This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1911" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1911.
Mr. Robert Frothingham of the Butterick Trio and Everybody's Magazine gave one of his characteristic addresses before the Professional Photographers Association of New York, at their annual meeting in February, that provides food for thought for every earnest worker in photography. Mr. Frothingham has had a broad experience in advertising work; he knows his subject and belongs to that growing group of advertising men who insist that the first essential in good advertising is good goods back of that advertising.
He said in part:
"What's to prevent the local photographer from convincing his clientele that he has something superlative to offer in the way of artistic photography?
"I am talking to you as a layman. I am so clumsy an amateur that I don't belong in your ranks at all. I am only one of the public that you operate upon, from whom you make your living. And I say that the public will stand for mediocrity in almost every other line of business more readily than they will stand for it in yours.
"We will put up with poor teachers for our children; with doctors who are not the best; with lawyers whom we don't respect; with preachers who put us to sleep; with merchants who make us mad. But when we come to having our pictures taken - we who know what a good picture is - we call for quality. Our personal vanity is at stake. We have seen the best types of photography, and we are going to have our pictures, and those of our family, as fine and artistic as the best.
"This is one of the results of publicity. Why do we want to buy things? Chiefly because we want the same things that other folks have, or better things than theirs. Compare our demands of to-day with the simpler demands of thirty years ago and you will see that they have been artificially made. Step by step, we have seen what other people have bought, and then we went them one better. Publicity in all its phases has made the modern demand - and that demand is not for mediocrity - it is for quality.
"We may go to a photographer who offers us a mark-down in the summer.
"But in our hearts we expect he will give us just as good work at his half-price as he would at his regular price; and when he doesn't, we are ashamed of our pictures, and we are sore in the bargain. That doesn't do the photographer any good - No, sir.
"Quality is the thing we, the public, exact of you down in your hearts, as we exact it of nobody else. If we desert you to go to a photographer in a bigger city, it is because we want quality so badly, and we fancy we may get it by taking the trolley.
"Then, why don't you advertise your quality? Speak for yourself, John.' Inasmuch as practically none of you could be anything but local advertisers, there's no point at which you and I could do business together, as I am interested in national advertising alone.
"But I am concerned in the principles and the deeper science of advertising. That science has some of the same principles for the local advertisers as for the national advertisers.
"Do you know what the modern science of advertising rests on? Not on making a noise. Not on mere catching attention. Not on getting the public to buy once. The one thing you absolutely need - the keystone to your arch - is an insurance of the public's good will, secured by the highest quality of work adequately advertised. To invest in the sure results of human nature is the only intelligent faith.
"The first asset - and the most constant asset - of the up-to-date photographer is that his product must be 100% in quality. It must be as good as brains and skill and honesty of purpose can make it. Personal honor must be wrought into it. The integrity of the master craftsman must permeate the workmen. Eagerness to improve the product constantly must rule the shop. The thing made must be the honest pride of the men who make it.
"Such work is able to commend itself by itself. If not advertised at all, it perchance may establish a certain place for itself, though limited. If advertised properly, it proves its own best advertisement; for, after being introduced by adequate publicity, high grade work gathers momentum from itself.
"The only advertising that is worth spending a dollar for is that which convinces the public that the advertiser is on the level, that he tells the truth, that his goods have quality.
"There isn't any such thing as natural demand.' If a man thinks he is going to procreate an infant industry with quality for one leg and natural demand' for the other leg, let him look out for a one-legged progeny-for the natural demand' leg will be missing. By this time experience should teach him that the only two-legged industries that can sprint around the whole circle of possible consumers, must indeed have quality for one leg, but its mate must be the leg of publicity. That business can do stunts.
"A merchant can make so much noise that the crowd will give him a matinee. But unless the quality of his goods is 100%, the crowd won't come back.
From An Artura Iris Print By George Graham Holloway Terre Haute, Indiana.
"In other words, the one lasting science of advertising is in having real quality to offer, and in not advertising anything that won't advertise itself when it becomes known.
*Sow an act, we reap a habit; Sow a habit, we reap a character; Sow a character, we reap a destiny.'