I had a random thought about photographs, photographers, and generally, all people who take pictures. People like me. Going down this rabbit hole began when I had a thought about the photos my dad took. In the later years of his life (he passed in 1993) he made hundreds and hundreds of pictures. All color slides. He had a 35mm camera, a Pentax I think, with two or three lenses. I only saw a few of them because he didn’t have a slide viewer so looking at them required setting up a screen, a projector, and loading the slides into a carousel. Way too much work. When my mother died several years later, all those slides were tossed. Today, I wonder, “What were they like?”
That got me thinking about amateur photographers and what makes a “professional” photographer. Some professional photographers look down on photographers who do other work besides photography, what some of them call “…hyphenated photographers.”
I’m a hyphenated photographer, so was my dad, so are most photographers. Vivian Maier, a photographer-nanny, is probably the most famous of us. I admire photographers who rise to the top of the commercial photography business, it’s a tough, competitive, passion driven occupation. But that’s not for all of us…I carry my hyphen proudly…father-photographer, husband-photographer, IT-photographer, retiree-photographer. Perhaps one in a thousand of my photos rises to the level of “professional,” but most rise to the level of making me smile. And that certainly balances the burden a hyphen might carry.