Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/10/09

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: LUGPhoto Quotes To Brighten Your Day
From: Robert Appleby <>
Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2000 20:56:17 +0200

Many on the LUG love to relate the use of their Leica gear as impromptu 
weapons in securing a favored position to document an event.  Why, one 
might ask, if not to lay claim to an 'authorative' representation of the 
moment?  If such a photo were to become emblematic, to appear, for 
instance, as an illustration in a college history textbook, would we 
dismiss the photographer's aggressive shaping of the image as 
inconsequential to its content?  I doubt it.


Chandos, I think that one of the deadly traps of photojournalism in general
is the urge to produce emblematic images which fail to transmit or even
notice the particularity of place or person. How many pictures have you
seen of a person afflicted with leprosy laughing with his kids? No, he has
to be miserable because he's a leprosy victim, and therefore his personal
experience must be disregarded in the pursuit of a larger theme. Or a drug
addict enjoying a cup of tea with his mates? This is an insidious form of
"invention", really a sort of propaganda, which it's hard not to fall into,
especially when dealing with the exotic or "serious". Very little
journalistic photography allows people to be more than symbols of their
Sontag just has a very snappy way of putting it. Better than me!
There does seem to be an anti-intellectual trend to the LUG at times, I
wonder why? Not that I count myself as an intellectual or artist, whatever.
Actually, I find Diane Arbus' comment more self-consciously oracular than
Robert Appleby
V. Bellentani 36
41100 MO
tel. (+39) 059 303436
mob. (+39) 0348 336 7990