Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/10/31

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: Re: Master Adams versus frauds?
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 13:11:46 -0500 (EST)

As an aside . . .  a question to you, and other list members, seeing as how
this thread is entitled "Master Adams . . . ". How do you really feel about
Adams work. I consistently see commentary that regards him as something
approaching the status of diety. My feelings are that he was indeed an
extraordinary technician, he could, and did, use his materials to the
maximum that they could produce, but ultimately, he showed himself to be
not much more than an exceptional postcard producer (hang on a minute while
I put on my armour and face mask <g>). There was, concurrent to him, Weston
in particular, and many others who showed a far greater artisitic bent than
he did. Even today, people who studied, or worked under/with him (John
Sexton comes to mind), show a more diverse, and consistently more pleasing
body of work . . .

well? --Paul Aparycki
- ---------------------------------------------------------------

I sent the following post on Adams to our colleagues on the LUG:

Fellow Leicaphiles,

Adams autobiography is an insight into his professional and personal values.
He chose those images of his own work he favored. He honestly discussed those
he knew fairly well. His collaborators on the book may have tempered his
opinions somewhat.

He did his own printing. He was a perfectionist. He wasn't a purist. He had
an ego. He wasn't a saint. But he stuck to his last, and produced technically
and esthetically exemplary work. The few portraits he included were mostly
candids he shot with a Contax. They are expressive. Speaking for myself, I
still enjoy his work and have learned from him. His books are about
craftsmanship and a vision of harmony.

- ----------------------------------------------------------------

You made a valid point in your post about the unfair practice of comparing
Eisenstadt to Mapplethorpe because both worked in different epochs and dealt
with other subjects and followed contrasting careers. It's therefore
plausible to conclude that no standard of comparison exists. True in the
short run. From the perspective of history and its evaluation, the matter
rests with how important each photographer's contribution has been to society
in the long run. 

In that context I believe that Eisenstadt will outlast Mapplethorpe. Adams
might even survive Eisenstadt. Brady and his contemporaries are here to stay
- -- at least in American history. 

I have no doubt that succeeding generations of photographers will
out-Mapplethorpe Mapplethorpe. I don't think anyone will displace Brady,
Adams or Eisenstadt. Maybe this trio had the luck of the times on their side.
Clinton complains that he can't show his stuff of greatness because he didn't
have FDR's or Lincoln's opportunities for leadership. We'll never know the
truth of that excuse. We can only judge by what's on the record. Fair or

I apologize for posting cross-list. I thought Paul's comments were important
for both groups.