What is a 'Pro' Photographer, really?

Started Feb 20, 2014 | Discussions thread
René Schuster Forum Pro • Posts: 14,180

canonpro wrote:

My opinion, René Schuster, that those types of schooling do not always give you Pro results, there are 15 year kids that I've met that are turning out work way beyond those who spend time in college and training classes, or even the teachers teaching the classes. Schooling doesn't teach creativity, it sometimes actually kills it. If you look at a lot of the big names on the world circuit, most never went to school, and learned by experimenting and doing things the "trained" photographers shy away from. Most quoted example is Joey L, who was 15 years old when he started entering contests and was booking Pro gigs when he was 18, all with out schooling. And by his personal exploration without schools teaching him the wrong/right ways to shoot he started what has become almost a signature style. (can't tell you how many people now look at some shots and say, thats looks like Joey L's work style). Now when it comes to other professions, such as a plumber and electrician, Id agree with you, as those are professions that if the work is not done properly, injury or death can occur. But when your talking about painting, drawing, photography or other arts, schooling is not needed to produce spectacular work. Creative is the key. . And as far as learning something that schools could teach, now a days with the internet, anyone can watch a learning tutorial and learn specific techniques that could better them in a specific area that nurtures their goals, and not an outdated curriculum taught by schools. I think the paid approach to who is Pro is more relevant then those who had more schooling, as Art is only worth what one will pay for, and Art is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes down to it you can help nurture Art with school, but you can't teach Art.

(And I have family in Germany, and while over in Heidelberg I got to look around at the photographers in town, and though they all have gone through higher education schooling, their work looked like it was from the 90's, outdated and unoriginal.

Yes, after years of mainly taking silly passport pictures, a couple weddings a year and now and then a portrait, many pro photographers can look pretty outdated. Often a bit sad to see how many people are satisfied and happy with pictures that are just technically o.k. (exposure time, aperture, focus), but don't show any creativity beyond this technical aspect!

Photos that would make high school kids with their iPhones look like professionals. But there were some street venders at the Christmas Market there, that were unschooled, that were selling prints that were simply stunning. When it comes to photography, I look at it as its 10% skill, and 90% creativity).

With the exception of that highlighted sentence in your post I think I can agree with you.

Without a special eye for subjects or a certain amount of creativity, means the "art" part of the game, the best schooling will only produce a perfect technician, but not necessarily an "artist".

On the other hand, the German word for "art" is "Kunst" and that word comes from "können", "can", like in "I can do it", pointing mainly to the technical aspect of art. Just what you can hear all the time: "Good art is usually based on 10% of inspiration and 90% of perspiration".


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