Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Much of the best work is done by amateurs (1890)

The origin of “much of the best work” is “done by amateurs” dates back to 1890 in photography.  At that time, glass photographic plates was the norm for large images, as compared to the Kodak box camera released in 1888 with flexible roll film returned to the company for processing and reloading.

Thoroughness

Much of the best work one sees is done by so-called amateurs. In fact, good work can only be done by amateurs in the true sense; i.e., those who love their work, and the secret is thoroughness. One must be thoroughly interested in the work—make a thorough study of the subject, and have nerve enough to keep the holder out of the camera unless the light is satisfactory and the composition thoroughly good. The “you press the button and we do the work” method is often effective, but for plates of any size more often a waste than a gain.

Very frequently we see picture makers who carefully read and observe the instructions sent by the makers with each box of plates, and the result is favorable. I envy them their pictures and the ability to stick to instructions, but I can’t do it myself. I confess to having little interest in a picture after the first batch of prints, or even after the negative has shown its quality—for the chemistry and other details of the subject exhaust most of my zeal.

It has been my pleasure to incite some hundreds of persons to try the various branches of photography, pure and simple, while I have done some work in every branch from wet-plate to photo-engraving, and the criticisms here made apply equally to myself.

I am a “hit or miss” portraitist, but am dead sure on some other branches said to be more difficult.

Most people fail in their efforts in some direction, as is quite natural. Those who stick to one class of photographs usually make a success.

I like to watch others work, and my experience is that failures are due to lack of thoroughness at some stage. [….]

J.W. MacMurray

Source:  MacMurray, J.W. 1890. “Thoroughness.” In The American Annual of Photography, edited by C.W. Canfield, 4:38–40. New York, NY, USA: The Scovill & Adams Company. https://archive.org/stream/americanannualof04newy#page/n83/mode/2up.

The 1890 author is fully identified as Major J.W. MacMurray, USA in the table of contents [p. v].   It is likely the same Major J.W. McMurray who was appointed as a Military Professor at the University of Missouri in 1872. The interest in photography might be associated with drawing in engineering in the U.S. Army at that time.

Military Science.

The instructions in Military Science, and the drill of the soldiers, which had been suspended in consequence of the retirement from service of the later professor, will be resumed under favorable circumstances, Major J. W. McMurray, of the First Regiment of Artillery, having been detailed by the President as Military Professor in the University.

Major McMurray reported himself for duty on the 21st of March. He will also take charge of a class in practical engineering. Indeed, a class in topographic and field surveying, with the use of instruments, is now under his instruction. [p. 20]

The Campus.

Major McMurray has undertaken a work which has been too long neglected — the improvement and beautifying of the University Campus.  The survey of this ground, so admirably adapted in its natural surface to the highest art in the production of scenery, the laying off of walks, the adjustment of curves, the calculation of topography, the construction of an artificial lake, and other arrangements, have afforded valuable practical exercises for his class.

The improvement, which is now in progress, will cost not less than $1,200; and it is believed, will produce an excellent influence upon the moral and aesthetic culture of the students.

We cannot pass by this more desirable work, which already promises so much towards presenting to the eye a lovely and picturesque landscape, without recording it as one of the notable events in the history of the year’s progress.

Drawing.

A class in Drawing was organized for the second semester, under the instruction of Prof. Abert, the Professor of English Literature.  The long experiences of Prof. Abert, as an Engineer in the U.S. Army, and his particular taste and artistic culture, eminently qualify him to give instruction of the highest order in this important art — elegant as an accomplishment, and indispensable to the engineer, the architect, and in all the applications of science to the pursuits of life.  The class instruction has been highly successful, and many of the specimens retained in the drawing room exhibit extraordinary proficiency on the part of the students.  [p. 21]

Source: University of Missouri. 1872. General Catalog at http://books.google.ca/books?id=SvNEAQAAMAAJ

The Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy opened in 1871 is now The Missouri University of Science and Technology.

American Annual of Photography, 1890

American Annual of Photography, 1980, on the Internet Archive


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • daviding: “In the #anthropocene, humans can impact less.…” April 17, 2022
      In the #anthropocene, humans can impact less.> The report shows that Canada's economy can grow without increasing carbon emissions. The country's GDP grew 22 per cent between 2005 and 2020, but carbon emissions declined by 9.3 per cent over that period.https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/climate-change-pandemic-emissions-canada-1.6420159
    • daviding: “With #CodeForCanada , a presentation + workshop guide for #C…” April 15, 2022
      With #CodeForCanada , a presentation + workshop guide for #CanadianDigitalService on "#SystemsThinking through Changes: An #ActionLearning guide" is available CC-BY-SA https://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/systems-thinking-through-changes/ . A milestone release by #SystemsChanges Learning Circle for practitioners, alongside publication in review
    • daviding: “When there is a larger threat from outside, attention is dra…” March 25, 2022
      When there is a larger threat from outside, attention is drawn away from internal struggles within. #RobertReich puts a historical perspective on current affairs in the USA. > Putin has brought a fractured Nato together. Maybe he’s bringing America back together too. It’s the thinnest of silver linings to the human disaster he’s creating, but […]
    • daviding: “For those who are critical about "design thinking", #KarelVr…” January 27, 2022
      For those who are critical about "design thinking", #KarelVredenburg makes the strong distinction between design and pseudo-design. https://www.karelvredenburg.com/home/2021/10/9/cr2h7dllvanrttb1tn8cfx1zjuhqol
    • daviding: “"Why Science Does Not Know: A Brief History of (the Notion o…” December 4, 2021
      "Why Science Does Not Know: A Brief History of (the Notion of) Scientific Ignorance in the Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Centuries" https://journalhistoryknowledge.org/articles/10.5334/jhk.40/?s=09
  • RSS on IngBrief

    • Book review of ZHANG, Zailin (2008) “Traditional Chinese Philosophy as the Philosophy of the Body” | Robin R. Wang | 2009
      In this review of a philosophical work written in Chinese, a comparison is made between Chinese philosophy centering on the body, in comparison to Western philosopy centered on the mind. (I found a reference to this book, tracing back from Keekok Lee (2017) Chapter 9, footnote 8.
    • Approche systémique
      The translation from English "systems thinking" to French "la pensée systémique" misses meaning. "Approche systémique" has lineage to "Conférences Macy", "General System Theory (Bertalanffy)" and "Gregory Bateson"
    • The Arrogance of Humanism (1978/1981) David W. Ehrenfeld
      When one chooses a guiding philosophy of life  -- and the modern world has chosen humanism -- one becomes responsible for all the consequences that flow from that choice. (David W. Ehrenfeld, 1981)
    • The evolution of service systems to service ecosystems | Brozović and Tregua 2022
      “Rethinking Systems Thinking” (2013) is cited by #DaniloBrozović (U. Skövde), #MarcoTregua (U. Napoli Federico II): The level of complexity in current service ecosystems is rising, not least due to technology (Barile et al., 2020), with the effect of such increased complexity of service ecosystems being perceived as ‘simple’. On the other hand, some systems researchers […]
    • 1995 Francois Jullien, The Propensity of Things
      Jullien views propensity in Chinese philosophy, as a counterpart to causality in Western philosophy.  Some unpacking of his writing in digests may be helpful. Jullien, François. 1995. The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China. Translated by Janet Lloyd. Zone Books. Introduction How can we conceive of the dynamic in terms of the static, in […]
    • Reformation and transformation (Ackoff 2003, 2010)
      In his system of system concepts, Russell Ackoff made the distinction between reformation and transformation in many of his lectures. Here are two written sources. From Redesigining Society (2003) … Systemic Transformation A system is transformed, as contrasted with reformed, when its structure or functions are changed fundamentally. Such changes are discontinuous and qualitative, quantum […]
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2022/04 Moments April 2022
      Spring sees art exhibitions opening up around Toronto, then a trip to the Bay Area in Northern California to visit family and friends.
    • 2022/03 Moments March 2022
      Emergence from hibernation at home, as winter gives way to spring
    • 2022/02 Moments February 2022
      Walking rather than bicycling in a colder winter this year, travel out of the neighbourhood by car.
    • 2022/01 Moments January 2022
      An indoor start to the year, with the combination of cold weather and pandemic restrictions coincident with writing a journal article to deadline at the end of the month.
    • 2021/12 Moments December 2021
      Shorter days with earlier sunsets, holiday season, and a trip via Vancouver, British Columbia, to visit with newlyweds in Oakland, California
    • 2021/11 Moments November 2021
      Academic research conferences in Brussels, visiting with friends, and sightseeing smaller towns in Belgium, as we've visited Brussels before.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • Meta

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal