What is a "Real Photographer"?

Discussion in 'General' started by Hamish Gill, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    People often ask me what a Real Photographer is.
    I thought it might be nice to get my opinion down in black and white, and perhaps let others add their thoughts too!


    Firstly, and perhaps quite obviously to current members, in the context of this site, a real photographer is someone who joins here using their Real Name ... that is where we got our website's name from!

    In the more abstract I have a few feelings toward what I think a "Real Photographer" is...

    I think a "Real Photographer" is pretty much any one who puts photography, ie. the taking and enjoying of the images before the kit. There is no harm in having in interest in the kit, in fact i would encourage it but it should always come second to the actual photo taking!

    With this in mind, a "Real Photographer" can be someone who uses any type of camera to take their photos! It doesn't matter if it is an iPhone, cheap compact, Box brownie, all singling all dancing mother of all camera beast, film or digital... If it can be considered a camera by any persons standards the person using it is a "Real Photographer", as long as their intention is to enjoy the process of taking an image and not solely to enjoy the ownership of the kit!

    I also feel quite strongly that something that defines a "Real Photographer" is the desire to learn!
    And not only to learn, but to also share what they learn with other people!
    This I feel is very important, both to this website and to the definition of "Real Photographer"

    If this is how you feel, and you are reading this as a guest to this website, I would say that you will feel right at home here!

    So what are other peoples thoughts?
    Have i missed anything, or does that about cover the basics?
  2. Ralph Thornton

    Ralph Thornton Well-Known Member

    I agree with Hamish. To me the best parts of photography are taking the photographs, enjoying the photographs by sharing them with others and finally, but not necessarily last is learning.

    I learn something every time I take a photograph. This learning doesn't always focus on the camera or kit or the settings used. Many times I learn more about my world by the act of taking a photograph. This wide focused learning is probably what I like most about photography.
  3. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Yeah, an interesting point ... part of the enjoyment of photography must be an interest in the subject! Without that I suppose a photo doesn't really mean anything!

    Something else that occurs to me in a similar vein to your thoughts...
    I've mentioned before about how previous to being a member here I saw some photography as a bit dull... mostly, if im honest, some landscape photography... Then I went to Wales and took some photos of waterfalls, just sort of photography I might have written off as "It's all been done before, so whats the point?". That experience changed my view! I loved that day, the photography was almost second to the joy and immense appreciation of my surroundings!
    I suppose in that respect a "Real Photographer" is someone who appreciates all types of photography for what it is, even if it isn't a genre they might usually partake in...
    Does that make sense??
  4. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Perfectly Hamish and think your summary and definitions are good ones. I guess the name 'Real Photographer' is a bit odd and could come across as elitist in some way but that is certainly not the tone of this site at all. It is much more akin to your definition I think.
  5. Kev Pugh

    Kev Pugh Well-Known Member

    I'd just like to add to all above 'someone who likes to experiment with different photographic techniques and explore the medium'
  6. Richard Sloman

    Richard Sloman New Member

    I'd describe a real photographer as someone who has the skill to produce photographs other people want to look at, regardless of the size of the audience and methods used.
  7. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    I'd perhaps disagree, but only to a point Richard ... at least in the context of what i would like the phrase to mean here!
    replace the word "skill" with "desire"
    Skill for me excludes, potential photographers, or people who want to learn, but haven't yet obtained "skills" per se ...
    But then i suppose skill could be as simple as just pointing the camera in the right direction and pressing the button...
  8. Richard Sloman

    Richard Sloman New Member

    Ok, for the context of my post lets assume skill means knowing which end of the lens to attach to the camera :p

    Thing is though that lots of people have the desire (if only for a short time), so where do you draw the line?
  9. Paul Lange

    Paul Lange Moderator

    TBH I think the world is full if people who buy expensive cameras and then consider themselves photographers. They have no real desire to learn other then read a load of stuff on the internet but never put it into practice. I think that to claim to be anything whether formally or informally you need to back it up with a desire to create. Some people are very technical photographers and some might argue dispassionate but they aim to produce great photographs. Others are not very technical at all but still drive themselves to realise their ideas through great photographs. This goes far beyond buying an expensive camera and never pushing yourself.
  10. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    I suppose I would draw the line either side of the time that they have the desire to be a "Real Photographer" within the above specs!

    The lines I would draw are:
    A line at the point that someone spends more time analysing cameras and their equipment than they do actually taking photos.
    A line where people chose to pick at other peoples skills without offering any sort of constructive comment ... A photographer who is not willing to share what they have learnt or isn't willing to help other people improve their skills is not, in the context of this website at least, a "Real Photographer".
    A line where someone decides that they know it all and can no longer learn from other people.

    On that note, I would also add that a "Real Photographer" is someone who realises that however good they are they can always learn more, and maybe even learn from someone who has been doing it for a fraction of the time that they have!
  11. Kev Pugh

    Kev Pugh Well-Known Member

    I'll agree with your last post wholeheartedly Hamish, the only time you should stop learning is when you stop breathing and the same goes for sharing experiences and knowledge IMO, so that what you have learned isn't lost.
    I once worked in an environment where many saw knowledge has power over those who didn't have it, I guess a fear that others, if they had the same knowledge, would either become better than them and they would therefore lose their position, or they would be shown up for actually not knowing a great deal in first place.
  12. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    I guess for me it comes down to the word "photograph." Being a photographer is about creating an image. The tool you create the image with may be simple or complex, and may allow you few options or many, but at the end of the day its just a means to an end.

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