My name is Martin Dixon
I remember a quote attributed to Edward Weston when asked if photography was an art form. He said "Call yourself a photographer and let artists call you brother." Even today, some seventy years later, many people still believe that only the camera makes the photograph - we photographers merely push the button. But this crude assumption does little to address just where exactly we place our attention? Our senses are bombarded by millions of bits of sensory data every second. So what do you choose and how do and how do you prioritize its importance? Owning MicroSoft Word does not make someone a writer any more than owning a camera makes anyone a photographer.
Discipline is what defines us
Excellence is a work ethic, an innate habit, a commitment to quality. It's what you do when no one is looking. Essentially, it means that "good enough" is never good enough. It is the road less taken. It is a myth that practice makes perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. It is possible to do something for many years and still get it wrong. Photographers don't pretend to show you what you've never seen, we also tell you what you may not want to hear.
Professional photography is a no-nonsense, no forgiveness business. As the adage goes, "You're only as good as your last assignment. No one wants to hear sob stories about why you didn't, or couldn't, or wouldn't deliver the work. Who gives a shit? There are no points for partial credit. You can't deliver half a shoot just as a woman can't be half pregnant. It's piss or get off the pot. Amateurs are fine on auto-pilot (that is until things get difficult). So we professionals develop a certain armor, an necessary insulation that allows us to not take the stress and demands of the business personally.
Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are
The commercial art world is a relatively small circle - everyone knows each other. Sort of like six degrees of separation but with fewer emails. I remember a funny episode after college. I was an assistant in a commercial studio in Manhattan. My employer entrusted me to edit some slides from a recent shoot and Fed-Ex them to an Art Director in California. I was so critical in my edit that I only felt three slides were worth sending. When the art director received a suspiciously light package, she complained that I had left her with nothing to do. We laughed because he agreed with me.