You might feel bad when someone say to you
“You are amateur”
Because the word “amateur”, often implies a person who is inexperienced or unskilled in the particular activity.
In Japan, there is a term “high-ama” , which means “highly skilled amateur” which is mainly used in the photography industry.
Since “amateur” has some negative meaning, the word is often used preferably for highly skilled non-pro photographers.
Instead there is no word “low-ama”.
I guess, in the western world, the term ” semi-professional” or “Enthusiasts ” are used by similar meaning.
However the original meaning of “amateur” is a lover- someone who loves something. It has gradually taken on another meaning: “non-professional”, but even worse, “unskillful”.
Initially there are no meaning of person who is “unskilled”, but gradually the term was often used that way.
By the way, I’ d been thinking ” amateur” was” un-mature”, since English is not my native tongue.
I was bit surprised when I could not find the words “unmature” or “un-mature” in a English dictionary.
In a photo competition, you can usually find the two categoryies: “Pro” and “amateur” or “non- professional”.
When you see the award winning images, in terms of the quality, it looks like no difference between “pro” and “amateur”.
Since both pros and amateurs are almost using same gears, cameras and software, (some time amateurs have more disposable money for their gears) plus in this information abundance, there are no secret for photography technique; Everyone can be a highly-skilled pro-level photographer.
Actually many non-professionals entry to “pro” category, and got many are awarded.
So many cases, a “pro”category can be said “Open” category .
However, in my opinion, “pro-category” is not only the place for aiming the award but also the place they can appeal their photography for future clients. That is why there are many categories for various type of pros, and many pros use them as their promotion .
I tried pro category before, but I’m an amateur and have no intention to be a pro in the future; my recent entries were all to “amateur”.
I don’t want to worry about which category I should enter: amateurs go to amateur.
That is simple.
I take amount of time for finishing my work.
On the field I stay always half of a day at a same location as I prefer hyper-long exposure and panorama style photography.
In the post-process, usually, it takes from 2 weeks to a month; sometimes it takes over a year for fully making convincing image for me.
There are no dead line or a client who complain to me for finishing a work quickly.
There are no obligation and responsibility for making masterpiece which appeals for public .
You can use any cameras and gears what you want to use.
No limitation, No obligation, No responsibility: It’s the privilege of being an amateur.
Hobbyist, beginners, highly-skilled enthusiasts, some of them are going (or want) to be a pro for the future.
But now, we are all amateurs.
So why not enjoy being an amateur?
Why not be proud of an amateur?
Do what you love, shoot what you love, use the gears you cherish.
Pursue the subject “you” really love.
Don’t flattering. Be selfish.
Don’t compromise with your image.
Challenge what only amateurs can do.
Enjoy the failing.
Pursue the image what only amateurs can achieve.