The gold standard of photography in my opinion is national geographic. They do a vast array of photographs from photojournalism through landscape, travel, wildlife etc etc.http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/photography/?source=NavPhoHome
As you can see, theres one major issue, a lack of computer generated images. Im not talking a bit of dodging and burning, or a contrast/levels thing, im talking a total lack of a shot, mixed with multiple other shots, massive manipulation and hey presto a creation. Something beautiful but in my opinion, its graphic art, not photography. What im seeing is people who take poor shots, cant use their camera well, but are excellent at computer art, creating stunning images with brilliant minds and creativity. But its graphic art. Its not photography. Im not against it, i love it, but should someone who doesnt know much about a camera, cant take a "photograph" be awarded top photographer of the year because they are poor with a camera but excellent in a computer.
The point im making is this. Can anyone else see a divergance from amateur photography where manipulation is massive and pro photography where manipulation is much less i.e Nat Geo. Why is this so? I have a theory. Pros take time, effort and knowledge for that top shot (a lot of pros on here). Many, not all, amateurs would like to be, cant/arn't so kid themselves they are great through manipulation. They avoid wildlife, they avoid sport because you cant manipulate. But can strut their stuff in the amateur ranks, kidding themselves they are good when in fact strip them of a computer and you get very poor/average stuff.
Im just curious as to what you guys think. I do photographs, im not the best, im not the worst, but wonder what you think, why the differance amateur to pro?