If you like academic conferences, I just got notice of this one happening at the University of Brighton.

Personally, I really like the premise, and think it's about time we stop making an artificial split between "amateurs" and the others. The world of amateur photography is the primordial soup from which all photographers are made, and becoming a successful artist does not mean you have suddenly teleported yourself to a different universe.


http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/research/...hy-a-symposium

"Since its inception, the overwhelming majority of photography has taken place outside of the realms of professional practice, yet little sustained and empirically grounded attention has been paid to the many nuanced forms that exist within this vast, but rarely well-defined, ‘amateur’ category. Research has tended to cluster around certain sites and themes: the ideology of the family album; the apparently artless and hapless ‘snapshot’; and the ‘found’ photograph as a form of vernacular artistic inspiration, thereby neglecting a wide and varied range of amateur photographic positions beyond and between. Existing literature broadly divides between those who are, at times, vehemently dismissive of the apparently conventional aesthetics of popular practice, and those that privilege the non-professional with an almost outsider status, closer to photographic ‘authenticity’. Through bringing together, in debate, scholars and practitioners of all stripes, this symposium seeks to problematise such binary oppositions, challenge existing knowledge, and reconsider the particular and distinctive positions of the amateur photograph and photographer, both historically and in the rapidly changing present.

Attendance is free but booking is essential as places are strictly limited. To book, please contact a.pollen@brighton.ac.uk by 7 September 2012."