Would this be on or off-topic? Somebody's rare work, prints' availability, techniques, setups, books?

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Sure, I think that seems relevant. When studying any field, it is useful to think about the masters in that field.

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Think this depends entirely on the question. Photographers may only be famous within a specific territory.

Questions of the form of "I like how [Will Cheung/etc.] achieved [effect X/etc.], I've tried doing [approach a/b/c/etc.] but have been unsucessful. How can I achieve [effect X]?" are going to be more obviously on topic than "What do you think of [Will Cheung/etc]?"

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  • I think your latter question would be off-topic because it's too vague, but IMO similar questions "What do you think of [Will Cheung/etc]'s use of X" or "How do I think about [Will Cheung/etc]'s use of X in my own work" are on-topic. – Reid Jul 27 '10 at 22:22

This seems for the most part to be on-topic, but we have to be very careful when defining "Famous" photographers. For instance, Henri Cartier-Bresson or Ansel Adams are clearly famous, and known of by most photographers, but what about someone like Kiino Villand who is a professional with some notoriety, but is probably not actually known by a majority of photographers?

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  • I think it would go further than that -- We're now seeing professional photographers that have not had formal training and haven't ever studied the masters, and as such, might not be aware of what others may consider as world famous - they may only know those whose writings they read, such as the editor of the photo mag they subscribe to, or the bloggers they read. I believe context of the question is key (see my answer for more...) – Rowland Shaw Jul 27 '10 at 12:41

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