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Grant Romer, on:
the profession of photography

Grant Romer Q: When the Kodak camera came out, was there a backlash against Kodak and Kodak camera from professional photographers?

The Kodak camera is a quintessential amateur's camera. And the amateur before the dry plate was a very dedicated amateur, was really a form of professional; he just didn't make money from his practice of photography. The gelatin dry plate created a different type of amateur, but still a very dedicated and skilled amateur. It simplified photography, made it possible for many thousands to practice it for fun, for recreation, for personal application. But with that came a sort of diminishing of the professional aspect of the photographer. The photographer had tried to establish himself as something special in society, as not only a skilled technician, not only something of a scientist, but also an artist as well. The high end of the profession saw their profession as an art as well as a science, as well as a technique and a technology. But the amateur photographer didn't have that pride, didn't practice the art in the same way. And of course professionals would look upon that as a sort of sullying of the profession, the sacred profession of photography, when it was in the hands of people who did not sort of earn their stripes by understanding the chemistry of photography, the technology of photography, and still were able to practice it. So just as in the 19th century there were complaints that the wrong class of people were being encouraged to travel, if you accept that sort of concept in society, then the idea that the wrong class of people were being encouraged to photograph might follow as well.

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