chantal stone photography: the blog

April 17, 2007

Amateur

Filed under: Inspiration — chantal @ 9:55 am

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There’s been a ton of great stuff in the blogging world this past week….much of which I was planning to write something about, to summarize my own conclusions. But this morning I came across something that really stood out for me. I’ve been an amateur photographer since high school, and only recently have been trying my hand at the professional side of things. And although I live and breathe all-things-photo, and couldn’t picture myself doing anything else professionally, this quote is just too delicious to resist. It’s smart, romantic, and pure genius.

“Professionalism is way overrated. It is the spirit of the amateur that people in creative occupations– in almost any occupation– need to cultivate more than anything else. A couple of hundred years ago, “amateur” was an entirely positive, noble description of someone. The word comes from the Latin amator, which means “lover.” An amateur undertaking was something you did out of love, for the pleasure of doing it– something you did out of passion. And when you think about it this whole country was a nation created by passionate amateurs. The American spirit is the amateur spirit.
– Kurt Andersen, in “Ode to Amateurism”

~found via Jenny Vorwaller’s blog, True Nature.

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6 Comments »

  1. That is a well-said quotation.

    I suspect many of the best “professionals” in any field still have the amateur spirit, and continue for the passion and love of their craft.

    Comment by Andy Smith — April 17, 2007 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks, Chantal. That is a great quote. When I look at the word ‘professional’, I think of it in business terms, meaning that one derives more than 50% of their income from that venture, not in terms of quality. Great thoughts.

    Comment by paul — April 18, 2007 @ 6:47 am | Reply

  3. Oh, forgot one thing: How goes the professional quest? Do you care to share your experiences? Are you finished processing all of those pictures that you shot (portraits)? Are you loving the digital world? Questions! Questions! Questions! Inquiring minds want to find out! 😉

    Comment by paul — April 18, 2007 @ 6:49 am | Reply

  4. Intersting thought. Just while I’ve been struggling with the term “photographer”, this raises it above beyond to the profession versus amateur.

    So it got me looking – seems profession is all about having skill/knowledge (quick search at dictionary.com). Amateur is about enthusiasm. Perhaps, moving from the vernacular back to the original meanings – one can be an amateur professional: one who is both skilled and loves what they do.

    Comment by Martin Doonan — April 18, 2007 @ 7:57 am | Reply

  5. Andy—-so true!

    Paul—-you just gave something new to write about…thanks!

    Martin—–you’re not the first person I’ve heard struggle with calling him(her)self ‘photographer’. I’ve never had that struggle. From the very first day I brought my first 35mm slr that my Dad gave me back in high school, I was the Photographer. ‘Artist’ is the one I wrestled with.

    re.: ‘amateur professional’—I like it!

    Thanks, guys, for the comments 🙂

    Comment by Chantal — April 18, 2007 @ 11:42 am | Reply

  6. […] It Going? 18 04 2007 In a comment to yesterday’s post, where I mentioned my on-going quest to becoming a professional photographer, Paul Lester asks […]

    Pingback by How's It Going? « New Words — April 18, 2007 @ 3:01 pm | Reply


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