know what you are

September 20, 2010

I take a lot of pictures. I practice and hone my photography skills. I've upgraded to some nice equipment. I would not call myself "a photographer."

I'm a hobby-photographer. As much as I like it, and sometimes get shots that I'm proud of, it offends me when people throw that out there, "oh, I'm a photographer." Really? Really? Are you? I'm pretty sure you just have a camera and like to take pictures. And apparently you think you're good at it. There's a difference in training, education, experience, and livelihood.

I'm more sensitive to this issue because of my profession– by school, experience, and trade, I'm a designer. It's how I earn my living every day. And I'll be damned if everyone's second cousin's mother-in-law isn't a "graphic designer" because they took one com-ed class and make things in powerpoint with clipart. Oh yes, it offends me deeply.

Unfortunately a wide range of professions suffer from this, many of them in the creative realm. Web designers, social media, photographers, illustrators, on and on. Even writers. Just because I write on my blog doesn't make me a writer. I would never walk up to a published author and tell them I'm a writer. It's just... wrong. And NOT TRUE. Not to say that there aren't writers who blog, but just because you write words down doesn't make you a "writer," get what I'm saying?

I can't put my finger on what it is exactly that qualifies one as able to claim one of these transient professions– is it years of training? Skill and competency? Hours on the job? I don't have a specific rationale. Where does the line fall between hobby and profession and what qualifies you as an expert when there are no official lines drawn in the sand?

Here's what I do know: I'm not a dental hygienist because I brush my teeth. I'm not a doctor because I pop a claritin, or an allergist for that matter. I'm not a photographer for taking pictures, even good ones. I'm not a seamstress for sewing, or a writer for writing, or a chef for cooking– and probably neither are you.

So this is just to say, every slore with a DSLR isn't a photographer and you offend real photographers by calling yourself one, no matter how many pioneer woman action sets you use in your edition of photoshop lite.

{i'm still in la recovery mode, i'll be in and out but mostly spending time with the fam.}
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