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12/19/2006 01:09:05 AM · #1
I know this question might spark criticism and/or debate, but it has been an internal struggle for quite some time. I don't like to define myself, yet this is the one label I would like. I do not feel like I deserve it, but people tell me I am a photographer.

So what makes a photographer different from someone who snaps photographs? Is it that they are paid? Is it that they have 'artistic views'? Is it the title on their tax form that finally says 'Photographer'? Is it the equipment they use? Is it that they have a job shooting photographs? Can a blind person be a photographer? Are photographers artists?I just don't know at this point.

I have grown in the past few years from a darkroom failure to someone who makes a living taking photographs. I still fail in the darkroom, in my opinion. Digital had no learning curve that I felt, but darkroom talent still eludes me. Some people would say that darkroom talent is something required to be a good photographer...hmm....

I am asking for opinions. What do you think is a photographer?
12/19/2006 01:17:38 AM · #2
The short answer is..............anyone with a camera that makes photographs.
12/19/2006 01:21:11 AM · #3
What Baron said. Photographer is merely that, nothing fancy.
Unless you are asking about a professional photographer, where photography is his profession - this one is debatable.
12/19/2006 01:23:47 AM · #4
A "real" photographer, in my opinion, is anyone who takes photos and may or may not slightly edit them to correct exposure, a blemish, etc. This is a person who creates a photograph before the shutter snaps, not after. This person must love the art of photography, and they may be a professional but not a photoshop junkie.

I consider 1/2 of the people on this site photographic artists. Over half the images I see, and usually the top 3, are so digitally enhanced you couldnt pick the image they began with out of a set of 10 frames.

I also consider, for tax purposes, a freelance or professional photographer anyone who works for newspapers, magazines, or online companies, also anyone who sells a tremendous amount of stock photos.

An amature photopgraher is someone learning how to become professional or freelance photographer.

Message edited by author 2006-12-19 01:31:16.
12/19/2006 01:25:07 AM · #5
If you feel uncomfortable about calling yourself a "photographer" than just add "amateur" in front of it. That's usually what I say I am when I'm asked on the street.

Message edited by author 2006-12-19 01:25:47.
12/19/2006 01:29:49 AM · #6
A "photographer" is distinct from "one who takes photos", and the distinction comes from the intention. That's all I'm gonna say on this topic or people will be all OVER me, and I'm too busy with the new machine to face that :-)

R.
12/19/2006 01:50:10 AM · #7
The problem here is that the more you learn, the more you understand that you have much left to learn. Does that make sense? I learned this in the music world. Beginners will think they have it all. Amazing players will tell you that they are not very good or that they have a long ways to go. This is because they are now paying super attention to the details. This is good; it shows maturity.

edit: So it really isn't a problem is it? (see first four words of post)

Message edited by author 2006-12-19 01:58:26.
12/19/2006 02:46:37 AM · #8
To me the question is similar to asking "What is art?" or "What is love?" or "What do you think about God?"

Photography is a word that umbrellas so many varying approaches, activities, lifestyles, jobs, hobbies, histories...you name it. I think that trying to answer this question will probably drive you nuts :)

If I wanted to be known as a photographer then I would do what it is for me and call myself one. What other people call me or how thay see me is beyond my control so trying to tackle that would probably also drive me nuts.

I've found myself alot more content and focused since I started concentrating more on what I do rather than what I call myself.

It is however an interesting topic to consider and explore as I think it eventually leads you to consider some of the big questions about yourself...Which of course can drive you nuts!

hmm I seem to have a theme going here :)
12/19/2006 09:02:42 AM · #9
Baron; If I cut up some pieces of wood, glue them together and slap some stain on them, does not make me a carpenter or furniture maker. It would be an insult to those people that do real carpentry work. If I can learn a couple of chords on a guitar, it does not mean I'm a guitar player. Just because I use to play pick up hockey for many years, I did not consider myself a "hockey player". I participated in the sport once every couple of weeks.

Skylercall is right on the money with the comparison to music. I had a lot of music training in my youth and I understand exactly.

This digital technology has given everybody the instant results they need to see where their mistakes are and can instantly correct them. I remember not so long ago how much of a problem it was for most people to just load a roll of film in the back of a camera and be sure it was actually advancing across to the take up reel on the other side.

The camera is merely the medium. The real tools of a photographer is "light" and "creativity". All this technology has only changed the medium.

There are "snap shot" shooters. Even serious snap shot shooters. Then there are amatuers and serious amatuers. If you want to call them (amateurs) "photograghers" I guess it's rather subjective in nature.

A real "Pro" to me is someone that can produce an image(s) on command (or demand) each and everytime, with excellence, consistency, and with great attention to detail. It is not hit and miss. This is something you won't find with the amateur level. It's the consistency of "quality" results each and every time. To me, that's a photographer!

I keep reading, not just here, but on other forums and groups, about people that have only been "shooring" for 6 months or a year and have been sending images into these on line agencies and complaining that their images aren't selling. Want to know why? The photographs just aren't any good, or so run-of-the-mill they're just not going to sell.

I've been plugging away at this for near 25 years and am still trying whenever and wherever to improve my craft. It's a never ending process.

Time for a coffee!
Cheers
Don

Message edited by author 2006-12-19 09:04:29.
12/19/2006 10:06:44 AM · #10
I call myself a dilettante. That way I can take photos, paint paintings, draw cartoons, burn wood, write poems or do the funky chicken.

(edited because I can't even spell my own title)

Message edited by author 2006-12-19 10:07:57.
12/19/2006 10:47:17 AM · #11
Good question, what is a photographer?

Calling anyone with a camera a photographer is probably a pretty liberal definition and Id bet professional photographers would probably take some offense to being called the same thing as Aunt Betty with a point and shoot at Juniors birthday party.

A more conservative definition would be someone that makes a living or partially makes a living at photography can be considered a photographer. But then, you are excluding a lot of people that take some amazing photos just as a hobby.

I guess Id say, if you understand photography, understand why you are taking the photo, if you go out of your way to take photos, if you spend time to take good photos, and you take photos of things other then your family and vacations Id consider you a photographer.

12/19/2006 11:27:51 AM · #12
Once a woman took a snapshot of Winston Churchill during a party. He approached her and asked if she would buy a dSLR for 5 pounds.

"Of course I would!" she replied.

"Would you buy one for a thousand pounds?" he asked.

"What do you think I am, a photographer?" came her shocked reply.

"We've already established that, Ma'am. Now we're just determining the price."
12/19/2006 11:55:24 AM · #13
Photographer = Artist to me. You determine how the light is captured. To me this is far more than just snapping the shutter. The best artists, and photographers always say the "see" what it is they are tyring for before actually making their art.

All others are snapshotaphers.
12/19/2006 12:25:18 PM · #14
they are easy to spot when in herds.

' . substr('//static.flickr.com/120/307526628_e7b34cbafa_m.jpg', strrpos('//static.flickr.com/120/307526628_e7b34cbafa_m.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

and often say things like:

"i'm going out to shoot for a while."

"I need to leave work a bit early so i can get that sunset."


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