Fotograf Magazine

An Amateur: Noble Spirit – Flag Carrier – Outsider

If the term amateur can be typified by anything it is by ambiguity. Or more precisely the ambiguity that it has for its contemporaries. Surely nobody considers himself to be an amateur. Or: Yes, I am an amateur, that is a non-professional, but my creative work does have a professional standard. At least most of the people I know think that … I exhibited, they printed me… This is in a rough outline the mental anatomy of the “remote amateurism” as encountered in recent times. The problematic identity of the modern amateur and the consequent unclear role of amateurism in the local history of photography have a surprisingly simple cause: a craving after justice in terms of the social status of the artist being directly proportionate to the standard of quality of his artistic expression. This initiated a lengthy and more or less vain dialogue between amateurs and professionals, where the two sides were unable to reach common ground as their positions in the power field by their definition did not permit it. For us the whole situation provides an opportunity for looking into the system of art photography, which like any system does not allow for some things to co-exist.

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František Maršálek: Balada o zřícenině č. IX, 1973
Jiří Horák: Fantom II, 1974