London’s Times Square


Are you a “Photographer”?

I’m starting to wonder what that word even means any more.  I think there there are over a billion people now that take photos.  But, very few of them would call themselves a “photographer.”  But, that is certainly what they are doing.  Maybe, the them, the word photographer indicates some kind of expertise in the craft of photography, although that is a very grey area too.

To me, the “category” or what you call yourself doesn’t even matter.  Either you enjoy taking photos for yourself or you don’t.  I don’t think it needs a word…  you guys probably know I don’t get caught up in categorizations…

Daily Photo – London’s Times Square

London’s Piccadilly Circus is a treasure trove of angles and compositions for all photographers.  It doesn’t even matter if you formally call yourself a “photographer” or not, because I think anyone even with a mobile phone would be busy snapping photos.  It’s really wild to see, actually.  It’s like a non-stop photowalk with random people, everyone taking photos in every direction… and I think this trend will continue.

London’s Times Square London’s Piccadilly Circus is a treasure trove of angles and compositions for all photographers.  It doesn’t even matter if you formally call yourself a “photographer” or not, because I think anyone even with a mobile phone would be busy snapping photos.  It’s really wild to see, actually.  It’s like a non-stop photowalk with random people, everyone taking photos in every direction… and I think this trend will continue.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen the topic of calling yourself a photographer or not come on G+ several times.  I’ve even wondered about this myself.  There was a time that I felt strange referring to myself as such.  It felt a little pretentious. When people would ask me if I was a photographer I would usually say, “Well, I own a camera.  So I suppose so.” 

    For me, now, I think of someone as a photographer if they actually take a moment to think about what they are shooting.  Most people see something they think looks cool (a cat, a sunset, a baby, a building) and they take a picture of it without taking a second to think about the lighting, the composition, much less the story behind the shot.  They may or may not end up with something worth viewing.

    But the photographer?  They may or may not end up with something viewing as well.  
    But at least the took a moment to think about it and give it the old college try.

    Never been to London, BTW.  Actually, I’ve never even been out of the states.
    Love to try it some day.

  • Casper van Zyl

    Love the colours and the “streeeeeched “Double Decker

  • Beautiful and lively shot – lots of action! Maybe all the millions who take photos now are experiencing what you used to – ‘it doesn’t look like I thought it was at the time’!

  • Csaba Mocsonoky

    After a year of taking photos, I still wouldn’t call myself a photographer. I would wait for other people to start calling me that. Of course, not everyone’s word can be taken for sure. If a person who has (good) experience in photography calls me a photographer, that is great, but if someone who has no experience does, that just simply nice to hear. Anyway – great shot, Trey, as always!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve only been to London changing planes for somewhere else, so never saw that scene or had a chance to shoot it. Thanks for sharing. I guess I never thought of myself as a “photographer” because I never made my living from it even though I have used a long series of SLRs both film and digital and even some big heavy medium format SLRs and shot pictures as part of my work.  Now I just do it for fun and to share with others. I actually don’t want to start selling prints or making money at it ’cause then it will seem like work.

  • Chris McAdam

    Terms are tricky things, but I generally wouldn’t call myself a photographer because it is not my profession. Thats a fairly arbitrary point to draw the line at, but it works for me.

  • Fantastic shot Trey. Superb action, colour and detail.

  • I’m quite amazed by all the hangups there is with the word ‘photographer’ whether you’re one or not, pro or amateur?

    I don’t like categories or labels either.

    For me, I love taking photographs and I love looking at other peoples photographs – it brightens my day and enriches my life.

    If I had to choose I’d say I was an Enthusiastic photographer….

  • Great photo, Trey.  We may see that next year if our trip to Europe happens!!  Thanks for sharing once again, have a great President’s Day!!

  • Great shot, love the ghosts! 

    Photographer or not, no categories for me. It’s the result that matters.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I agree – a lot of hangups! 

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks all – happy to read your comments

  • Trey Ratcliff

    The world will be happy to have you ride it 🙂

  • Anonymous

    That’s for sure! I can’t even believe that the shot is real! That is so beautiful! 

    Now as for the issue. You’re definitely right. It’s not enough to just be able to push a button.  You need to be able to push it at the right moment, make sure that the person or the item is correctly positioned for your shot etc, in order to have the right to call yourself a photographer. It’s like being (or not being a musician). If you can hold the guitar, it does not mean that your’e a guitarist of high quality. The same think holds true for photography. 

  • I think this comes with a certain bit of psychological comfort for me.  Maybe with others, it has to do with making money, or doing photography as a profession.  Would you call yourself a chef because you make a grilled cheese sandwich?   A professional driver because you have a license?  Probably not, at least I wouldn’t.  There is skill, training, experience, etc involved in them all.  I have been working with the medium of photography for decades, but just recently started referring to myself as a photographer.  There was a number of distinct psychological/philosophical shifts that happened to bring about this change, but I am excited that I finally feel comfortable with saying I Am a Photographer!  It all a personal journey and not the same for any of us. 

  • That’s right, the author of the post is right and you’re right, alex.  I know many people who sorta know how to do something (play the piano etc), but in reality don’t know a thing about it. 

    But the photo of the post, it is FABULOUS!

  • Eric Richards

    It seems like a hard distinction, I mean when I was a motocross racer (dirt bikes), I always called myself a motocrosser even before I made some money at it, so I think it’s fine to call yourself a photographer…amateur or otherwise if you have a passion for it.. just my two cents.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Trey, Hey everyone,

    I’m definately not a pro photographer as I’m full time employed elsewhere, but even though I’m an amateur I still consider myself a photographer. As with any skill, everyone is at different levels and years of experience, but it doesn’t mean that can’t consider themselves one.

    Happy snapping all!


  • Anonymous

    “London’s Piccadilly Circus”, the original Time Square!

  • Derek K

    I think the term “pro photographer” exists for a good reason, to distinguish between the people who enjoy taking photos and those who enjoy it and make money from it as well. I reject the idea that someone has to make money at something to be considered a practitioner of their art. 

    Almost everyone has taken a photo at some point in their life. Most people who travel and many who own cameraphones take photos at least occasionally, but in the same way that not everyone who has prepared a meal for themselves is a cook, it is those who have a little bit more than the point and shoot mentality, those who think ahead about their pictures instead of merely reacting to a situation, and those who put thought and effort into the type of photo they want to capture that better deserve the title of photographer. If we must distinguish (and frankly there’s little point in doing so), it can’t be based on skill, because that’s subjective. To me, the dividing line between a photographer and someone who just takes photos is determined by the person’s own feelings about how important photography is to them and how seriously they take it. So if someone believes they’re a photographer, they probably are. And if they say they aren’t, they’re probably right.

    Am I correct in remembering that the “star-studded” hangout with a real live astronaut is tonight? I’m reeaaly excited for this one!

    Love the photo of Piccadilly.. I’m curious about the number of exposures needed to capture those bright advertising signs. 

    EDIT: Sorry IPBrian, didn’t mean to steal your chef analogy, should have read all the comments first. You said it better.

  • Trey,

    Quick question, what time of day/year was this photo taken?  (I like it by the way! 😉 )

  • Stunning image Trey. Love the colors and sense of movement.

  • Love it!  Another place I have to visit before I die 🙂

  • I have to visit before I die 🙂 

  • I agree. It’s more about how one considers himself than how others consider him.
    You can easily distinguish a “pro photographer” from a “photographer” because a pro makes photographs as a mean of living. For the rest, it is more about how seriously one is caught into photography. 
    I don’t think the occasional tourist who makes some snapshots considers himself a “photographer”, but the amateur surely does. 

  • dan_rodson

    The number of times I’ve been asked to take someones photo by the horse fountain on the corner of Coventry Street and Haymarket!!

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