The Visual Advocate Blog

What makes someone a “photographer?”

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These are two pictures of my son taken by my wife who loves taking pictures with her Iphone but doesn’t consider herself a photographer because she doesn’t use “big” cameras like I do.

The last few days I have had various conversations with people who love to create images of food, their kids and other subjects that are important to them. What has struck me about all of these conversations is that each time, at some point in the conversation, everyone has said to me something like “I love taking pictures, but I am not a photographer”.

This got me thinking about what makes someone a photographer. In my opinion if someone loves creating images and living a visual life, then they are a photographer. Now they may not make money from their images, have the best equipment or even be that great of a photographer but who cares! If they love exploring the world visually and creating images of things they love than I say they are a photographer!

The reality is that no matter where any of us are in photographic journeys, we all need to be learning more about craft and sharpening our vision and style. I have been a photographer for over 15 years and I feel like I am constantly learning more about my craft and how to create images and stories that not only move me but also resonate with others.

So as David Duchemin has mentioned in past rants let’s forget the labels of “Professional or “Amateur” and just focus on growing as photographers who do it because we love it.

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Author: The Visual Advocate

Joe Murray, The Visual Advocate, is a Humanitarian and Cultural photographer based in Decatur, Georgia. Joe began his photographic career as an adventure and landscape photographer, but a month-long trip to India in 2009 deeply impacted him and proved to be a turning point in his life and photographic vision. Today, Joe is dedicated to using his craft to create and share compelling images and stories of the lives of the peoples and cultures of the world. While Joe loves and appreciates all the peoples and cultures of the world, he has a particular vision, passion and love for India and South Asia. As both an experienced photographer, public speaker, recruiter and advocate, Joe's goal as a visual artist is not simply to create awareness, but to move people to use their lives and resources to be a blessing to the world's most poor, abused, displaced, stereotyped and overlooked peoples.

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