Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/02/24

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Definition of a Professional
From: Alan Ball <>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 21:15:01 +0100

Eric Welch wrote:
> Just because a picture is in focus and properly exposed (which is all these
> cameras can do) does not mean the image is "high quality." I think that
> kind of sentiment can actually help perpetuate the idea that photographers
> are just button-pushers. "Hey, if I had his camera, I could take pictures
> just like him, why pay him $1,000 to do it?

Actually yes, by "high quality" I did mean 'in focus and properly
exposed'. Which is, I agree, an extremely narrow definition of quality.
But one that works - due to the viewer's lack of photographic culture -
for a lot of daily photography (local newspaper people pics for
example). Talent for subject selection, composition, tweaking of light,
best focus depth, whatever, is a different matter. Most people, buyers
included, do not really care about that...

The high end glossy fashion shots, sports, close-ups of lion eating
zebra, etc, require a hardware and logistics investment that usually put
them out of reach of the layman. A protected pro zone.

> Because very, very few people can actually produce "high quality" work.
> Pro, let alone amateur.

I guess we'll disagree here: I have no reason to believe there is a 'per
se' hierarchy supposing more quality on the pro side. More reliability,
yes, more adaptability, a better sense of opportunity, more efficiency.
But not necessarily more quality.

> And there are plenty of photographers out there making six figures. To me,
> anyway, that's dang good money. Though I know of only one photojournalist
> who makes six figures - James Natchwey, the greatest war photographer ever.

Plenty ? Not on this side of the Atlantic anyway. A few, probably yes,
in France, Italy or Germany. But not plenty. True, the PJ is certainly
even less of a walking jackpot. Especially if he/she spends that little
income on Leica equipment ;-/