Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/27

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Subject: [Leica] Elitism and the PRO
From: Alex Brattell <>
Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 09:45:53 +0100

It's such a shame that the term 'amateur' has been so devalued.
Last year Amateur Photographer in the UK gave Eve Arnold a lifetime
achievement award or something like that.
She collected her award saying what a privilege it was to receive it from
that particular magazine because in the true sense of the word she had
always been an amateur - a lover of  photography.

All of us on this list are true amateurs whether we make money out of
photography or not.

I've come across so many 'professionals' for whom photography is just a
means . There are two agencies in my building who chase the royal family and
other unimportant people around. As long as they make sales I doubt that
they care much about the culture of photography - no copies of  'Pictures On
A Page' on their shelves. I just happen to make (highly variable) money out
of photography, it's the way things turned out. But through the years I have
come to love the medium and it's history as my window on the world. This
enthusiasm is absolutely vital to me, it stops what I do from turning into a
job - even if I'm photographing dogfood I'm still doing something I love,
and I do well to remember that when I'm totally bored in my studio looking
at training shoes all day. (Luckily it's often a lot more interesting than

Anyway, photography is a far better vocation than it is a job, it has always
been an exploitation industry, some of us just can't do anything else - it's
a long road there's no turning back!

Alex (never went to law school) Brattell