Someday I hope to Become an Amateur Photographer


I fell in love with photography when I was very young. In my late teens and early 20s, I used to wander the streets of New York City with my Canon FT and a 28mm lens, taking candid street shots of different people. I dreamed of one day becoming a professional photographer.

After graduating college, I lucked into a job with one of the top advertising photographers in New York. I learned about lighting, sets and commercial photography. I eventually became a photographer’s assistant for hire. I worked for photographers doing shots for Vogue, Glamour, Bloomingdale’s and others. Eventually I opened my own studio and tried to make it as a professional photographer. I still loved taking photos, as long as people would pay me for them.

At this point, circumstances caused my life to do a 180. I dropped photography and pursued other things. Like many people who take a hobby that they love and pursue a career with it, photography was a nice way to make a living, but it wasn’t a labor of love anymore.

After a hiatus of 25 years I became interested in photography again. Once more, I was taking photographs for the love of it and the excitement of seeing what came out of the camera. I looked at the different options for making a living with it once more, and I saw they all involved a focus on producing a product for a specific market rather than just photographing what excites me.

I have decided that being a professional photographer is not a career that I want to pursue. I have decided to work at becoming a great amateur.

~ by danbaumbach on March 4, 2009.

2 Responses to “Someday I hope to Become an Amateur Photographer”

  1. “Let me here call attention to one of the most universally popular mistakes that have to do with photography – that of classing supposedly excellent work as professional, and using the term amateur to convey the idea of immature productions and to excuse atrociously poor photographs. As a matter of fact nearly all the greatest work is being, and has always been done, by those who are following photography for the love of it, and not merely for financial reasons. As the name implies, an amateur is one who works for love; and viewed in this light the incorrectness of the popular classification is readily apparent.” –Alfred Stieglitz

  2. Well said, Dan. Fortunately, I’ve become interested in work again, so I’m not trying to find an alternate career anymore. But, now I can really just take my time in selecting the right images to make. And like you allude in your next post, this gives you time to really get to know your subject.

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