Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/07/08

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Subject: [Leica] Photo whores {was Life magazine} vs word herders
From: Eric Welch <>
Date: Wed, 08 Jul 1998 07:41:41 -0500

At 10:41 AM 7/8/98 +0200, you wrote:

>illustrations (pictures included) are good. I'd suggest a little
>modesty: in my professional eyes, pictures are just a part of the
>illustrative material of a column, with no less and no more importance
>than computer generated graphics and screenshots. Of course in my

That is what's wrong with the publishing industry. Attitudes that don't
understand the power of photography. We fight it every day, in a world of
non-visual professionals. They put down the power of photography, because
there's nothing they can do that can match it - when it's done right. 

I'd like to see the infographic that helped turn America against the
Vietnam war like Eddie Adams' picture of General Lo shooting the Vietnamese
suspect in the head. I'd like to see the chart that makes one feel like
Gene Smith's "Pieta of Japan" from his Minimata Essay/Book. I'd like to see
the screenshot that moved a teacher to give money to a family that takes
them out of the homeless shelter, puts clothes on the kids backs, gets them
a new apartment to live in, enrolls the mother in college and get her a
job, and feeds them three meals a day like a picture I took about 9 years
ago of a little girl looking out the window of that shelter.

Photography usage is exactly damaged by such attitudes, and is the reason
the publishing industry has been headed in the direction of the toilet for
the last 20 years. Word herders who are afraid of the power of photography
overshadowing their own work, often a minor work of fiction masking as
reportage. They resent our ethical standards, that make them seem lax in
their own. What more can I say? 

Boy, you set me off on that one. If you meant to put a smiley face on it,
- -- 

Eric Welch
St. Joseph, MO

My computer's sick. I think my modem is a carrier.