Is Everyone A Photographer?

Have you ever thought in how photography seems to be the one profession where people could instantly join the club purely on the basis of owning a camera? Think about it. Taking a drive to the nearest hardware store to buy a fully equipped tool belt is just as easy as stopping by an electronic store to pick up a camera and yet under no circumstances would I publicize myself as a newly indoctrinated carpenter who could build you a marvelous kitchen set.

The easiness in which one could own the tools is one thing but being able to build something substantial is another. It takes time and commitment to develop the basic and obligatory skill sets to become proficient in something that looks easy from the outside. My wife could vouch for how horrible I am at attempting to put things together, so I see no sense in stocking up on equipment that would make it seem like I can.

To put things more in perspective, how many times have you seen photographs where you’ve immediately ask yourself “how come my photographs never look that way or how did they managed to take such a tack-sharp image under horrible lighting conditions?” These are questions that cross my mind all the time. The gist is that it takes more than owning a camera to be a photographer or at least a certain type. What ultimately differentiates 2 camera owners from one another is the experience one might have over the other.

For the most part, everyone knows how to write and we live in an age where we can easily set up a platform to get our written words out there, so the question is, do columnist and authors ever worry that anyone can pretty much call themselves a writer? And is there a difference between people calling themselves a photographer simply because they own a camera? Just because you can swim, does that make a lifeguard too? Food for thought.

I think if you own a camera and you actively shoot, then you automatically inherit the “photographer” title but the debate on whether everyone is one generally comes up when people think they can start up a business all within 24hrs of buying a camera and setting up a website. A quick Google search on the topic and you’ll see there’s a lot of discussion around the subject.