Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/11/24

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Subject: Re: News Equip, was; odd things
From: Donal Philby <>
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 1996 18:51:02 -0800


Thanks for the update.  I guess I was misinformed about the 
subscription size.  But even with 9 Million you'd think there should 
still be a photo budget.

I interned there many years ago during university (San Jose State in 
PJ) and was impressed by the people in illustrations and photo, but 
saw so much of what I thought of as P.R.-ization--making everything 
nice--that I went away not very interested in working for them.  I was 
talking one day to Dick Durrance about my feelings and his response 
was: "I keep reminding myself that it is better than shooting 
weddings."  My hero magazine was GEO, but we know how far that got.  
The irony for me is that now Nat. Geo. is virtually the only magazine 
doing anything interesting, meaningful, and substantial (by 

I've got a reasonable business going with corporate and advertising 
clients doing everything from computers to pleasure boats, but still 
have the desire to produce meaningful work that ISN'T just designed to 
sell, but when I look at moving that direction and how much editorial 
pays and how much it costs to stay in business and it looks hopeless.  
I just need to produce it as a hobby almost.  But there are a few 
photojournalists making it, doing good work, but they are few and far 

I've been thinking about associating with an agency like Black Star or 
Gamma that handles both editorial and commercial assignments.  Perhaps 
you would permit me to ask a few questions about that market these 

The top heaviness you mention at NGS is amazing.  It kind of like what 
is going on with mergers and so much of American business--the 
producers of the products and services are the ones who reap the least 
benefit.  We're back to the era of robber barons in different clothes.  

A friend of mind said he didn't think editors deserved to be sent 
Leica-made pictures.  He'd had three beers and was feeling spitful.

Have a good holiday.

- --Donal Philby
  San Diego