What qualifies you as a "serious photographer"?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by lar, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. What are the characteristics of a "serious" photographer?
    • thinking about what one does (developing own concepts, an own form of communication, own ways of making statements?
    • thinking about how one does it (composing, exposing, processing, printing)?
    • thinking about presenting ones work and marketing ones work?
    Is this also related to the time devoted to photography?
     
  2. Luca, wouldn't it be more about actually doing, rather than thinking about doing? And, yes, it's very much related to the time devoted to photography...
     
  3. You never smile?

    The original list seems to mean pro photographers, of which I am not one.
    I consider myself a serious photographer because I spend a fair amount of time with photography and photography related activities, such as participating in this (and other) forums. I've been involved in photography continuously for about 40 years, so I guess I'm beyond a casual photographer. I had my own black & white darkroom for about 25 years, did casual weddings, took photos at area car race tracks, have had over 850 of my model railroad hobby photos published in the model railroad press, etc. So I think I am a serious photographer even though I didn't go through the noted steps.
     
  4. I tend to consider a "serious photographer" based on the photographs made, not on the amount of time spent or how they work. I imagine there are a lot of pro photographers and a lot of people who spend a lot of time photographing I wouldn't take seriously. To paraphrase our last half-decent president, IT'S THE PHOTOGRAPH, STUPID.
    That's my view as a bystander. I also recognize that it's for each photographer to determine whether he or she is serious or not. That someone makes that judgment for himself or herself is as it should be and fine with me. Doesn't mean I will agree, however.
     
  5. I remember the first time I answered "photography" when asked "What do you do?" I've been serious since then.
     
  6. B&W film, and a home darkroom. In today's digital world, you'd have to be either crazy, or a serious photographer.

    Not saying one can't be serious with digital, but I'm answering the question about what qualifies >me< as a serious photographer.
     
  7. Myself I have nothing else to do, so I shoot photographs of what ever pleases me. Had a fire in town the other
    day spent a good 3 hours there taking different view points of this fire and the people, that handle this stuff for a living and I also like shooting with older cameras, I have a few mostly just one of those except the Exakta got three of those and 5 lens (lol) and I shot with just to what those camera and lenses were capable of doing:
    I also from time to time develop my own B&W film. I also have been awarded at two art shows two first Prize and two third on two of the photographs at each art show used the same photos at each show:
    So am I serious or just a hobbyist ? your call
     
  8. I think if you care about your images, and are committed to continual improvement, that qualifies you as "serious" - whatever level you're at.
     
  9. Lucas, I don't think time has much to do with it, as spending time and using time are not really synonymous. While your three points are part of many photographers' approach, I would prefer the word "commited" rather than the word "serious". The former holds more meaning for me than the second.
     
  10. I consider myself a "serious photographer." I earned a 2 year Commercial Photography degree and graduated in 1999. That was back in the day of film, and we shot with a 4x5 camera (it was a requirement to have one by the first day of class as a first year student - many people rented one but I bought a second hand camera and lens). Instead of shooting I ended up on the post processing side and spent ten years doing that as a full time job for a local company in Seattle. That was a great experience but now I am not working there anymore.
    During the summer I spend a few weeks in the darkroom, shooting black and white film and developing it and printing it. I really enjoy that but at the end I always ask myself if it is still better than shooting digital and processing it on screen. I shot digital alongside film last summer and I still prefer the look of black and white film vs. black and white digital. I guess I miss the grain in my digital shots.
     
  11. stp

    stp

    I generally like to put things into categories (it's the scientist in me), but in this case I don't want to or can't. The distinction between a "serious" and (what's the alternative?) "not-serious" photographer is so arbitrary and the gradation is so long and continuous that drawing a line to define a category is meaningless (IMO). It's akin to trying to define when a manipulated photograph ceases to be a photograph and instead becomes computer art (has that ever been discussed?).
     
  12. Seems to me "serious" is an attribute of your own mind and approach.
    Or do you mean "what makes you a serious photographer in the eyes of others?"
    That's simple: carry more than two cameras and wear a photo vest. In the old days you could have a Press tag stuck into your hat band.
     
  13. What are the characteristics of a "serious" photographer?​
    Criteria as flimsy as used to define "fine art".
    If someone enjoys being or feeling "serious" and they enjoy it, more power to em'.
     
  14. I am a "serious" photographer, . . . at least to myself. But no Press tag in my hat band!
    No Batteries or Film canister's next to my name anymore either!
     
  15. What qualifies one as a serious photographer? Remembering that the PHOTOS are more important than the GRAPHER.
     
  16. "What are the characteristics of a "serious" photographer?"
    Dissatisfaction.
     
  17. I shoot, therefore I am.
     
  18. A "serious" photographer shoots his/her best, every time he/she could, even when she/he neither care nor have the slightest interest about what's he/she shooting. Of course, that doesn't mean she/he's any good nor devoted...
     
  19. Mindlessly spending more money on photo equipment, sometimes with only one shot in mind, knowing that you'll never make that money back with profit from photography.
     
  20. "own concepts, an own form of communication, own ways of" - why own ?
    What is wrong with following steps of some great photographers ?
    In photography schools they teach to follow great examples, proven concepts, successful ways, etc.
    One could possibly come up with a number of attribute sets, that would possibly qualify someone as a serious photographer.
    Let's try some: to be serious photographer one must be:
    • heavily overweight
    • bald
    • wears both, belt and suspenders
    • never tells a joke.
    ...:)
     
  21. What is wrong with following steps of some great photographers ?
    In photography schools they teach to follow great examples, proven concepts, successful ways, etc.​
    Nothing is wrong with it. But it depends how religiously the so-called greats are followed and it depends on discerning who among the accepted greats are great to each of us. Learning about and looking at and studying the greats is a good start, but only a start.
    If we look, for example, at the PN top-rated photos and read most (not all) of the critiques here, we see a severe lean toward the most common denominator. What is considered good photography (serious photography?) is what is familiar to people as good. It conforms to a certain look and feel. (At least IMO.)
    The real good work is missed by the raters and critiquers, because it doesn't look like what they've learned is good.
    Photography and art school can be both a blessing and a curse. It depends on the student's use of what he's learned and the student's ability to constantly unlearn even what he's taken great pains to learn.
     
  22. Black tape. For masking camera brand and red stripes on lenses.
     
  23. You are serious when friends and relatives ask you, as a favor, to do weddings, portraits, mug shots for the company newsletter, the knitting club, mariachi band, and...!
    And you answer no.
     
  24. Alan, thanks for that last answer. Now I feel serious again! The knitting club was hard to convince.
    For me, it has mostly to do with realising that you are trying to say something with/through your photos, and putting in an effort to improve in delivering your message. A basic understanding that photography stretches beyond holding a camera and pushing a button.
    That does not mean each and every photo is serious, or meant to be a communicative piece - but then at least you'd recognise that some photos are just nice birthday party photos, with no further intent, versus the other photos you made.
    Fred's last post, though, merits reading twice for those (including myself) who say they are serious. If you are serious about following what other already did before you, go down the known road and please with conventional "beauty", then are you seriously trying to say something, or are you just enjoying making photos that please many, and are not really all that specific to you as a person? For me, the "serious part" in photography is in first finding what you want to say, in shaping your voice and in making it heard. And that means bringing something new to the table.
    So,what qualifies me? Nothing, but I might get serious about getting serious.
     
  25. I think the answer is in the question itself! A serious photographer takes the photography seriously. As a result, he/she improves on each photo; taking any measures needed (e.g. practicing more, reading books, improving the equipement, taking classes etc. ) to improve the outcome "The Photo".
     
  26. I think "serious" is independent of the quality of the results. I know plenty of beginners who work hard and are dedicated to their craft and doing the best they can. But their work simply isn't at a high level yet. But I would still call them "serious photographers" (if I were using such a term) because they take their photography seriously.
    The converse is also true, I know any number of people who goof off with photography and come up with really neat images far more often than you would think. That's art for you though, unpredictable and completely in the eye of the beholder.
     
  27. Serious to me means devotion to the craft. Best demonstrated by time spent in acquisition of photo knowledge and seeking out ways to improve what you can do with a camera. Lifelong learning IOW. And a zest to practice the craft , like getting up early, climbing that perch, weathering that rain. And learning as best as you can to see in photo terms; such as the changing quality and play of light, texture of surfaces, how a composition works from angles, and numerous other variables, most of us here know about(those serious).
     
  28. Posting recently taken photographs to at least three PN w/nw forums on a weekly basis. Referring to your snaps as "images". Knowing what "w/nw" means.
     

  29. So,what qualifies me? Nothing, but I might get serious about getting serious.
    Wouter,
    I think as a group we have asymmetrical seriousness about photography. From the praxis side I see a lot of outstanding work of every variety. The connoisseurship side reflelects serious commitment to history, critical literature, and cameras.
     
  30. I don't think "serious" has anything to do with the number of photos you take or even the quality of the photos you take. I doesn't mean you adhere to, or "break", any particular set of rules. It means you are trying to produce photos that mean something to YOU.

    Now, clearly, you can be a serious photographer, and be in a situation where no one but you takes you seriously. And that may well be the common condition of most people who visit this forum, but that doesn't mean you, or they, aren't serious about photography.
     
  31. "I consider myself a serious photographer"

    Is a quote of Joel Meyerowitz.

    I never really understood myself what he means. That's why I was curious..

    There's an interesting indication by Bob Boudreau. A "casual photographer" might be opposite to a "serious photographer".

    And Bob, you might not have gone consciously through the noted steps - which by the way are not steps, but refinements of the questions -, but I'm pretty sure that your 25 years experience embed a learning process which has touched upon many or all of them.
     
  32. Julie
    Just beautiful!
    Dissatisfaction is a very powerful driver indeed!
     
  33. When thinking about how much I'm spending on vintage cameras, I think it's quite serious...
    And I will be Very serious photographer if someone will drop my camera... ;)
    No, almost seriously;
    When someone is exchanging his crappy zoom lens for something faster than f2.8, then it's getting serious 8)
     
  34. This question is definitely subjective, and you're not going to get a consensus. IMO, a serious photographer is somebody who expects, and is expected, to publish work that is regarded by his/her audience as "excellent" every time. A serious photographer doesn't publish his/her work and then follow it up with words on how it could be better or what they would like to do differently; as published, there is no indication that the photographer is in any way unhappy with their work. If it won't meet their or their audience's standard as excellent, they won't publish it.
    I take my photography (as a hobby) seriously. I spend a lot of time trying to learn and grow, and perfect my skills, and ultimately trying to produce images that I, and hopefully my audience/peers, consider to be excellent. I have thrust myself into this community, visiting this site almost daily. Every time I use my camera my goal is to produce the best images I can. But I cannot call myself a "serious photographer" because there is no expectation for me to only and always publish excellent work - not from my audience or myself.
    Note: There is an important distinction between creating and publishing here. The expectation is not that every photograph a person takes is excellent - undoubtedly everyone, no matter how great of a photographer, produces duds. The expectation is that he/she will only publish the truly good ones. That's not to say they will never show lesser photographs to others - they may do so for the sake of collaboration or some kind of peer review - but it would not be published as a final product.
     
  35. As James says, its pretty subjective. People who make a living doing photography are certainly serious photographers. There are amateurs who have certain areas of interest such as flowers or sunsets or macro photography of insects. I've always been serious about taking pictures of people in my family and friends and neighbors in a casual, documentary sort of fashion. I also have greatly enjoyed photographing our pets over the years. I will do an occasional landscape as well. For me it's the same as doing art: it's the personal artistic expression that is uniquely my own. I just happen to like using a camera rather than a paintbrush.
     
  36. Hmmm...I guess if others think of you as a serious photographer and describe you as such to others, then to them you are a serious photographer. Same as being called an artist. Now if one thinks of themselves as a serious photographer or an artist, well, that's a whole other thing. In general, I find those that take themselves too seriously usually lack the merit to do so. This holds true no matter what walk of life they are from or how they define themselves.
     
  37. Now if one thinks of themselves as a serious photographer or an artist, well, that's a whole other thing. In general, I find those that take themselves too seriously usually lack the merit to do so.​
    I don't.
    It's funny that artists who all themselves artists (or serious photographers who call themselves serious photographers) can be accused of taking themselves too seriously and therefore of lacking merit and yet doctors who call themselves doctors or salesmen who call themselves salesmen generally wouldn't be accused of it.
    Artists have it kind of tough. Not only do they have to work hard and bare their souls, but they're not allowed to call themselves what they are. Bummer.
     
  38. and yet doctors who call themselves doctors or salesmen who call themselves salesmen generally wouldn't be accused of it.​
    You've never met a doctor or salesman who takes themselves too seriously? I sure have. It's the kind of thing that doesn't discriminate by activity or profession as far as I can tell.
     
  39. Per the American Psychological Association's DSM IV TR, Serious Photographer Syndrome (300.14) is diagnosed when a person exhibits at least 4 of the followin 6 characteristics:
    (1) recurrent and persistent photographically related thoughts or impulses that are experienced at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress
    (2) the person attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts or impulses, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action
    (3) the person engages in photographic activities to the detriment of his or her social life and/or familial relationships
    (4) the person inserts into every possible situation his or her thoughts as to how that situation might be photographed
    (5) the person purchases or otherwise accumulates photographic equipment greatly in excess of what is required to take a photograph
    (6) the person seeks companionship with other people suffering from SPS.
     
  40. Josh, I too have met people of all walks of life who take themselves too seriously. Marc (and many others have done it) seems to be suggesting that an artist referring to himself as an artist is a sign of taking him or herself too seriously. That's what I was questioning. Why can't artists refer to themselves as artists without being considered as taking themselves too seriously? I measure people taking themselves too seriously by other means. I think artists, like everyone else, should be able to call themselves by the identity they've chosen.
     
  41. It's OK for others to think you're serious. Just don't take yourself too serious.
     
  42. It seems to me that several lines of thinking are emerging.
    1. the humorous, and that's fine (Sarah, vey nice!)
    2. One mainly focusing on the "process" and "approach" to photography
    3. One looking more at the output and results.
    Most probably devoting time to photography in itself is not enough. Probably there needs to be a combination of time and thinking about it.
    As I said, I tend to agree with Bob Boudreau who mentions the "casual photographer", who, probably, takes a merely passive attitude towards capturing what s/he sees. This would also include a not-too-critical relationship with the photos taken, once they are produced and - maybe - printed.
    Fred mentions the output. But isn't there some sort of correlation between how you do something, the time you dedicate to do it and the results? This does not necessarily mean that photographing 16 hours a day produces good results, there needs to be thinking.
    I agree with these hints at care and commitment to the craft of photography - by many, including Arthur Plumpton and Leslie Cheung and Gerry Siegel. Probably it is not important whether you are an hobbyist or a professional, but seriousness - or commitment - is probably based on a careful review and feedback process departing from the results. It might be conscious or not, but the "serious photographer" critically reviews his/her output to try improve the process and its different steps (some I mentioned in my post).
    That's why I agree with Julie's "dissatisfaction", which leads to critical reviewing of the output and of the process leading to it.
    JDM, yes, I might have a mind and approach which can be considered "serious", but, as mentioned, I noted the adjective because Joel Meyerowitz qualified himself as "serious". Being seen as serious - but I never carry more than one camera and I cannot stand photo vests - can help when relating to what's happening around.
    Frank Skomial,
    What is wrong with following steps of some great photographers ?
    In photography schools they teach to follow great examples, proven concepts, successful ways, etc.
    There is nothing wrong. Still I like to think that a "personalisation" of the style is something worth pursuing. Looking at "great photographers" and reviewing their work might be a good way to develop a sense for the process and how it relates to the results. It is a good way to critically review what I do and to improve.
    Being serious is probably more related to a personal attitude more than personal characteristics. We should also avoid the risk of repetitiveness.
    Wouter Willemse addresses the issue of "realising what we are trying to say with/through our photos and putting in an effort to improve how the message is delivered". And that "photography stretches beyond holding a camera and pushing a button", trying to "bring something new to the table". We are pretty much on the same page here.
    Josh's distinction of process and results is very important. It reminds us that in photography, as in many human activities, relationships are not linear!
    James Farabaugh, your concept of seriousness seems very much related to the "publishing". But not every photographer's purpose is to publish. A photographer might put a big effort into photographing, editing, printing, and never intend to publish. Why not consider the "casual photographer" as the opposite to the "serious photographer"?
    Having a "serious approach" to photography, and trying to produce "serious results" does not mean at all to take oneself too seriously. In fact I believe that taking oneself too seriously can seriously undermine the seriousness of the photographic process.
     
  43. [Luca, I was going to post the following before reading your insightful responses above. My comment therefore seems sort of flippant, but I'm going to leave it anyway. I'm really enjoying this thread.]
    I think serious photographers are attracted by the possibility of failure.
     
  44. Artists have it kind of tough. Not only do they have to work hard and bare their souls​
    Really?
     
  45. Steve, yes, but I should have added "the artists I know . . . " YMMV.
     
  46. "Dissatisfaction" and "attraction by the possibility of failure." I think that these are two good attributes that Julie has mentioned and that can also apply to many creative persons, including photographers, artists, scientists, intellectuals, academics, athletes, even to commited politicians.
     
  47. Hey, this thread has achieved self-reflection in an astonishingly short time.
    I can see the movie series now: Photographer 1, II, III...
    in which it will be reported that Photo.net achieved self-awareness on 4:40 AM November 21, 2011.
    Shortly thereafter, Josh attempted to shut the system down and .....
     
  48. I've always considered myself a casual photographer -- not frivolous, though, just not 'driven'. I'm pleased with making a good beer, and do not long for the bouquet of a Romanée-Conti. No stress.
     
  49. True story: Last summer I was in Santa Monica shooting my RZ67. I mostly do street photography. A complete stranger came up to me to compliment the camera I was using. Not unusual in itself, it's an odd camera not often seen in public and it does attract a fair amount of comments. However, this man offered me on the spot to pay for pictures of the ocean. He had no idea what kind of photography I do nor what kind of film I'm using etc. The fact that I was using a medium format camera was enough for him to break out his wallet. I thanked him but declined the offer. I bring this up because I find it kind of fascinating how so many people think it's all about the camera. I also shoot 35mm with old Nikons. Would he have approached me with my old F3? I doubt it. Maybe it's not as "serious" of a camera as my hulking Mamiya. I know many people who have regular full time jobs but went and laid out several grand on a DSLR and overnight they became "professional" wedding photographers on the weekends. Hey, good for them I say, some have made some nice money at it.
     
  50. Luca, this may or may not change how you interpret my definition.
    In my definition the term "publish" is used loosely. In that context I meant publish to mean any time somebody prints, posts, submits, shares, saves, etc. an image as the final product. Even if they are only saving it on their computer or sticking the print in a drawer or closet; even if their intended audience is only themselves. I guess what I'm trying to say is regardless of whether they print it, share it or save it, if they consider it their final product and not just a draft, proof, or waste, they are publishing it.
    So in my definition, a serious photographer is someone who does not consider their work to be displayable to their audience (even if the audience is themself) as a final product unless the work meets a standard of excellence in the eyes of that audience.
    A casual photographer will share all decent snapshots from a birthday party with friends/family. A serious photographer will only share the excellent ones.
     
  51. James, I'd show the bad ones, too, for their amusement value. Maybe I'm frivolous, as well. Two words not appearing in this discussion so far are 'ego' and 'confidence'. I'll claim them for the casual side, for now.
     
  52. Don, I suppose "excellence" can go both ways! If your intent is to share bad photos for the sake of amusement, then a serious photographer will only select the excellently bad ones, not any of the mediocrely bad ones. :eek:P
     
  53. I think it all has to do with intent. If I am intent on continuously improving my photography efforts, I am a serious photographer. The position of being serious or casual lives in the mind of the individual. It is separate from results, or process or level of experience. An experienced photographer can covey that intent more readily so it's easier to see they are "serious" and a beginner may not have yet the facility to do so, but that does not deny them access to serious intent.
     
  54. With tongue firmly applied to cheelk: Serious photographers aren't concerned with whether others think they're serious. They just go about their work.
    I think it is possible to be very serious and make weak photographs, no matter how much effort and time one puts into it. It is also possible to make strong pictures without being very serious. People like Vivian Meier were exceedingly serious, but never published or showed. A lot of variations on the theme are possible.
     
  55. "If I am intent on continuously improving my photography efforts, I am a serious photographer."

    We agree, there, Louis.

    James: "a serious photographer will only select the excellently bad ones, not any of the mediocrely bad ones"

    Of course! :cool:
     
  56. It seems to me that several lines of thinking are emerging.
    1. the humorous, and that's fine (Sarah, vey nice!)
    2. One mainly focusing on the "process" and "approach" to photography
    3. One looking more at the output and results.
    Most probably devoting time to photography in itself is not enough. Probably there needs to be a combination of time and thinking about it.
    As I said, I tend to agree with Bob Boudreau who mentions the "casual photographer", who, probably, takes a merely passive attitude towards capturing what s/he sees. This would also include a not-too-critical relationship with the photos taken, once they are produced and - maybe - printed.
    Fred mentions the output. But isn't there some sort of correlation between how you do something, the time you dedicate to do it and the results? This does not necessarily mean that photographing 16 hours a day produces good results, there needs to be thinking.
    I agree with these hints at care and commitment to the craft of photography - by many, including Arthur Plumpton and Leslie Cheung and Gerry Siegel. Probably it is not important whether you are an hobbyist or a professional, but seriousness - or commitment - is probably based on a careful review and feedback process departing from the results. It might be conscious or not, but the "serious photographer" critically reviews his/her output to try improve the process and its different steps (some I mentioned in my post).
    That's why I agree with Julie's "dissatisfaction", which leads to critical reviewing of the output and of the process leading to it.
    JDM, yes, I might have a mind and approach which can be considered "serious", but, as mentioned, I noted the adjective because Joel Meyerowitz qualified himself as "serious". Being seen as serious - but I never carry more than one camera and I cannot stand photo vests - can help when relating to what's happening around.
    Frank Skomial,
    What is wrong with following steps of some great photographers ?
    In photography schools they teach to follow great examples, proven concepts, successful ways, etc.
    There is nothing wrong. Still I like to think that a "personalisation" of the style is something worth pursuing. Looking at "great photographers" and reviewing their work might be a good way to develop a sense for the process and how it relates to the results. It is a good way to critically review what I do and to improve.
    Being serious is probably more related to a personal attitude more than personal characteristics. We should also avoid the risk of repetitiveness.
    Wouter Willemse addresses the issue of "realising what we are trying to say with/through our photos and putting in an effort to improve how the message is delivered". And that "photography stretches beyond holding a camera and pushing a button", trying to "bring something new to the table". We are pretty much on the same page here.
    Josh's distinction of process and results is very important. It reminds us that in photography, as in many human activities, relationships are not linear!
    James Farabaugh, your concept of seriousness seems very much related to the "publishing". But not every photographer's purpose is to publish. A photographer might put a big effort into photographing, editing, printing, and never intend to publish. Why not consider the "casual photographer" as the opposite to the "serious photographer"?
    Having a "serious approach" to photography, and trying to produce "serious results" does not mean at all to take oneself too seriously. In fact I believe that taking oneself too seriously can seriously undermine the seriousness of the photographic process.​
    This confirms my earlier observation. All one sentence of it.
     
  57. Luis, remove your tongue from your cheek!
    Julie,
    A casual photographer will share all decent snapshots from a birthday party with friends/family. A serious photographer will only share the excellent ones.​
    Yes and no. I am serious enough to know when things have to be casual. People want to see the photos after the party. Denying to show the majority is putting your artistic ego in front of the intent of the photos. Ego and confidence, as Don said, creep in there.
    But I think if you're serious in understanding photography, you acknowledge the intent with which a photo was made, and can distinguish between the different roles a photo may serve, and make your 'publishing process' fit that role.
    A serious photographer does not have to be serious all the time, after all.
     
  58. Luca: 2. One mainly focusing on the "process" and "approach" to photography

    3. One looking more at the output and results.

    *

    Personal thoughts along those lines...when I began photography in the 1960s and among the young photographers I knew, the idea that the "result" would be an exhibition quality print hanging in a gallery. was nowhere to be found. The idea would have been considered "stale", "old fashioned", like the Photo-Secession or Group f/64. Art-mongering behaviors. Our photography would be contemporary and dynamic, embedded in the social and cultural fabric of life, and not for hanging in a museum. The desired "result" would be publication -- newspaper, magazine -- not a print. Our prints were tacked to the walls or scattered on tables. It wasn't until the 1970s that I knew a photographer who actually matted and framed small prints.

    One can see some of this coming through in Winogrand interviews, I think, which means it was still had its echos in the 1980s. I recall an article about W. Eugene Smith's inability to get his Pittsburgh Project published. The author noted it apparently never occured to Smith to create a gallery exhibit. Publication in the popular media was the goal -- contemporary, immediate, socially and culturally embedded.

    What many commenters on photo.net mean by "serious photographer", (and "serious photography") is someone who, from the gitgo, intends a photo worthy of a museum-quality print. Those of us with a different attitude (often a bad attitude) towards that practice, often find ourselves defined out of the discussion.

    The older I get, the more I find the work of young amateur photographers interesting and even exciting. I think the young photographers (and myself) I knew back in the 1960s would have immediately taken to digital photography and the WWW if they had existed. The cell phone camera would have been a dream come true.
     
  59. I'm impressed by the number of posts on this "light" topic.
    Thanks all!
    lar
     
  60. I can wait for the results
     
  61. Bob has it right. Serious photographers never smile. If you see a photographer smiling you know he or she is one of those frivolous photographers.
     
  62. People want to see the photos after the party. Denying to show the majority is putting your artistic ego in front of the intent of the photos.
    Being critical and selective will result in people being thankful to you afterwards, as your editing and discretion will save the subjects embarrassment. A lot of people are critical of how they look in images and it is the photographer's job to save them from seeing their worst expressions. It's nothing to do with artistic ego and everything to do with doing the right thing for the subjects even if they don't know it.
     
  63. It's just taking photos of stuff. Nothing to be serious about when it's a passtime or hobby. Just enjoy the day. You will always grab a few good snaps.
     
  64. John Ellingson: "Bob has it right. Serious photographers never smile. If you see a photographer smiling you know he or
    she is one of those frivolous photographers."

    It's all so clear to me now! ;-)
     
  65. Illka Nissila: "Being critical and selective will result in people being thankful to you afterwards, as your editing and
    discretion will save the subjects embarrassment. A lot of people are critical of how they look in images and it is the
    photographer's job to save them from seeing their worst expressions. It's nothing to do with artistic ego and everything
    to do with doing the right thing for the subjects even if they don't know it."

    Well said. Photographers who are insensitive to people's feelings, particularly some sensitivity about how they look,
    can cause pain for the clients and reputation issues for the next photographer that that person encounters. I'd rather
    show someone one magical shot where they look really nice than twenty lesser images. I'd rather have them tell their
    friends about this "amazing" photo than complain that they look horrible and that "the photos didn't really come out
    well."
     
  66. When you are 'serious' about your payment with the Clients ;-)
     
  67. My 11 year old son is a photographer. He has a crappy 5mp P&S camera with a 5x zoom. He thinks about every shot he takes. He considers what the final image will look like before he presses the button. He frets about composition. He wouldn't know a f.stop from a slurpee machine.
    On the other hand, I know pros who pretty much use their photography to get laid. They have studio lighting, tens of thousands of dollars of equipment and can mentally calculate the exposure & fill flash needed in nearly any situation. They don't create. They produce a product.
    I know who the serious photographer is. It's a headspace, not equipment, having your own darkroom or clients.
     

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