Thursday, May 13, 2010

Professional photography

A lot has changed on the photography scene since I left the field for good more than 17
years ago.My scope was limited only to Press photography which is now known as 'photojournalism'.Nowadays, anyone who picks up an advanced-level digital SLR would consider
themselves as 'professionals'.In my line of work, you are a professional when you get a monthly salary slip for doing only
one thing: taking photographs.And the role of a photojournalist is to capture and record important events, which in turn,
becomes a part of our history immoratlised in images.
While having lunch with my colleague who is the photo editor for The Star yesterday, one of the editorial artist came up to him and asked for camera pricing.
Coming straight from her mouth, she said that a professional photographer is a person who owns a good set of equipment and knows how to use it.
And in her case, she needs to get a full-frame camera to live up to the mark.
What the hell was this person talking about?
The meaning may be misconstrued as the word is commonly abused.
I walked her through what defines the word 'professional' in photography in my scope of work and what it meant otherwise.
The role of a photojournalist in Malaysia's mainstream media is to mainly cater for the news
pages.Some even specialised in sports and feature photography. These are the professionals
who have their work featured everyday to the millions of readers who depended on the
newspaper for news as a knowledge base and entertainment.I don't consider freelancers and serious hobbyists are professionals because they don't
have the credentials to back them up.Yet, they can yeild professional-quality photos that can rival that of any photojournalists. But
that don't make them full-time professionals.With the internet age, virtually anyone can showcase their work. Whether amateur or
professional quality, the world wide web has changed the way professional photography is
seen.You can splurge a big sum of money on professional cameras and lenses and present
your work by publishing it on-line.And what do you get out of it? Bragging rights.But as the old-fashioned way dictates - only published work on print are given the due
credit and recognition.
Then again, I am speaking from experience and from the general context, I may be wrong.
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