1. A person who engages in an art, science, study, or athletic activity as a pastime rather than as a profession.
2. Sports An athlete who has never accepted money, or who accepts money under restrictions specified by a regulatory body, for participating in a competition.
3. One lacking the skill of a professional, as in an art.
Coming from a Latin word meaning “to love a craft”.
Somewhere along the line “amateurism” got morphed into a negativity, as in mainstream definition #3 “lacking the skill of a pro”, rather than the true meaning of, say, ‘exceeding the structured/limited text book skill, and creating with openness and new eyes, driven by the love of doing it, rather than career/profession/status pursuits…’
“There’s a purity of vision when what you are doing is being done for fun, as a learning experience, which is the essence of amateurism, a much maligned term. Every child knows this. Adults try to beat it out of them. The amateur is the one who makes the discoveries and advances all human thought . This has been demonstrated throughout history.”   -Nick Zedd
And in the future, as systems continue to break down, and money incentives become irrelevant, clearly it will be the amateur lover of craft, the garage tinkerer who will come up with the important technologies;  inventions that will pave the way towards new ways of living.
“German and Russian seem to have done somewhat better in preserving it (the term amateur) to simply mean “lover” in the non-erotic sense. The word’s relatively high standing in France can be seen in the titles of two fairly recent books, one, L’Amateur du poeme, celebrating poetry for the sake of poetry, the other honoring the donor of a huge art collection to the National Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou Center: Donations Daniel Cordier: Le regard d’un amateur. But in America it is on the defensive. The association of Amateur Chamber Music Players not long ago polled us members about whether we shouldn’t drop the word “Amateur” from our name. Too many people, some were saying, see only the dismissive definition in the word. Many of us fought to retain it, and by now we who love the word seem to have won our battle to keep it in the title. But who knows what will come?”  -Wayne Booth
“Coppola ended the conversation by educating us on the true definition of amateur, stating it’s about real passion for something. Then he declared, “I want to be an amateur filmmaker, because I love films.”
MIL: “Your films often seem as if they are shot from a mobile phone or a handheld video camera rather than by a professional filmmaker. How do newer video technologies influence your work?”

RT: Life has changed greatly since 1995 and so should the logic of storytelling and the look, structure and creation of the moving image. I use manners that relate and challenge current life, and that meditate on future possibilities. I would argue that the word professional is slowly becoming harder and harder to understand or evaluate.”  -Ryan Trecartin

“Professionalism is a curse; a straightjacket stifling innovation, and the dependence upon it by artists, politicians and and those in power has left us bereft of excitement, surprise or joy. My work is an antedote to this malaise.”  -Nick Zedd

[jacket image]


Zedd interview –

Wayne Booth –

Coppola interview –

Ryan Trecartin interview –

Amateurism Exhibition –

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