I was browsing aimlessly through another stack of Andre Kertesz photo books yesterday in the evening. I already knew what I am going to talk about in next (tomorrow’s?) “Exploring the Masters”, and those books contained the same photographs over and over again anyway. When on one of the first pages of “Andre Kertesz” by Sarah Greenough, Robert Gurbo and Sarah Kennel a quote drew my attention:
I am an amateur and I intend to stay that way for the rest of my life.
Andre Kertesz, 1930
I never read photographers life story, but I don’t think he did, anyway. Yet, this quote reminded me of a blog post written some time ago by Stuart Sipahigil on his blog (which I cannot find right now, this post is the only one I was able to Google). The post talked about the pride of being amateur photographer. Amateurs, by definition, do it for the pure love of the medium.
Along those lines, I think amateur photographers, defined as people who do not earn living doing photography (as opposed to, what some people consider amateurs, beginner photographers) can take, and often are taking, at least equally good photographs. To prove it is sufficient to look at the images posted daily on 500px or Flickr (how many names were made on Flickr? The story of Miss Aniela aka Natalie Dybisz, is just one example).
Amateurs are striving as much to achieve proficiency, increase their skills as so called professionals. They even can have more time to go out and shoot, not having to deal with clients, deadlines, invoices, taxes etc. Certainly, amateurs can decide what they shoot and when, not being limited by demands of the clients, which decreases the stress and help creativity.
This is how I view amateurs. I am proud of being one. It is a decision I made already a couple of years ago. I do not want to make photography my profession. I do want to practice it in my free time, to take my mind off work and life otherwise. My “creative outlet”.
How about you? Are you also a photographer? Are you an amateur?