Article appearing in "Amateur Photographer", 27 March 1885:
"The amateur is, presumably, a man of more cultivated education and greater leisure than the professional photographer, and may reasonably be expected to have a keener sense of the aesthetic principles, and a more educated knowledge of the history and science of art than his professional brother - better skilled though the latter may be in the technique of his art."
I believe the same is true of the amateur today as it was when photography was in its infancy stage. I believe the amateur is very dedicated to the knowledge of the skill than any professional out there. Once a professional gets used to the idea of photography certain laziness takes hold of the art. I know a gentleman who has been in the studio photography business for all of his life. He knows his lighting inside and out. He can tell you that the lighting conditions (with studio lights) with out consulting his light meter, and have an amazing accuracy.
As an amateur myself, I am always experiencing new lighting methods and control of the camera settings to get new results and different natural moods. I am a neophyte in the history of photography, I believe that everyone who has contributed to photography since its conception has something to say and has a major contribution to the art with success and mistakes that have been made throughout the beginning. Let’s face it, as a species we tend to rely on our own experience and the experiences of others to understand where we are today.
I believe the amateur needs to work slightly harder to understand the concepts, where most professionals are handed the knowledge as an apprentice and use the time they have to craft and wield their niche as a photographer. The only thing that bothers me about the professional as a whole is that not all professionals are created equal, and some find it necessary to gouge the clientele that they work for. I remember my wife and I had aquatints who shot our wedding pictures, when it came time to come over and finish the deal we where shown this big beautiful album. Then we were told that the first half of the book was what we had paid for and the other half would cost quite a bit more.
I personally have shot my own fair share of weddings, to the point that I get antsy when I have to sit through an entire ceremony. I personally dislike the portrait aspect of wedding photography. I do however still enjoy shooting a wedding in a photojournalistic style of documentation. I have so much fun as an amateur photographer shooting the pure emotion of everyone at the wedding. The most memorial part of a wedding is the people who are there to witness the event. Although a majority of the photographs are the bride and groom, it is important to photograph the people attending. It is my job to document the things that they miss during the wedding such as family, friends, and the wedding party doing what is natural to them… having fun. I will admit that I am intrusive by shooting an absurd amount of photographs, but when the bride and groom finally get to view the photographs, the image of the obnoxious photographer is replaced with a front row seat of the day.
In light of this separation of photographers, I would like to throw in another term that creates a new class of photographers that separate the idea of an amateur that is starting out and the professional that sells their hard work for profit and living income. I believe the Master Amateur Photographer should be coined for the amateur that has extensive knowledge in the department of photography and is continuing learning from past experiences, new ideas, and new techniques to contribute to photography influencing future generations of photographers long after their time passes.
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