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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #1457

James wrote:

> Mmmmm........ $16.00US/$26.00Cdn to enter........you get a booklet
> containing the top 300 entries, and you give up ALL rights to the use of
> your image. Plus, you have to use Color Slide Film (which requires far
> skill to use well than it does to aquascape an aquarium....).

<large snip about supporting AGA and PAM>

> Don't get me wrong, Amano is a fabulous photographer, a very good
> and an astute business man. But the way some people on this list drool
> the mere mention of his name is almost undignified.

Hi Folks, I really appreciate James' vocal support of both the AGA and PAM.
I too wish that PAM could have continued, though I certainly understand
Dave's reasons for folding.  OTOH, I'd like to point out that there is no
need for the AGA contest and the ADA contest to be an "either/or"
proposition.  Add the entry fees for both contests AND the film/processing
together, and you are still talking less than $50 to participate in both.

As far as giving up rights to your photo is concerned... take two!  That
might seem a little flip, but how many people who enter this contest
actually sell any of their photos?  Of those people,( and I'm one of them)
how many don't have any "spares" that are very, very close in quality and
content to another?

On to Mr. Amano and ADA.  I now feel that I have the experience to speak on
this subject personally.  I had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time
with Mr. Amano during the time leading up to the convention.  I found him to
be warm, personable and deeply committed to this hobby.  He is NOT just a
business man out to get what he can from hobbyists.

Mr. Amano knows his craft, there is no doubt about that.  But his goal
really is to share with the rest of us, just as we share with each other.
He looked totally mystified when I told him how much Americans pay for
"Amano" shrimp.  He wanted to know if we didn't have freshwater shrimp in
this country that would eat algae.  I told him that of course we did, but
that they didn't come with an "Amano" name tag.  He just laughed!  He
couldn't believe it!  We also spent enjoyable time comparing stories of our
experiences in the Amazon.

Dave G can tell you the costs of producing color magazines in small numbers.
I am quite sure that the $16 entry fee does little more than cover the
production costs.  AGA can afford to do it for much less because we display
the images on the internet, and because everyone involved donates their time
and efforts.  Personally, I love the ADA aquascaping contest publication.
It includes not only photos of the tanks, but background information, and
detailed comments from the judges on the top tanks.  Maybe it's me, but I
like books!<g>

Before meeting Mr. Amano in person, I also had my reservations.  I still
think that James is right, that he shouldn't be put up on some pedestal...
but I don't think that's what he wants either.  As impressed as I have
always been with his talent as an artist, I find that I am much more
impressed with him as a person, and as a fellow aquarist/nature lover.

(I'd also like to point out that if it weren't for the tremendous talent of
one of our own APD/AGA members, Tomoko Schum, we would not have had the
opportunity to get to know Mr. Amano the way we did.  Thinking back on the
experience, I "remember" it as if I were talking DIRECTLY with him.  Tomoko
did an outstanding job making that happen!)

So I guess my advice on the contest issue would be, DON'T choose.  If you
are proud of your aquascape, take the time to enter BOTH contests!  Judges
differ, and yes, photographic ability is a little more important for the ADA
contest. (but that's not necessarily a bad thing to strive for either!)  So
the same tanks won't necessarily win both contests.  That's true in horse
shows too.  As far as I'm concerned, the diversity of opinions is part of
what makes this hobby so interesting!