Bob Witt wrote:
I offer the suggestion that photographers usually take photos of what interest them. Their mission is not to record a random sample of the freight cars that pass through a given area. Wheel reports and other similar records are the "hard data". Photographs are someone's vision of their "world".Of course. Who could argue?
But if a photographer takes, say, a thousand images and no bias is obvious; or if we have the work of numerous photographers in an area, none of whose bias is obvious, what "vision of the world" is at stake? Are these photo sets NECESSARILY unrepresentative?
Bob, if you trouble to read the introduction to the NMRA book presenting the Bob Charles collection (unfortunately, the photographer's name is unknown), you will find that the photos in fact ARE rather representative of the statistics Messrs. Gilbert and Nelson have developed for us.
Of course a particular set of photographs may be far from representative; but let us NOT conclude therefrom that ALL sets of photographs are without statistical value.
Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
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