>>3749887>Do any other pro photographers even post here?
This is how I know this is role playing. Fine art photographers do not, under any circumstances, label themselves as "pro photographers."
The long and short of it, OP, is that you need to get an MFA (master's of fine arts) in photography from a reputable school, preferably an art school like RISD or Parsons or Calarts. There are some very good state university programs (UCLA, University of Arizona, ASU, and one of the weird outliers, University of New Mexico) if you don't want to go into six figure debt for an arts degree, which I highly recommend avoiding.
You almost certainly will not make it as an "outsider" artist, try as you might, because the academic art world only recognizes their own. The ones who DO make it in from the outside are such prodigious talents that they leave no room for second guesses about their skill, intellect, or intentions. Magnum is full of these "outsider" photographers, but whether Magnum represents art photography or pure journalism (there's a difference!) is another discussion for another thread.
There's a profoundly fascistic anti-education viewpoint on this board that is misleading. People here will tell you that you don't need a degree, that you can learn it all from books, that it's a useless art, blah blah blah. But the truth is, google any one of your favorite fine art photographers from the last fifty years and odds are highly stacked in favor of them having gone to college for graphic design, painting, or photography and having at least a bachelor's, but most likely an MFA. Don't listen to the art school dropouts and think they represent any quantum of universal truth. They couldn't hack a formal regimen and external critique and were culled by the first or second semester. Take an art class at any university across the world and you'll likely encounter three or four of them. You'll recognize them as the undeservedly self-assured sullen louts in the back.