Some well known names I agree but where did they obtain the recognition? Certainly not in Checkoslovakia, if I remember correctly Josuf Karsh died in Canada after a long career in the US. My point is that being a "suffering artist" does not make your art better or more profound, it only makes you a PITA to listen to. ALthough there is merit in making beautiful images with the bare minimum there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the materials present to make it even more beautiful. So as I stated before the stance that americans are techno junkies I think comes from a little envy, I know I am envious and I wish I could get all the stuff as easily and cheaply as they do in the US.
BTW I know the first 3....the last 3..???? maybe there. I am sure they are wonderful photographers, but I bet you given the chance they would love to be in the US selling their prints rather than there being suffering artists....ask your friends this, if they pity americans so much are they going to refuse to sell their prints in the US? you cant have your cake and eat it too.
I can tell you this because this is my situation, in Mexico there are many good photographers, but people here buy art to fill in wall space and they would rather pay $20 for a big print than $400 for an 8x10, even if it is pt.
There are many wonderful things to photograph here that are not as derivative simply because it is so difficult to pursue the art, so I will try and market my portfolio in the US when I am ready. In a sense I am in the same place as your friends, but I lived in the US for 24 years, so I know that although it is not perfect, it is still the best thing going.
SO dont take offense LD, as I did not mean to belittle the art produced there, but I disagree with the stance your friends mention and having experienced both sides I think I know what I am talking about.