Why qualifications now?
This might be a lengthy blog about qualifications, but there’s a bit of background to go through.
I don’t need pieces of paper or qualifications.
I’ve never been big on qualifications before. I dropped out at school around 14, when I found it was much easier to make people laugh than study. That may have had something to do with the education system in place at the time, but only partly. I loved going to school, but it was really all about socialising for me, the learning was definitely secondary. Consequently I left school with just one ‘O’ level, in English, and that was due to the respect I had for my teacher at the time. I made the effort, or as much as I thought was needed, and got a C. I was content with that, but my teacher wasn’t. She made it very clear that she thought I could and should have done better.
I didn’t stay on for the 6th Form. I’d had enough and wanted to get out working and earning some money. My initial job was with a superb carpenter, who taught me a lot, but it wasn’t the job for me. After a year I left and got a job as a clerk with a tyre fitting company. Employment there also lasted about a year before I got restless and wanted something more challenging. Step forward the Royal Air Force. They were looking to recruit, and after getting two jobs fairly easily without qualifications, surely I could get a third. On top of that, an old friend had bet me that I couldn’t do it, that it wasn’t my type of life. I love a challenge.
Perhaps some pieces of paper might have helped.
My first interview was at the Careers Information Office in Ipswich, Suffolk, close to my home town of Felixstowe. I went through all of the basic stuff, they checked I was still breathing which was a requirement, and then invited me back for another chat. They seemed keen to get me in, tough I found out later that manpower at the time was low. We started talking jobs, but was pointed very firmly towards supplier which they dressed up to make it sound like a fabulous area to work in. I was keen to join, so agreed. It was only when I got home and started reading about pay that I felt a twinge of disappointment. Technical trades got a much higher salary, and that was the first time that I got a feeling that some qualifications would have helped.
Now I want some pieces of paper.
Moving forward some 40 years since I joined up, my attitude has changed. As a self employed photographer one of my tasks is to sell myself to potential customers. That can be done by displaying my work, and hoping it’s of sufficient quality to get people to part with their money in return for some images which they love. Therein lies the problem. It’s an argument that has been flogged to death, but it’s still valid. Everyone has a camera on their phone, which of course makes them great photographers. Comments are left on their Facebook pages, like ‘stunning’ and fantastic photo’ and lots more besides. Are they really that good? I don’t think so a lot of the time.
This is where the piece of paper comes in. The Guild of Photographers offer a range of qualifications. When I say offer, I don’t mean that they give them away. It’s hard to gain them, all panels are judged by a number of the UK’s leading photographers, and they are critical. It’s my intention to go down that route. I’ve managed to gain Qualified status in the area of professional photography, but I don’t intend to stop there. As a wedding photographer, my next goal is to get qualified status in that specialisation, and then Craftsman in general and wedding photography. It’s going to be a long and hard road, but I want those pieces of paper. I’ve seen the light after all of those years.