Are you an hobbyist or artist?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Poohblah, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Similar subjects have been discussed under the guise of "What is art?" or "What constitutes a photograph vs. a picture?" and it seems that many responses are superficial, improvised attempts to make the speaker appear superior to the masses of photographers. But I am wondering about your approach, and how you think of yourself in relationship to the camera and the photograph. Are you a businessman or a professional who depends on the camera as the fisherman depends on his tackle? Are you a photojournalist who tells stories? Are you an artist sharing your own story? Or are you a hobbyist who simply enjoys playing with cameras? And, of course, these categories are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive.

    I would like to hear your thoughts. In high school I was the hobbyist playing with lenses in the light and paper in the dark. Now the image is my hobby. I am not so vain to think myself an artist; perhaps one day I will be, but for now my aspirations lie in the realm of composition and exposure, not content or meaning.

    And I am not attempting to place a value judgment on being an artist. Quite the opposite, in fact. Sometimes I feel that the discussions in photography forums reduce the spectrum of photographs to "art or not" when in fact photographs can be something else entirely.
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,073
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I make photographs simply to express my appreciation for what I see and experience. Sometimes somebody wants a print for free, sometimes to buy, but mostly I do it for my own enjoyment. No expectation of revenue or recognition, though I do show stuff in various places to provide a sort of visual journal of what I am up to. To me, helping others get as much enjoyment out of photography as I get is the best payment of all. In my heart of hearts I am a teacher and a student.
     
  3. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

    Messages:
    543
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Location:
    Bothell, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
  4. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,342
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I am strictly a hobbyist, nothing more. Just a happy shooter!
     
  5. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member

    Messages:
    809
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would say I am more of a hacker than anything else, but if I had to pick one or the other, artist or hobbyist, I would have to say hobbyist.
     
  6. 5stringdeath

    5stringdeath Member

    Messages:
    603
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Sure
     
  7. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,307
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    When people would ask me if photography was a hobby or if I was a professional, I would answer that photography was my passion. That always seem to satisfy their curiosity. Now I say that I am a professional artist.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2010
  8. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

    Messages:
    543
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Location:
    Bothell, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I like the passion response. I think I'll use that in the future. :smile:

    The implication that I don't like about 'hobbyist' is that you aren't serious about your work, the quality of it, artistic elements, etc.

    I view hobbyist and professional as antonyms, not artist and hobbyist. The hobbyist/professional distinction is about livelihood, not about quality of work.
     
  9. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

    Messages:
    825
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    San Luis Obi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, I have mastered other art forms and accumulated some other art forms I haven't mastered along the way.. and in reality I'm a paid technical artist as my day job is computer software development. Even though I haven't sold any print as a professional, I am sure as heck an artist! I was born an artist! Someone mentioned being a hacker. Well, hacking is a process of discovery. It doesn't preclude one from being an artist. Do you think that Renoire or Monet or Matisse or the like didn't hack?
    Impressionism was all about hacking in its early days! (now it is learned the "proper" way through instruction) And now it is sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, some millions of dollars and nobody disputes that it is art or that it was created by an artist.

    And I think anyone who spends a deal of time pursuing their passions which are creative in nature, that person has every right to verbally announce they are an artist without any doubt or hesitation!

    :smile:
     
  10. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Right. "Hobbyist and artist" is not supposed to be a dichotomy. Perhaps I haven't made that clear.

    I do appreciate your responses. I am tired of hearing one-or-the-other discussions.
     
  11. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

    Messages:
    1,267
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Hasselt, Bel
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A hobbyist looks for sharpness
    A pro looks for assignments
    An artist looks for light

    -m-
     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,307
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    ...or bokeh (or however it is spelled) :wink:

    It was when I realized that I was looking for light that I started to realize that photography was a passion and that art was what I was immersed in.
     
  13. dng88

    dng88 Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Hobbyist but more want to learn to appreciate ...
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The way I see the distinction is in terms of audience : the hobbyist having only himself as his audience, doing what pleases him, and the artist having other people as his audience, to please or intrigue them.
     
  16. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

    Messages:
    2,258
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    This could become a really interesting discussion; I like hearing about what motivates and drives others.

    When people ask me what I do this for, I normally explain that I can't draw and photography started as a way to get out some artistic urges that couldn't be expressed via other routes. Now that sounds like I should be an 'artist' but I've never sold a print and have absolutely no interest in going down any commercial or artistic routes where I sell my work (my audience extends no further than family, friends and people on my postcard list). So maybe I'm a hobbyist, but I have no interest in gear in itself. Maybe, then, I can say I'm a hobbyist that makes 'art', hope that doesn't sound vain.
     
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,540
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm a hobbyist, I have been for more than fifty years, I don't believe photography is an art but a craft, and I abhor the "self styled" photographic artists.
     
  18. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

    Messages:
    1,888
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Blue Ridge,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Perhaps photography is nothing more than the exercise of craftmanship for you, but I use the craft that I have developed in an attempt to express myself through art. I like what Bayles and Orland wrote in Art and Fear that "art is the visible edge of craft."
     
  19. RPippin

    RPippin Subscriber

    Messages:
    286
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    Staunton VA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My answer when asked is, I don't have hobbies, I have obsessions. Photography for me is an obsession, the whole ensalada. Cameras, film, darkroom, everything about it. Artist? The hell if I know. I'll leave that to someone else to figure out. Serious best describes it for me. Yeah, obsessed and serious or hobby or artist. I'd go for the obsessed and serious.
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,540
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My point is Dan that it's not you the individual to call yourself an "Artist " but what the rest of the World considers you.
     
  21. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,351
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    IMHO - photography is the medium, craftsmanship is when you do it well. Art is when you are expressive. For years I strived to be a good craftsman - everything sharp, clean, good contrast, fine grain, all the 'good stuff'. Now I find that developing that craftsmanship allows me to better express myself. When I want to create a photo I can control all those mechanical things to achieve my vision. That's when it crosses over from craftsmanship to art.
    As I say, just IMHO.
     
  22. floradeborah

    floradeborah Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    Location:
    London / Mil
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I always shoot what has a meaning to me, it's usually pre calculated images that appeal me. I believe in photography as a medium of expression that suit me better than words. And lately when I get asked about "so what do you do?" and I answer "I'm a photographer", I feel like this is not the right answer for me. I'm sometimes afraid to say "I'm an artist and use photography to express how i feel". Hopefully I will be soon more self confident and satisfied with my personal body of work so that I will be able to to say it later on : )
     
  23. JDP

    JDP Member

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Bedfordshire
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I would say I am 'part artist'. I have an artistic side, but my training and profession is scientific. What interests me in photography is that it satisfies both areas. It melds art and science into one.
     
  24. urbanvelocity

    urbanvelocity Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Location:
    Vancouver Is
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Bruce it is the same as learning paint and brush, craft and technique are where they all start. Seeing the light, it allows you to better express your vision.

    Photography is something I do for the joy of it. It is how the creative in me manifests. I have never considered it a hobby as I am not really sure what a hobby is. Am I an artist? I do not claim that label either, I am not sure why but it has never been one I have considered for myself. I love making photographs, I equally love learning new techniques and processes to better express the way I see.
     
  25. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

    Messages:
    4,886
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Keeping the
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    To me it can be art, or hobby.... I'd like to be able to do both, but realize that I shouldn't quit my day job to be the artist as I'd be broke! For me the whole point of taking pictures is to share a visual experience that you had, and the emotions it gave you, and convey them through the print or whatever medium in a way that moves you for others to share. It's a creative outlet and the urge to create something tangible. Some are compelled to capture slices of time, others light, others sharpness, and others the process is the reason they do it. it's all relative to an 'emotion', 'experience', 'event', 'passion', or 'composition'. Some get paid for it, some don't, some don't care.

    Do what's true to your vision, and you will be successful regardless of whether hobby, or artist is your goal. Trying to make a living off of it is different kettle of fish and pure hobby and artistry alone won't take you through the business relationships that need to be a major part of taking your work to the next level for exposure, selling, notoriety etc.
     
  26. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

    Messages:
    809
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Location:
    Cary, North
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I start by calling myself a photographer. The appellation artist is bestowed upon you by others. In truth, I am an amateur, one who pursues because of affection for the medium and a desire to tell a story about what I see in my life.