Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/06/21

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Subject: Re: [Leica] HCB Did It All First
From: Eric Welch <>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 17:20:42 -0700

on 06/21/03 4:47 PM, Ted Grant at wrote:

> do you think many of the "photo-editors" of today would be
> as hully gully over his work shooting the way life is today? Or do you think
> if the clock were turned back to his age of the thirties and he was on the
> street shooting, say in North America. Do you believe he'd capture the same
> or similar or whatever impact photos of how life is in North America these
> days? Without getting mugged, beaten or worse.. arrested? Over to you.

Well, Ted...

Being a photo editor now, I have to say I wish I could put the old boy to
work. (No, not you, you have plenty of work!) :-)

I search the world looking for photos. Unfortunately, the specialized nature
of my subject matter means there are very few photographers who can meet my
needs. (Thus I have to shoot a lot of stuff for myself.) And Cartier-Bresson
isn't one of them. He doesn't have a macro lens for one...

There are maybe 10 GREAT gem photographers in the world. Well, 11, I count
Harold and Erica Van Pelt as one. I'm a regular source of work for Fred Ward
now. Though I hope when he wins his millions from National Geographic (and
he will, he had 870 images on the NG CD and Greenberg just got $100,000 per
image from them) he'll maybe send me some photos gratis. We are a non-profit
after all. :-) 

But just like Fred is acknowledged as one of the greats of gem photography,
in most areas of photography there are very few at the top. Almost
universally recognized as the best by most professionals who know what
they're talking about. Cartier-Bresson is one of them. And nobody is going
to change that, regardless of how sure they are of their opinion.

I never liked Gary Winogrand's work for many years. But as I matured in my
vision, somehow he got better. Elliott Erwitt has always been great, always
will be. W. Eugene Smith was another who always was great, always will be.
Sam Abell, Jim Brandenberg for nature photography, David Doubilet for
underwater work. Ted Grant for medical photography. (Okay, that was a bit
gratuitous!) :-)

Maybe we ganged up a bit too much on the poor guy, but he was so cock-sure
of himself, I think we decided to put the fear of God in 'im. Like we have
the right or something. :-P

Eric Welch
Carlsbad, CA

If it is more than 500 feet from the car, it isn't photogenic. -Edward

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