Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/03/21

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: Adams, Weston, and... Welch?
From: "Bruce Feldman" <>
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 21:20:42 +0100

: [Leica] Re: Adams, Weston, and... Welch?

>The WERE in the world, and of it. Ansel made a living shooting living bras,
>Kodak Coloramas, Japanese internment camp victims, mines and University

Largely irrelevant.  I wouldn't want to judge any photographer on just what
they had to do for a living.  Clearly, Adams wasn't about the aesthetics of
living bras.

>Just because they choose to photograph one aspect of the world that
>Europeans are probably not equipped to appreciate, the way we who grew up
>with the big trees and rocks understand, doesn't invalidate what they do.

Well, first, I don't know what "equipped to appreciate" means.  I would say
that the eye, the ear, the tastebud, the nose, *in general* have to be
trained to fully appreciate great art, music, food, wine, etc.  It usually
doesn't come automatically, whether you're an American or European.  Second,
it's not a question of validation, but one of taste and value.  I don't
think HCB was saying that Weston and Adams were hacks.  To the contrary, HCB
apparently felt that they were very talented photographers who were wasting
their considerable talents at a time when they were so badly needed by
humanity.  This is a question of taste and value, and I happen to agree with
his assessment.  When I think of HCB and the other French photographers of
his generation -- Boubat, Ronis, Isiz, Doisneau, Depardon, Charbonnier,
Lartique, Riboud, etc. -- I find their work simply irresistable.  It had a
human quality -- not an American quality or a European quality -- that is
unmatched, according to my taste, compared to the cold, barren, clinical
vistas of Adams or the beautiful art-class rock and nude exercises of
Weston -- when their work is considered as a whole.

Bruce Feldman
Warsaw, Poland (in Europe, for those "not equipped" to know)