For those of us that don't make a living from our photography, I think we suffer and mentally limit ourselves by saying or thinking we're "amateur" photographers. Why be constrained by the thinking that goes along with such a label. Why feel the need to labels ourselves such at all? David duChemin has a great post today over at his pixelatedimage:blog about this very idea.
What really matters?
"That you’re learning to see the world in a way that’s unique to you, and you’re taking the time, with what talent you’ve been given, and what hard-earned skills you possess, to show the world that vision in clearer and clearer ways."
duChemin truly believes, as do I, that photography is simply about expressing and sharing your vision of the world with anyone that's interested. Heck, even if you don't share it, does it really make it any less valid? Whether anyone sees it, whether we get paid to click the shutter or not, we're still working on that vision, expressing it. That should matter more than anything else.
And if we're expressing our vision of the world through our photography, does it matter how we label ourselves? In quantum physics, it's understood that we can change the nature of an object simply by observing it. If we have the idea that the thing we are observing is a particle, it can behave like a particle. If we are observing the very same thing and think it is a wave, it can behave like a wave. The same object can behave as both a particle and a wave.
With this in mind, don't be an amateur, don't be a professional, just be a photographer and work at mastering your vision.