Started Jun 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
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The engineering scenario Re: PROFESSIONAL'S NEED A LICENSE
In reply to OpticsEngineer, Jun 11, 2013

OpticsEngineer wrote:

In my college days, years ago, I took a college course in Engineering Ethics. (I am an engineer) We studied the different Engineering Codes of Ethics that existed. The professor repeatedly told us that you could not understand the codes unless you understood that the primary purpose of the engineering societies, back around 1900 or so, was to increase the pay for engineers, because at that time, engineers were paid quite poorly. Hence the engineering licensing exams and corresponding legislation that government funded work had to be performed under the guidance of a professionally licensed engineer. The lawmakers went along with it because a reasonable case could be made that public safety and effective use of taxpayer revenue would be increased if properly trained engineers were used on public works projects.

I have a hard time seeing how a similar scenario could play out for photography but I thought sharing this history might be helpful.

It plays out for photography in a reduced number of lawsuits taken by disgruntled customers against incompetent photographers.

However, I do have a nagging concern about the introduction of a "closed shop" if the OP's suggestion became law. Often when you have regulated professions what you end up with is a tiny clique determining who can and can't practice and earn a living; and often, as I know only too well from working with lawyers, the profession's regulatory body, over time, will come up with ever more complex rules and regulations to justify their existence (most of them a load of BS) and if you don't abide by them you can't practice or are heavily fined. I also feel that the likes of Getty and other big businesses wouldn't be too happy about the notion of a regulated profession as it suits them to have every Tom, Dick and Harriette think they can take a decent piccie as it enables the big businesses to get work for a pittance.

Perhaps, a middle approach (between regulation and no regulation) is best; a concerted effort by the various professional associations to educate the public as to what to look for when seeking out a competent pro with one of the features being that such a pro should be a member of a professional association where membership is by examination (written and/or portfolio assessment) or be of such high calibre that the photog's reputation precedes him/her.

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