Funny ... I haven't met anyone who was really respected, that made a big fuss over the title. I remember one of the "Great Lights" (my description; he'd probably deck me for describing him like that) who was confronted by a guest at a Gallery Reception. The conversation went something like:
Matronly Type: "Oh, Mr. AB... They are saying that you are the greatest photographer in the world!!"
AB: (Glancing down and shuffling his feet): "Uh, well ... I take photographs. Every once in a while I guess I get a good one."
To me that response was typical of the "Great Ones." They don't need artifical inflation, nor do they want it.
Am I a "Photographer"? I'll choose his answer: Well, I take photographs. I guess, every once in a while, I get a good one.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Where is your heart, and what is in your heart....what do you eat and dream and sleep...where is your creative spirit....you profession is not who you are...that is what you do for a living...
one pursues his/art not because you are paid to do it...because you love it and you just have to do it....your expression is yours and not set by a set of rules by an organization etc....
there are not many professional photographers in the world (those who derive their salary from being able to produce work for clients) that can actually live on the income from photographic work that they and only they choose to do....
In this country we have bought into the idea that what we do to put bread on the table is actually who we are.....
you are a photographer...
Aha--a philosophy question. Prepare for a long-winded answer.
There are people who enter grad school searching for the title. They want to be called "Dr." Most of those people wash out, in my experience.
There are other people who go to learn. They find that a Ph.D. is not a title, but a recognition that you have learned something--and taught the world something--that wasn't known before.
I feel safe stating that I am a student.
I am a student of photography since I was 16. I have taken some long breaks, and I am just ramping up again, but I am a student.
I am a student of music since I was 13. Again, I have taken some breaks (including right now), but I have at times followed this with a passion. I have made money at it.
My business card says "Physicist". Are publications and patents accomplishments to hang on the wall? I prefer to think of them as a sign that I keep learning something new. I am extremely lucky to have a job that allows me to do this.
All that said--I don't like titles. If I stop doing physics, am I a different person? If a photographer hangs up his camera, is he different?
On the other side of the coin, I can get business cards right now, put an ad in the local papers and probably have some portrait and wedding jobs pretty quick. Would that make me a "photographer"?
There are a lot of people on APUG whose primary job is not photography. I have a lot of respect for their knowledge and their images. Are they "photographers"?
Since probably 90% of the people on APUG are photography hobbiests you are looking at this question from one side of the coin.
As I said previously that you can call yourself whatever you wish but I will try to put forth the argument of the other side- namely the professional photographer.
Since most here a highly educated and have degrees probably in a number if fields I will slmply say that in your given field you probably have pecking orders of advancement. For example of you are a medical doctor you are very protective of a chiropractor or physical therapist calling themselves doctors. What the hell they all heal people. In fact the medical profession has been fighting chiropractors for years.
If you took years out your live's to attain a level of proficiency at a profession you are protective of that profession being negatively impacted by people claiming to have the same expertise as you.
I realize that there are amateur photographers who may often be able to take as good a picture as some pros, but as a pro having someone buy themselves a camera and start calling themselves what I am is, for some, tough to take.
There are hundreds of thousands of professional photographers in the US alone. Portrait/wedding, commercial/fashion etc. Most belong to professional associations and try to advange their craft, practice, and ethics etc.
To have an amateur pick up a camera and then claim to be a "photographer" is much the same as someone buying a set of law books and claiming to be a lawyer.
Thats the other side.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
"To have an amateur pick up a camera and then claim to be a "photographer" is much the same as someone buying a set of law books and claiming to be a lawyer."
Damn Michael does that mean that I can't take confessions from the hookers down on broadway any longer? I just bought the collar last week.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Donald when you moved to Arizona I thought you were going to change your ways.
Oh well, I'm sure the girls in your new town would love to tell their stories to a kindly old man wearing a collar and nothing else.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
I really tried to change my ways. But, alas, it is difficult for an old dog to quit chasing cats... Who knows I may even save a few souls...I will say that the white collar does go well with the newly acquired coat of tan.
I did meet an interesting young thing the other evening while out and about preaching the gospel...I think that this was retribution of the greatest extent...She may have saved my soul...I swear heaven and earth moved...
You know what--you are entirely correct.
When I first read this, I frankly thought that you were incorrectly taking the title photographer to mean "professional photographer".
Originally Posted by blansky
Well, I looked it up (dictionary.com): Photographer = "someone who takes photographs professionally". Pro Photographer is redundant.
We all write. If we did not we would not be contributing to the discussions on this web site. But does that make us writers? In my experience, limited though it may be, no one dares call themselves a writer unless that is what they do all the time and even then, unless they are published (and not just with an article or two), they hesitate and probably won't call themselves writers. This is a sign of the respect they have for the medium of writing.
With photography it is entirely different. It often appears that anyone who uses a camera with some degree of seriousness calls themselves a photographer. This is a sign of their disrespect for the medium of photography. To my way of thinking, someone is not a photographer unless it is something they do or think about all the time, or at least every spare minute. They may have another way of earning money, but photography is really the main activity in their life. Ralph Eugene Meatyard was a photographer (his fulll-time work was as an optician). Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams were poets, although their full-time work was as an insurance executive and as a doctor, respectively. So money making occupation is not the only answer, but surely it is one.
Stieglitz was a photographer, although he was a gallery owner/director for his full-time work. What makes Stieglitz a photographer, while the thousands of others who made even more photographs than he did are not so considered?
I think I would define it this way: If you consider photography to be your work (as opposed to your job, though it could include your job), you are a photographer.
"I think I would define it this way: If you consider photography to be your work (as opposed to your job, though it could include your job), you are a photographer."
Agreed. Well said.