Are You A "Real" Photographer
PBS recently aired a short interview with Ken Van Sickle where he briefly spoke about his career and what has happened now that technology has improved the accessibility of photography.
There has been some speculation and debate on what the word "photographer" means, it's by no means a new discussion.
This no-true-Scotsman approach to photography is quite prevalent. However, the distinction of who or is not a photographer is clear, but useless.
What Is A Photographer?
A Photographer is an individual who creates photographs.
- It does not mean they are professionals
- It does not mean they are artists
- It does not mean they only use "proper" cameras or expensive equipment
An individual working in a studio with a plethora of lights and beautiful models is a photographer just as much as someone snapping a quick photo of a particularly delectable lunch for Instagram.
There is a tendency to attach unnecessary baggage to the word 'photographer.' The word is utilitarian, it has a simple description. While it may invoke particular ideas or stereotypes, that is not how it should be defined. I understand that there is a sense of pride to stand up and declare "I am a Photographer!" That should be from the knowledge of the time and effort you have put into your own creations, not because the title has any exclusive meaning.
Note how Anthony and Ken both have to describe elements of the quality of the photographer, not whether an individual is a photographer. When one is described as a photographer, you can assume they create photographs- no more, no less.
Besides, why continue the debate of whether this person or that is a "real" photographer when you could just be out shooting and focusing on your own work?