I have a strong feeling that, with the demise of the great news magazines such as "Life", a powerful standard of excellence in documentary photography has been lost and, as a result, large bodies of so-called documentary photography are seeing the light of day whose authors in the past would have been urged to toss all their pictures into the garbage and either do the same with their cameras or else make a great deal more mental effort in their work. I cannot count the number of "documentary" portfolios I have seen, both by student photographers and more experienced workers, which consist of subjects staring blankly full-face into the camera, thus only documenting the photographer's total failure to engage with them. Photographers of this kind should be urgently advised to study the work of, for example, W. Eugene Smith before exposing a single frame more.

In the case of the two present photographers, if Adams is photographing his own people and the example shown is the result of a lengthy project, the only conclusion which comes to my mind is that he is such a poor and untalented photographer that he should probably quit forever - the picture posted looks like the first frame exposed by a raw college student who just got off the bus. As regards Gedney, there is at least an attempt at a personal viewpoint, but I feel the qualities offered by the (presumably) large-format camera used are acting more as a barrier than as a means of engaging with and revealing insights into the subjects.

Regards,

David