« on: March 17, 2014, 12:22:22 PM »
Having worked as a photographer almost my entire adult life, I've run across a few of the most famous, several more near-famous and a good many who thought they were.
I started out in photojournalism, back in the pre-digital days. Perhaps because of my chosen path, the ones I considered at the top still processed their own film and made the final prints. I'm sure this shaped my views, that those who were the best earned their reputations the hard wayand mastered every aspect of their craft. To not do so was considered taking a shortcut and avoiding paying their necessary dues.
Even when I became one of the best in my specialty, I've almost always had to do all the work. It's still true to this day, perhaps even more so with digital publishing, market convergence and shrinking corporate photography budgets. This is probably why I have the most respect for photographers who still carry their own bags.
Yet I'll concede, in certain areas of photography, we can't all be one-man bands. Some disciplines require a group effort and great team skills. I know there are a few photographers who have achieved well-deserved fame, even when they do only a portion of the work. But, I'd like to think they earned their status because they can see the big picture and effectively communicate their vision to others.
Unfortunately, I've found too many whose mark of greatness seems to be solely self-proclaimed. The more elaborate their set appears, the more subordinates running around, all the better. But, they seem to have mastered no more skill than that of the famous American, Tom Sawyer, convincing others to pay to work for them, at best. And, at their worst, charlatans and truly great... frauds.