For The Love of Photography
I'm taking what is likely to be a rare moment for me to write a post. Three days ago my amazing wife gave birth to our first child so I imagine the opportunities will be rare. And I have no complaint about that.
It's currently 22:57 on Friday night and I am with our newborn who is sleeping whilst mum gets so deserved and overdue solid sleep. I've narrowly escaped waking the little one a moment ago with a powerful unexpected sneeze. Someone is looking down on me.
I am sleep deprived so please forgive errors. I will look back tomorrow to see how badly written it is.
For a long while I have always wanted to have a say on amateur photography. So now I have a few minutes I thought I have a crack at it as it may never get done.
From the very first moment I decided to refer to myself as a photographer it came with he noun 'amateur' before it. And it should after all I do not make a full time living from photography. But I really would like to dispel the myth that an amateur is sub-standard at what the do in any field.
The dictionary definition of an amateur is "A person who engages in a study, sport, to other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit of professional reasons". If I made a full time living out of photography I would have described myself as a professional. The dictionary definition being "following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain".
There is a natural assumption that a professional is better than an amateur. An amateur footballer is only so because they were not good enough to play for a pro team. In sport I feel the it could be argued that this is the case. But this does not follow across the board.
As a member of The Guild of Photographers I know a lot of pro and amateur photographers. You could not always distinguish them from the standard of their work. One of the most successful and talented photographers I know doesn't earn a penny from their craft. Like me the take photos for pleasure. We are part of a group of people that like to learn, to strive to get better at what we do, to produce high standards of work for nothing other reason than for the pleasure of doing so. Not for money. To me this is incredibly honourable and what makes me proud to be an 'amateur'. Every time I produce an image it displays maximum effort to do a fantastic job. Even if no one ever sees the final image.
Then there are the professionals who are in photography for a living. Money. They sell their product, a service of photography. They are photographers, marketeers, accountants, web-designers, customer services and every other function needed to run their business. But they have to deliver a product in the form of first class photography. Which most do. And the ones I know are truly amazing at what they do. Some even go against the ultimate piece of advice - Never work with children or animals.
At the other end of that scale you have professional who does not deliver a high standard product. Their photography is not as good as their competition but they can sell. Marketing is their primary art form. Their photography is not as good as mine but good luck to them. They are able to take themselves to market. And anyone employing the services of a photographer need to be mindful of this. Just beach they are charging it does not necessarily guarantee a job well done.
My point is don't automatically snub an amateur. They can but relentless in the pursuit of perfect imagery and sometime to the annoyance of a pro. Effort and pride goes into every shot for - the - love - of - photography.