February 24, 2016: what makes someone a photographer?

What makes someone a photographer?  Personally, I prefer this definition from Wikipedia: "A photographer...is a person who takes photographs."  That's all.

Some would argue that that definition is too broad.  They believe that only people who make money from their work should be called photographers.  That seems like a good requirement for a professional photographer, but I don't think it's necessary for photographers in general.  (In the United States, at least, this viewpoint might result in part from our tendency to identify strongly with our primary income source.)

Others object to applying the term "photographer" to those who mostly use certain types of cameras (such as those found in cell phones) or display their work in casual settings (such as Instagram).  This seems overly defensive to me.  Regardless of their equipment or dissemination, those people take photos, too.

To conclude: If you take photos, then don't let anyone discourage you from calling yourself a photographer.  (Don't do the discouraging, either.)  It might be an infrequent hobby.  It might be a steady day job.  Either way, you're doing it.


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