Great topic, I'm on the road, but wanted to add one thing. First before we can look at our genre of what we do, such as glamour, fashion, editorial, commercial, advertising, etc., of photography and try and determine if we're beginners, apprentices, or skilled artisians, we have to know what "art" really is and understand things like shape, form, lines, chiaroscuro, style, etc.
How can we determine what is art if we dont' know what art is? or what to look for in art? Does taking Art 101 in college qualify one? Does having a BFA give a person the creds?
I like wine, prefer reds too, and I've drank a bunch of the grape juice over the years, some I liked, some I didn't, but I'm no expert connoisseur. Because I'm no connoisseur**does that mean I'm not allowed to drink any or say what I feel about it? Does it make me less qualified to judge if the wine is good or bad? There are some wines I like and those same ones my wife might not like. I've bought a lot of wine over time only cause the "packaging" looked interesting, I didn't take a copy of Wine Spectator
with me to decide what was a great or mediocre wine, though in the end they were all packaged in the shape of a bottle that looked very similar from brand to brand--they even all had corks in them.
My point is I have a 2, 3.5, 5.5, 20, and 21 year old kids and they all will give you different definitions of art. Or to put it in jimmy's analogy, how does one know what vomit on canvas is supposed to look like if we haven't studied or seen it before? Does the fact we had a late night, stumbling drunk night, where we barfed on the pavement qualify us to judge barf on another medium? (some how I now picture jimmyd getting plastered on Jack Daniels and forcing himself to barf on canvas and selling them on his blog).
Step 1, learn the fundamentals of Art.
Step 2 learn the fundamentals of your craft and study the history of it
Step 3 define your genre within your craft
Step 4 study Art
Step 5 Experience trying to create Art in your craft
Step 6 Hone your skills, practice, practice, practice
Step 7 Create Art
Step 8 Show people your Art then go back to Step 1, it's a never ending process, we never start developing as "artists" nor do we ever finish creating, we only refine our style to establish it.
Again, nice topic, lots to discuss on this topic, wishing you the best, rg sends!