I'm in and out of art galleries often. I watch the production, display, and acclaim-seeking of a lot of camera-based art these days and I'll say that most of it is discovered rather than created.

Modern digital picture-making enables innumerable images to be captured without effortful thought, without technical skill, and without cost. A successful "artist" shoot (I've watched a few) may be no more challenging than gathering evocative materials, models, sets, props, and lights, and banging away at promising juxtapositions several thousand times in succession until fatigue or boredom sets in. The next step is to bring art into being. Somewhere in the winnowing and editing process quirky, weird, or striking images will be found. If not found then processed into existence. There is genuine art, major or minor, in recognising which images go over well in contemporary galleries.

Assuming an exhibition venue is already organised the next step is to call up one's funding and order production of very large versions of the selected images. Finally value has to be imbued into the art-work by a process called valorisation. Valorisation is achieved by discourse. And discourse is all the publicity, talk, critical acclaim, artist interviews, auctioneering, and conspicuous prices bid by millionaires that power the contemporary art cycle.

This is all very different to a traditional approach of making pictures out of light-sensitive materials. Light-sensitive materials are expensive, cannot be un-exposed and re-used, require refined technical knowledge, and impose extended effort in merely making lookable pictures to check one's progress.

If you have read this far you will know which side I am on. Classic APUG style photography, by way of contrast with the contemporary picture-making, is preservation of what fine photography has always been. It offers a rich experience for people who love rarity, singularity, fully realized handcraft, fine materials, archival durability, coherent scholarship, and interesting content. It remains worth looking at.