Dobry Rano Kamoske...

I think I opened up a can of worms because I wasnt able to express my observations well...I guess thats why I am a visual artist. I agree completley that the equipment we choose is important...hopefully if we are honest with ourselves we will choose the tools to help us with our vision, based on function and not the bells and whistles or cosmetics...and quite frankly I dont want to stand in judgment of that either. I really didnt mean to direct this thread toward a debate over equipment, even though I think it is an element in what I was trying to say. I think what I was trying to say in my initial post is that there seems to be a preoccupation with defining and achieving the elusive "Fine Print"...that the technical issues of an image somehow have made their way to the forefront of discussion, almost to the point of eclipsing the message or voice coming from an image or series of images. All things being equal, a finely crafted image is more pleasing to view than one which is poorly crafted and presented I think this is pretty much a given... But I hesitate to say that I would appreciate a full scale, delicate platinum print of my Aunt Minny's curio collection, just because it was a masterful technical print. People here discuss technique and technical aspects as well...it just isnt as much of an obsession..not so much on the forefront, as I have found it be in the Americas. When fellow photgraphers here look at my work, the first thing that comes to mind is not 'what exposure did you use, what Film,Dev,Paper,Enlarger are you using, or how did you get such incredible tonal range' ...those questions may, and often do eventually follow. The first discussion, more often, is usually about the image and what they feel about it...in the Americas my experience has more often than not, been the opposite.

From techno-gear standpoint, my observation is that the affluence of western society has created a certain predisposition among many of us (NOT ALL) to look to tangible, material things to improve their craft. I have no doubt that, given the means to do so, people over here would prefer to use a Hasselblad with Zeiss optics for their (square) medium format work than a Pentacon 6...and some do...but I think they are less likely to look to such options as a magic formula, and to BUY into the notion that it will siginificantly improve their craft.

I wont get too deep into whether or not my colleagues would jump at the chance or prefer to be in America where they can get their hands on the multiude of products available. But somehow knowing them... knowing that most of them are more well traveled in Europe, North America and further abroad than most North Americans I know... that notion would seem a bit presumptious. Prague is a modern progressive European Capital, in a country rich in the traditions of Art and Culture. There is very little here on a consumer or profesional level that doesnt exist or isnt easily aquirable. Like I said, I think some of my friends comments may be a bit over the top and judgmental, but I do agree that they are not completely off the mark, and not particularly born out of envy.

I was born and raised in Canada, but spent most of my adult life living abroad, so like Jorge at times I take notice of things that stand out with respect to what certain societies or cultures seem to place emphasis on. My observations may be incorrect...but they are my observations. Thanks for yours...and I apologize for not making myself more clear...hopefully this dispatch somewhat rectifies that.

Larry.