WEEK3: Re-Thinking Photographers (Coursework)

This weeks forum: The Amateur (Non) vs the Pro Photographer:

Write a brief post to the forum describing what you think non-photographers make of professional photographers: what are the conceptions and misconceptions?

There is a big difference between an Amateur and a Professional photographer.

The amateur has always been discriminated against, sometimes referred to as a ‘non’ photographer, as listed above in the heading. It has been argued, debated, categorised and defined.

However there are two distinct categories. The amateur (NON) photographer and the(PRO) photographer. Below is the actual difference between the two that the pro photographer often denies, or skirts.

An amateur does it for love and a pro (pro-stitute) for money, it’s that simple at it’s core. From the French: Amateur: “one who loves.”  Link (Links to an external site.)  Once you make a ‘living’ solely from your photography you become a Pro by default, it is no longer a choice, you are no longer considered an amateur any more.

I have been an amateur photographer all my life.  However, my insecurities, fear, perceived failure, peer pressure, and pressure to perform has finally won out; I’m ashamed to say, i’m being cajoled into becoming a ‘pro’  But hey. . . I’m game for something new. I’m a pro in my current occupation. I’m there, doing that, so at least I will have some past experience to guide me in my future endeavours, albeit at the time I need to draw from that experience, it may be useless,out dated or not apply. There is always the chance that it may be better the second time around.

Instead of trying to erase lines between amateur and pro, (it cannot be done, because the pro thinks with the head, and the amateur with the heart and ne’er the twain shall meet) Consider who makes the more amorous image. Get rid of the discrimination here.  Base it on the work not the label.

MagrittePipe (1).jpg

©Magritte. “This is not a Pipe.”

This is where it got real for me. I have never as yet seen an amateurs work at the Tate, Moma, Pompidou or any of the greats. (nothing for me is an absolute, there is always the exception, but for arguments sake let me give a hypothetical statistic of 99.999999999999% never.)

All works there are from seasoned pro’s with brand, pedigree and provenance. Some are so seasoned, they are no longer with us. As I would like to exhibit at one of these, I sadly have to give up being an amateur, I don’t see any way around it.

I went to a prominent museum here in Los Angeles, to figure how to get an exhibit. Knowing no-one, in shear desperation, I asked the cleaning lady mopping the floors what I should do. She was about 65 and had worked there for 40 years, I figured she knew a thing or two.

She told me to go to Christie’s in Beverly Hills and have my work appraised. And, if it was valuable enough I can get it exhibited. . . Enough said.


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