During the course of the debate, there was much pointing out of dictionary definitions by various people. Indeed if you look in pretty much any dictionary you’ll see this:
photographer: (noun) a person who takes photographs, especially one who practices photography professionally.
There were also further examples given, such as – anyone who drives is a driver and anyone who plays golf is a golfer. So sure, if we boil it down to simple etymological definitions – everyone is a photographer. But, dictionary definitions aside, I fundamentally disagree with the statement that anyone who takes photographs is a photographer – pro or otherwise. I’m not even sure that I qualify for the title of photographer.
Before I go on I would like to point out that I am not a photo snob. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t care what camera you use, who made it, what lens it has and how much it cost or if it’s a smartphone, a compact point-and-shoot or a high-end DSLR that cost the same as a small family car. Photographers can and do use all of the above. But! Not everyone who uses a smartphone, compact point-and-shoot or a high-end DSLR is a photographer.
The smartphone has made it possible for anyone anywhere to take a photograph of anything at all. Moreover the arrival of applications like Hipstamatic and Instagram encouraged a new kind of photo-taking in which nothing was too dull to capture. My opinion is that the overwhelming majority of users of Instagram are not in any way, shape or form, photographers – they are snappers. I don’t mean to denigrate anyone by calling them a snapper – I enjoy snapping too – I just strongly believe that there is a world of difference between your average Instagram-style shot and a proper photograph.
What’s the difference, you ask? I think it’s actually pretty simple – a snapper is someone who only really thinks about a photo after it has been taken.