I have been wrestling with something for days, weeks maybe, and today I came face to face with the reality of it. A neighbor, who I don't know very well, was in the gallery this afternoon. She looked surprised to see me when she walked through the door and stated that she didn't know I was a painter. I quickly corrected her. No, I'm not a painter. (Paint by numbers maybe or finger painting with Allie, but not the real deal, unless you count house painting. But I digress.) I'm a photographer. "Well the things you don't know about your neighbors" she replied. "I didn't know you were a professional photographer." Gasp, gulp, sputter and disintegrate into a tongue tied moron. My gut reaction to that statement is NO. NO, NO, NO. I have a little hobby and I'm getting pretty good at it, but a professional? Definitely not.
So the question is am I or am I not a professional photographer? By definition, or at least my understanding of the definition, a professional photographer is one who makes his/her primary income from the business. If that is true, I just might qualify. I do not have any other source of income and I did sell three photographs last week.
But my idea of a professional photographer is one who has years of experience, knowledge of the art that would fill a museum, and one who makes a profitable income to boot. In those terms I don't qualify. I have roughly ten years experience and my knowledge could fill a room or two in that museum but, I do not make a living from photography.