Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/08/23

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Subject: Re: [Leica]plutocrats
From: Donal Philby <>
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 14:23:48 +0000

Alan Hull wrote:

> I can't help feeling that standards are falling rapidly and the
> customer is being cheated.  Donal even mentions one charlaton producing
> billboards from the 35mm negative.  These must be the ones I see in bus
> shelters in Sweden.  If you are waiting for the bus it is impossible to
> even detect form.  You have to stand on the other side of the street.

Alan, probably reproduction, not the original photos.  I fellow I
mentioned is a fantastic shooter and his billboards look just fine (even
if they weren't shot with a Leica!).  But content matters here and the
magic moments he captures would be almost impossible on anything else
but AF (Canon in his case).
> I received a house paint catalogue in the mail, where a photograph of a
> house in different colours  (photoshop?) had LEANING VERTICALS,  In my
> opinion this is professional suicide.  They may not realise that there
> are a lot of hungry 35mm camera operators out there just waiting for
> technical standards to drop low enough to let them in to the big money.

That one I won't argue with.  Yesterday I got call to bid job to do
photo for packaging for one of the country's largest sprinkler watering
system manufacturers.  I bid the job at around $4000 for location
finding (garden), location fees, model, assistant, stylist, my fees and
preproduction time and extra plants for foreground that we could

I spoke later to art director and he said he would do his best to sell
me.  But he said the last project he did, this client got a bid of $500
for a brochure cover photo (studio), thought it was way too much and
negotiated it down to $300.  And in the same conversation asked if the
art director could redesign this same brochure cover for less than

No, you counted the zeroes right.

At least it is crystal clear where the value of photography is these

Can I hang a plant on my back porch and do a quick photo of a hand
watering it?  Sure, and make about $500 an hour.  But it will be a
compromise.  Yet the photo they want will be the primary selling tool on
the packaging on display in stores.  BTW, this is a huge international
company all have probably heard of.

And no, they don't deserve to have it shot with a Leica.


- -- 
Donal Philby
San Diego