I don't know if I am following you:
You don't mean that my father's photo is at the same level of Henri Cartier Bresson, Doisneau or any of this masters, do you ?
I am sure you don't.
You know that many many times in life the chance of knowing the right people and having some money can put you in the right track of life.
I mean, doing what you really like and know, get known in the "millieux" depends too often on the pleople you know.
If your friend is a critic of art you get a good change of becoming well known.
Yes, that was exactly what I meant.
I have several books on the works of those photographers that I mentioned and one or two things become apparent: they were working to a political brief (the magazine or agency´s) which was left-wing; they all tended to do the same sort of photography because they all were hired to concentrate on the same subject which was the poorer ´downtrodden´ or ´ordinary´ citizens of France. Several of them were not even French but refugees from other European countries which were making it too hot for them to remain where they were. This must obviously have coloured their personal point of view on life - how could it not ? - and because so many young people tend to be naturally left-wing - a sort of romantic but impossible reality-defying ideal - the work of those photographers has managed to survive by virtue of that youth market, at least the part of it that´s literate enough to care one way ot the other, and to buy into recent history, not to mention the many photographers who look upon that era and those personalities as a kind of support for their own attitude, quite apart from the fact that some of the work is simply so interesting in a non-political way.
There is also a romantic touch in looking back at the styles and ways of recent history and these photo-books provide instant access to that past, which is why I think that it is not just photographers that buy them.
Okay, your father´s photograph is just one that I have seen; extrapolation is always suspect, but I see no reason to believe that he was unable to do other pictures in that style or, perhaps better to say, in that idiom. If they were as good, then because he might not have been published doesn´t demean his oeuvre at all. Because I have made my living as a professional does not mean that an amateur is unable to produce work every bit as good if not better than my own. The only difference might well be that as a pro I get one chance each time, and if I fail I don´t eat.
Doing that photo-journalist thing is a matter of eye as much as any other type of photography inevitably is too. If your father was able to see that one picture, then why would he not be able to see others in other places and circumstances?
Ciao - Rob C