The concept of "Professional"

Written as a reply to this thread:-

"Pro" or "Professional", when applied to photographic equipment more or less becomes shorthand for:-

Equipment that might be regarded as high-level in terms of performance and/or construction and/or price and ownership and use of which would serve to illustrate that the owner/user could be regarded as knowing what they were doing/capable of doing a good job/providing a satisfactory outcome for the fee paid. While at no time indicating whether any of these things are true, the mere presence of such equipment in the hands of the user indicates that at least they can afford it and if they bought it they might just know how to use it. If its expensive/well built/made by somebody well known there is a good chance that it might probably survive the job, it might make us look or sound good and even if the user is incompetent and a complete fraud will give us reassurance that we haven't squandered our hard earned cash. This attribution of worth and quality by the mere possession of expensive/quality/hard wearing tools and the confidence it tends to instill in both the user and the customer reassures both. None of us like to be thought of as incompetent or unable to fulfill our obligations, and the possession of equipment that helps us to overcome that is a handy thing to have, particularly if we have some misgivings about our abilities. By describing one of their products as professional, or having it described as such by others, companies can contribute to our confidence and give us the illusion that even if we don't know our armpit from our elbow, at least we have a piece of equipment that might just get us through by the virtue of it being expensive/well built/made by somebody well known etc. It also functions as a badge or a uniform and clearly states to those we seek to impress and indeed ourselves, that we are up to the task. It makes us look competent even when we may doubt our own abilities, it makes us look less like an enthusiast and hobbyist and makes us look more experienced and capable than we may feel or look without it. It takes away the concept of the amateur, the dabbler and the dilettante, and replaces those unflattering terms with concepts of reliability, trustworthiness and ability. If we look like we know what we are doing we may well end up really knowing what we are doing, and in a situation which is new to us and we are uncertain of, anything that helps up to overcome our sense of fallibility is worth every penny/dollar/yen etc.