Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/10/30

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Subject: Re: Master Adams versus frauds?
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 01:58:33 -0500 (EST)

Fellow Leicaphiles,

We have no Ministry of Culture in the US. But we have numerous agencies
dedicated to promoting and protecting trade. We're business oriented here.
Art has a role to play in the marketplace. It helps to sell goods. It creates
a demand for style in clothes and cars. It upgrades inner city neighborhoods.
It creates a clientele for the cultural industries. 

Government makes loans to small businesses. Government underwrites
infrastructure like roads to facilitate interstate commerce. Government
invests in research and development which eventually becomes manifest in
products marketed commercially. [If you read this, you use one.] Art is no
different. It too has an economic value the government can justifiably

The trick is to support 'safe' art. The government can't promote safe
religion for constitutional and psychological reasons. Religions trade on
their exclusivity. Art trades on its universality. I reckon a successful
administrator of a government agency charged to support art would probably be
successful if he or she encouraged that universality as its standard. 

Am I making a pitch for symbolist straight photography, in which subject
isn't obvious or blatant? You bet I am, as my fellow Oregonians would say.
Subtlety is the name of the game. That quality of thought also encourages
first rate photography. 
Is it easy to do? No. But I have talented colleagues who don't fear hard work
and thrive on challenge. And they don't look down their noses at government
as a patron or client.