While thumbling through some back issues of Photographer, Photographus, Photographorum - the photographic weekly written in Latin, the international language of photography - I chanced across an interesting item. It's a quiz designed to tell aspiring young photographers where they fall between rank amateur and seasoned professional.
After half a pack of honey grahams and several hours of laboring over the translation, I'm pleased to bring you the first and last "What Makes a Professional Photographer a Professional Photographer" quiz.
Now, at last, you can determine once and for all whether you're a pro - and just how you stack up against that guy down the street (the one with the new Nikon). Just check the statements that apply to you.
A professional photographer is:
1 - The guy who's never caught short of the right equipment. No matter where he is, he carries everything be owns along with him, often drawing on the services of several porters and a camera bearer.
2 - Frugal. When he goes out to take a shot, he takes "a" shot. No wasted film with him. After all, if the shot doesn't turn out, he can always go back and reshoot it the next day.
3 - Well organized. A place for everything, everything in its place. You'll recognize him as the fellow with 35 pockets sown into his jeans - each one numbered and bulging.
4 - Weighted down with model releases. He never shoots a shot without first clearing it with his subject and getting the signature of all potentially recognizable persons on the release form. This makes shooting at ball games a challenge.
5 - Independently wealthy. After all, there's good money in family portraits.
6 - Well versed in every new photographic gizmo on the market. He's equally at home talking about the molecular structure of acetic acid as he is in discussing the workings of the dual center weighted Leica R3 metering system.
7 - The guy who wouldn't own an instant-print camera if you turned it into a single lens reflex and called it a Polaroid Alpha 1.
8 - The guy who would own a 110 cartridge camera if you turned it into a single lens reflex and called it a Minolta 110 Zoom . . . but only if he could buy it wholesale.
9 - The life of any party. He always brings his camera and shoots friends and strangers alike in the darnedest situations. Weeks later, he is recalled and cherished by one and all the prints of the party make the rounds.
10 - Someone who can read - and practically understand - nearly 10 percent of the article appearing in any of the leading photo magazines on the newstand.
11 - The guy who assures his subjects that electronic flash isn't all that bright. "It's just like looking at a night light."
12 - Somebody who understands that "circles of confusion" does not refer to the areas surrounding a newspaper photo editior's desk.
So there you have it - all 12 points in the quiz. Scoring is simple. For each statement marked with a check, give yourself one point. Here's how to rate your performance:
3-5 POINTS: Your're a rank amateur and should be out shooting squirrels.
6-9 POINTS: You've become proficient at loading film in the camera, but only upside down and backwards.
10-12 POINTS: You're pretty well versed, probably in the advanced amateur class. You may begin tutoring those less know ledgeable than you.
ALL 13 POINTS: Congratulations! You're a real pro. There are only 12 statements in the quiz. If you insist you received 13 points, you can lie well enough to convince anyone you know what you're doing behind a lens.