher. I would be much more interested in this person's ideas than in the ideas of a "professional." A journalist might be considered a specific subspecies of "professional," but I never heard a journalist call himself a "professional," although I have heard a guy referred to as a "real pro," which is different than "professional" photographer. A "real pro" is a guy who is willing and ready to stick his face into any kind of situation, and is used to designate all kinds of people wiling to do that -- reporters, soldiers, etc. I consider myself an odd kind of technician -- I'm not much interested in photography per se, but use it to support my painting habit -- I take pictures of little bits and piece of situations in which drawing is not appropriate, from which I create paintings. So, I don't want to be a professional photographer, and I never wanted to be one, and don't understand why people seem to chase after that designation. Artist or journalist would be okay, and technician is just fine. For me, wanting to be a "professional" that would be like wanting to be a professional postal clerk. Nothing against postal clerks (my father was one), but it just doesn't seem especially interesting in any way at all.

John, I think you perhaps have a very narrow view of professional photography.  I make a living from photography and love it.  And I rarely have to take orders from anyone.  Yes, there are certain things I have to shoot, but it is invariably left up to me how I do it.  Last year I was asked to photograph oil pressed from oats.  They wanted 'interesting' pictures to illustrate technical notes.  I was given complete freedom to do whatever I wanted.  Same when I'm photographing a child.  The parents let me do whatever I want.  It is down to my own creativity (not claiming any great skill here).  I know a lot of amateurs who would love the chance to be asked to photograph anything and be paid for it.  Whether oil, children, weddings, whatever.  It's totally my choice how I do it.  The only restriction is, I have to come up with something that other people enjoy - and that gives me pleasure anyway.  I want my pictures to communicate with other people.  My customers all find me through word of mouth and so they obviously like my way of seeing things, otherwise they would go elsewhere. 

I have never claimed to be an artist, and to be honest I don't really care much for the terms amateur and professional when applied to photography.  Either you have talent and can produce the goods, or you don't.  The 'professional' market in the UK is awash with wannabe photographers who's work is barely competent, and many who's work is total rubbish.  And there are many amateurs who's work is superb.  But at least it's a free market and photographers can do what they like and call themselves what they like.  I'm far from being talented, but for 15 years I've scratched a living from photography, doing it my way, and in my spare time I'm just a 'Photographer'.  I'm a photographer because almost my whole life is consumed by photography (I'm married to one as well), from 7am until often 9pm.  Sometimes I go for a ride on my bicycle (Rob C bait).

Oh and by the way, not sure if you are a teacher or not, but I know a lot of teachers and they are buried beneath a mountain of bureaucracy and have almost no freedom in how they teach.  Everything is dictated.  Many of them relish the complete freedom I have in my work.  They might not be so keen on losing their salaries, pensions and paid holidays though!

I can honestly say that 80 per cent of my work is so enjoyable I would do it for free if I didn't need the money.

Jim
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Rob C
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« Reply #57 on: August 02, 2013, 10:35:09 AM »
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John, I think you perhaps have a very narrow view of professional photography.  I make a living from photography and love it.  And I rarely have to take orders from anyone.  Yes, there are certain things I have to shoot, but it is invariably left up to me how I do it.  Last year I was asked to photograph oil pressed from oats.  They wanted 'interesting' pictures to illustrate technical notes.  I was given complete freedom to do whatever I wanted.  Same when I'm photographing a child.  The parents let me do whatever I want.  It is down to my own creativity (not claiming any great skill here).  I know a lot of amateurs who would love the chance to be asked to photograph anything and be paid for it.  Whether oil, children, weddings, whatever.  It's totally my choice how I do it.  The only restriction is, I have to come up with something that other people enjoy - and that gives me pleasure anyway.  I want my pictures to communicate with other people.  My customers all find me through word of mouth and so they obviously like my way of seeing things, otherwise they would go elsewhere.  

I have never claimed to be an artist, and to be honest I don't really care much for the terms amateur and professional when applied to photography.  Either you have talent and can produce the goods, or you don't.  The 'professional' market in the UK is awash with wannabe photographers who's work is barely competent, and many who's work is total rubbish.  And there are many amateurs who's work is superb.  But at least it's a free market and photographers can do what they like and call themselves what they like.  I'm far from being talented, but for 15 years I've scratched a living from photography, doing it my way, and in my spare time I'm just a 'Photographer'.  I'm a photographer because almost my whole life is consumed by photography (I'm married to one as well), from 7am until often 9pm.  Sometimes I go for a ride on my bicycle (Rob C bait).

Oh and by the way, not sure if you are a teacher or not, but I know a lot of teachers and they are buried beneath a mountain of bureaucracy and have almost no freedom in how they teach.  Everything is dictated.  Many of them relish the complete freedom I have in my work.  They might not be so keen on losing their salaries, pensions and paid holidays though!

I can honestly say that 80 per cent of my work is so enjoyable I would do it for free if I didn't need the money.

Jim


“I have never claimed to be an artist, and to be honest I don't really care much for the terms amateur and professional when applied to photography.  

1. Either you have talent and can produce the goods, or you don't.  The 'professional' market in the UK is awash with wannabe photographers who's work is barely competent, and many who's work is total rubbish.  And there are many amateurs who's work is superb.

2.  I'm a photographer because almost my whole life is consumed by photography (I'm married to one as well), from 7am until often 9pm.  Sometimes I go for a ride on my bicycle (Rob C bait).

3. Oh and by the way, not sure if you are a teacher or not, but I know a lot of teachers and they are buried beneath a mountain of bureaucracy and have almost no freedom in how they teach.  Everything is dictated.  Many of them relish the complete freedom I have in my work.  They might not be so keen on losing their salaries, pensions and paid holidays though!

4.I can honestly say that 80 per cent of my work is so enjoyable I would do it for free if I didn't need the money.”


Hi, Jim

Thanks for the plug, tempered with a modicum of temptation!

I’ve edited your post with numerals to make response in some sort of logical order using Microsoft Word, because I can never get down more than a sentence or so using the supplied box, and that blows my concentration away.

1. I agree 100% on that, which is why I despair at those who imagine that listening to the words of a guru will magic them into artists too. I could always make images good enough to support a pleasant lifestyle – or could when that was possible (in my circumstances and chosen field) and I sincerely do not recollect a learning curve. It was always there, and only required the other 50% of the recipe: the professional model. I have repeatedly declared my belief in, and appreciation of the wonderful amateur shooters whose work I have seen. Photography is one of the very few artistic things I can do; I have no musical talent whatsoever. That doesn’t mean that though I listen to music all day long, I am therefore a more true musician than the guys who actually play at the local bar on Sundays. But somehow, in photography there exist those who think it does indeed make them more close to the fountain than are the pros...

2. The first four years of my working life, as engineering apprentice, were spent figuring a way to find employment in photograph. Self-employment was a fantasy then. Ever after those four years I earned my living solely via professional photography: the first five or six or in an industrial unit, followed by setting up on my own after a year with another Glasgow studio. During my first year or so on my own I did passports, weddings, absolutely anything at all to keep the studio doors open and the dishes in chemicals. I rapidly reached a Damascene moment when I realised that I either remained a whore unto myself or gave up the stocking fillers and went for the real deal I’d always sought: fashion. It showed me that faith has muscle. I took the risk and am happy for that.

In my case, my wife was a working (when required) partner in the business; she hated it – couldn’t get to terms with the idiotic behaviour of clients and suppliers, many of whom had their finer moments when blind drunk at dinner somewhere.

I no longer have the strength to cycle anywhere, but have often considered the purchase of a Vespa because most of the magnificent natural areas in the mountains beside me allow no parking whatsoever.

3. I have two teachers in the family. One unfortunate aspect of the job is that it never ends when the school closes: it consumes almost as much ‘private’ time as does the part in the institutions. Salaries are not very good; future pensions are currently far from known. Much like self-employed photographers, then.

4. I can top your 80%. Would you challenge 99%? That’s why there is no amateur photography for me that grabs my heart. I lived for the work that I did, but it is only possible with budgets beyond my own, and of that 99%, a huge percentage of the buzz is in the act of winning the contract. The two are permanently married, for me.

So though you haven’t said so, others have, and I take this opportunity to refute for the last time the silly notion that an amateur is more in love with photography than a professional because he does it for nothing. That’s reasoning’s so skewed that it beggars belief that anyone can imagine another snapper putting life and living into the blessed job did he not love it. Love it more than anything else of which he was capable of doing for a living.

There are two basic choices in normal life:

a.  a job that pays well, provides a good pension but forever keeps you someone else’s employee;
b.  doing you own thing, making your own decisions, living or dying by them, the lot of the solo pro photographer, for one.

I fail to understand the concept of the former, earning his keep elsewhere, being thought the truer fan of photography. He risks nothing, other than his pride, but someone somewhere will always tell him he’s wonderful even when he most certainly is not. (Those +1 and Me too! concepts didn’t come from nowhere and for nothing! For a start, they allow people to avoid having to explain their views and invent fresh, platitudinous fibs.)

;-)

Rob C

« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 10:43:45 AM by Rob C » Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #58 on: August 02, 2013, 11:14:51 AM »
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For a moment, I thought RedwoodGuy is back. Phewww!
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Slobodan

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #59 on: August 02, 2013, 11:17:57 AM »
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... the silly notion that an amateur is more in love with photography than a professional because he does it for nothing...

Which would mean the oldest profession in the world enjoys sex more than amateurs? Wink
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Slobodan

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