There is no single route that guarantees success, though far too many educational institutions sell themselves as doing just that.
As for me, I started out as a fine-art photographer in college, studying the history of photography.
I have blogged about this here and here Photographers are not born fully formed.
They start out as unskilled wannabes, and they reach their goals through luck, education, networking, perseverance, etc.
The PEN cameras and the Media One software are something of outliers compared to their mainstream competitors, but they solve my problems more effectively and efficiently than any other technology out there.
I have blogged about this here and here This is the dirty little secret of professional photography.
Some explore political ideas, like my project on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Others are more celebrations of special places, like my “light study” on Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.
While these questions are important ones to ask any accomplished photographer you meet, they are also good questions to consider when thinking about a photographer whose work you are interested in, even if you might never meet them.
The answers to these questions will teach you a great deal about what it is that makes a master photographer just such a master.