Professionals and amateurs

The distinction between professional and amateurs within many cultural fields is rapidly evaporating. Without being negative towards the amazing professionals out their I would just like to point to the many resources where amateurs are sharing material as a proof of the great work being done for love rather than money.

So what is the difference between a professional and an amateur? This is actually a tricky question which is usually fobbed off with the response that professionals get paid for their work or professionals live off their work. But this is problematic since it says nothing of the quality of the work.

Also many of us do more than what we are paid for – does this mean that we are unprofessional? Van Gogh was a painter but he could not support himself… does this mean he was an amateur? Another question is whether it is better to be an amateurish professional, a brilliant amateur or a maybe even a professional amateur?

One of my photos was published in a magazine recently (ok so it was the university staff magazine) does this mean I can call myself a professional? Should this title come from one lucky shot or the hundreds of photographs that I am more proud of?

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