It's two in the morning, there's an awesome thunderstorm outside, and as usual I have The Nanny on in the background. And, of course, I'm googling photography stuff.
My photographer friend, who lives in the endlessly rewarding state of North Carolina, sent me a link to their Our State magazine, which pays for photographic submissions. I checked it out and this line caught my eye: "Please keep in mind the photographic strength of Our State has made it very competitive among professional photographers to be published here."
So I was immediately deflated, of course, because I'm not a professional. But then I thought, what is the definition of a professional photog?
According to Miriam-Webster, a professional is someone who "participates for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs" (for example, golf). So, as long as my photography makes me money...I'm a professional photographer.
(And you know, sometimes I think the phrase is used by various entities to scare off those who truly aren't ready for primetime)
While googling, this site came up immediately - it's Ken Rockwell massaging the egos of lots of people just like myself, reassuring us that the dream is still in reach, just not how we imagined it, and helping us keep in touch with reality. According to him, the best way to do what I love and make a little money while doing it is a) keep my day job, and b) don't sweat the expensive stuff.
In fact, he has another page where he goes on and on about how the best pictures are taken by people, not cameras. Which makes sense. A camera that costs thousands of dollars will never be able to compose the shots for you.
Some of my favorite pictures ever were taking ten years ago with a Kodak Advantix camera, which you'll recall was so popular because of it's drop-and-load mechanism. It wasn't digital. It didn't have manual focus. I couldn't adjust for aperture or shutter speed, alter tints or exposure compensation. But it still gave me these:
In fact, I wonder what ever happened to that old camera...I bet it's in a tub somewhere...hmmm.
Anyway, it's articles like that that give me a little hope, especially after drowning in a Chase Jarvis spectacle. I do think I have something to offer that makes my photos meaningful. While (as Ken points out) more expensive cameras make it easier to get the shot, it's still all about the operator.