Monterosso, Italy. 2010. Photo credit: Jeffrey Chapman.
I feel a rant coming on. I can already hear people rolling their eyes on this one, but hear me out. This morning I made a quick tweet about a pet peeve of mine and got an interesting array of responses. Clearly 140 characters on Twitter is not the best place to nail my theses to the door and start my new religion, so I’ll do it here. And in the spirit of all great reformations I’m going in hard. No holds barred. I’m going to paint with broad brushes, make sweeping generalizations and – dammit, Jim – I might even throw a baby out with the bathwater. But that’s what reformations are like. They’re messy. And not everyone agrees. So I’m expecting some actual discussion here.
So. Here we go.
Could we please, please, for the love of Elliott Erwitt, stop calling photographs “snaps,” “pics,” “photos” or any of the other diminutive words we use to refer to our photographs? Please? If not for me, do it for the children.
I’m not being pedantic, and I’m not trying to make trouble, honest I’m not. But honestly, if I hear one more person refer to the hard work of one of my friends as a “pic” I’ll, well, I’ll snap.
Words matter. We put so much effort into our craft, hoping to create work that resonates, that’s more than the sum of its parts. We wrestle to discover our vision and then to express it with these limited tools. We create work that we’re proud of. We hope, some of us, to bring that work to the broader world in books, exhibits, and prints. We risk. We fail. We triumph. And some of us hope to bring that work to the marketplace and get prices that reflect those efforts, prices that allow us to keep doing this, prices that don’t completely demean our efforts. And we do all this against the flow of a market that’s increasingly apathetic and unwilling to pay even a fraction of what we hope. We struggle to educate friends and family about the value of our work, hoping to God they won’t ask us one more time to “just bring your camera along and make some snaps.”
And in all that we reference our own work as snaps or pics. Jeezo peezo, no wonder people don’t respect our work; we don’t respect it enough not to refer to it in cutesy, shorthanded, diminutive language that implies our work is no more than the matter of pressing a button. If you deeply love and respect your work and the work of others, you might still use these words, but I’m not sure they communicate that love and respect.
So what am I hoping for? Nothing, really. I know it’s an uphill battle. I’m phasing those words out of my vocabulary but I’m not asking for others to do the same. I’m just tossing the idea out there – a bone to be chewed. Would you pay as much for a snap as for a photograph? If you’d laboured hard to create an image you’re proud of and hung that print with care in a gallery, would you not feel a little like your work had been trivialized when someone walked by and said, “Nice snap”?
Words, despite their own devalued currency these days, matter. I’m no art snob and I’m not calling for people to elevate their work, or mine, more than it merits, because your art must stand or fall on its merits, despite your choice of words in describing it. But I am suggesting that as the creators of this work we care enough to do it to the best of our abilities, to wrestle our vision to the ground on days it proves elusive, and to speak about our work – and the work of others – with something more than familiarity and flippant shorthand. Your work is worth more than that.
I make it a point to always use photograph, for just the reasons you said. HOWEVER, just speaking for myself and no one else, I really don’t think it matters in the slightest. I have always said that you can call me anything except late for dinner. Even Shakespeare got in on the act with “…a rose by any other name…” Some of my work has been called “$#!77y”, but I like it and in the end that is all that matters. I do it because I love it and I don’t give a hoot in hell if the whole world has a different opinion. Photography is my passion, it’s what I do for ME. For money, I choose an easier path.
End of my humble opinion, you may now return to your discussion, already in progress…
I think you made the problem worse! Great articles, and love your books. Keep up the amazing work, David!
Tampa Wedding Photographer
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This line summed it up: “Words, despite their own devalued currency these days, matter”. Words do matter … they are how we communicate. Their impact is both obvious and subliminal.
Well said – you are spot on. I sometimes even have issues saying ‘photograph’ and at times prefer ‘image’, for the same reasons. But then, we’re not ‘imagers’, we’re ‘photographers’! See, your words are sticking to my thoughts!!
Your point is valid and valued. Well played, my friend, well played…
Thank you! I’ve been having an issue with these terms more and more lately. I especially detest the term “snaps”, with “pics” coming in second. “Photo” doesn’t bother me so much, as it is at least a diminutive of “photograph”. I tend to use the term “image” when referring to my work or the works of others. I do wholeheartedly agree that an awareness of the words used to describe photographic WORKS (as that’s what they are, even though it is a passion) must begin with “photograph”ers. If we do not take enough pride in our own work to merit adding another syllable or two, how can we really expect others to appreciate the efforts we put forth in order to create them?
Well David you convinced me. I have had a “Daily Pic” section of my blog since October of last year and since reading this entry I have to agree with what you have stated. No need for cute little demeaning descriptions of “photographs”. As of todayI have renamed my “Daily Pic” section to “Daily Photograph”.
Thanks for bringing to light the dumb things that so many of us photographers do and say. I take my work very serious so it’s about time I act like it is.
I totally agree, words are powerful. I try to at least refer to my work as “Images” and not just “pics” or “shots”. It’s more than just “button pushing” for sure. Thanks for posting this.
In college, I had photography teacher who would make a big loud “KABOOM!” sound when students would say they were going to “blow-up” a photograph. To him the correct term was “Enlarge”. To this day it still drives me crazy when someone says it. (and everyone says it)
Yes as experienced photographers going through a journey we might hate our work being called snaps or pics or whatever. But lets go to the beginning of the journey, when we first picked up our parents camera and started to enjoy the process of making an image and then strove to become better at it – our images may have been called snaps but so what, it started us along the path we are now on. My challenge to myself and us all is to create images that engage the viewers brain artistically to such an extent that it would not occur to them to call it a snap.
And while we’re on it, you guys across the pond sometimes use the term shutterbug which sounds silly and annoys the hell out of me yet there is a quality US photography publication called Shutterbug so its obviously not as silly a term as it sounds!
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I think the intent of the person is more important than the words they used. If some one is trying to give constructive critic then they should do so in a manner that is comfortable for the person receiving it. If they are trying to compliment then great shot, snap, pic image whatever is fine. They are trying to be nice after all. I think really if someone wanted to put down another persons work they could do so in much harsher and more direct ways. Every art has different ways to express things. Language is no different. To one person image may be prefect and another pic is the way to go. I prefer to spend less time on such things.
“snap” and “pic” have always been MAJOR pet peeves of mine that most people didn’t seem to understand — glad to know i’m not alone!
“Sticks & Stones Can Break My Bones, But Words can Never Hurt Me”
Although I do call my photographs Images most of the time I don’t get Raw if someone is enjoying my Images & turns to me & says nice shot or pic. To correct them would just be rude.
Anyone who has called my Images by Pic has stood there looking at the “Shot” for a couple of minuets & asked me how did I shoot this or where was it taken.
So they liked it & mean’t no disrespect.
I might call this Topic “Am I Being Old School”
Maybe Pic & shot are in right now, but if you look at their faces or the fact that they even bothered to wright that they liked your “pics”. Means that they enjoyed your Images David
So on this one I say No Harm No Foul.
Great blog David. You make sense as always… Keep them coming…
My thinking FWIW. Nowadays I’ll personally try to use image or photograph for at least two reasons. Firstly when refering to other people’s work it honours the effort they have put into it. Secondly, and I think this was at least part of David’s point, it sets a standard for myself when I consider my own work. As David says word usage both when spoken and when thinking about a concept has powerful defining influence.
The main draw back of this is limiting the number of nouns available to talk about our work. When you start using image 3 times in a couple of sentences in an email (or should I say ‘brief electronically transmitted philosophical and practical communication’? 🙂 ) as I did yesterday, it makes for less succinct language. Like the last sentence :).
On the other hand I am not going to demand of others that they follow this code, when a friend who is not a photographer called some photographs I sent him “awesome pics” the adjective was everything to me. Most people use these shortened terms without any base derogatory meaning and I have a pet peeve about the western societal pressure to be politically correct (an oxymoronic term if ever there was one!). But lets not go there 🙂
I understand (or at least think I understand) what you are getting at David. It would be like sketch artist referring to his pictures as “scribbles” or “doodles”. I had a quick peek at my own blog to see what I use. Taking a quick tally, I seem to use “pics” for when I am uploading them my computer. I suppose at that point of the game they’re all just pics and snaps. 🙂
In any event, I will make the pledge to use “picture”, “image”, “photograph” and their plural forms rather than “snap”, “pic” etc. The jury may be still out on photo though… 🙂
I wonder if filmmakers rankle at the words “flick” or “movie”.
I’m with you, my least favorite term for a photo is “capture”. If all you have to say about my photo is “nice capture” then just don’t.
I don’t mind “photo”. I use “image” for digital files, especially if it’s being edited. Photo or photograph otherwise. And I slip sometimes. But “snap”, “pic”, and “capture”… no, just no.
Ah yes. The dubious nature of text, or the spoken word for that matter. For my mom, with her camera it is a snap, to the artist a photograph is painted, with light and captured with a sensor (or on film). The intention and final intended impact I think needs to carry more weight than most mortals give though to. There are times when all I want is a snap, the 4 year old’s birthday cake, candles ablaze. I am not going to kill myself to make every documented image of my children a work of art. The new bike, outside in the glow of the golden hour, excitement in the air with the first ride, that’s when I will pull out all the stops to create a photograph. More than just an image to remember the moment, but one that will convey the energy, passion, and pre-skinned knee excitement. Because although I believe it’s usually possible to create great art at almost any time. There are times when you just can’t polish the turd (light, emotion, or what not) that is sitting in front of you. But it’s a moment you want some kind of record of. So you “snap” a quick “pic”.
It’s like someone looking at the lighting at a fancy restaurant and complementing with “nice lamp”, when referring to a Louis Poulsen “Artichoke”. Illuminating a room with a piece of art. Look it up. It ain’t no Ikea “lamp”.
Guilty as charged. I use those words like ‘snapping a few photos’ in my blog and now I will make a concentrated effort to stop. You are totally totally right.
May I suggest… How about instead of “rant” we call these posts “A different point of view.” I think that would be more respectful of people who don’t agree with you. “Rant” sounds a little sanctimonious, to my ear. But, hey, it’s your blog…
I thought i was the only mad one to have thoughts like these, thanks for coming out and saying it! Let the battle begin!
Interesting commentary David. I completely agree with you in relation to the terms pic or snap. I find them completely derogatory. I’m ok with photo or photograph but my preference, and how I refer to my own work is image. I feel image better represents all the hard work that has gone into an er.. image, from capture to post-processing. Of course this justification is based on nothing more then my own head.
I know its been said before but can I just say it again:
Aye Aye Captain!
I concur, though to be honest I dont think this is as much of a problem here in Australia. Personally I have never heard anyone refer to a photograph as a ‘snap’. And i have never heard any image referred to as a ‘pic’ outside of facebook. Perhaps our language is just less… “developed’ *cough* 😉
Photography – writing with light.
Photograph – the product of writing with light.
Image1 – An optically formed reproduction of an object formed by a lens.
Image2 – A mental picture of something not real or present.
Image3 – An exact copy of data in a computer file transferred to another medium.
OK, enough with the formal definitions. Words reflect the culture that uses them. With informality becoming the norm in our culture today, slang unfortunately comes along with it.
Each of us, whether serious photographers or not, can choose the words that best express our thoughts. The photograph, picture, image, pic, snap, whatever…should stand on its own. Help the viewer ‘see’ your visual story by creating a strong ‘record’ of what you visualized (real or not) and ‘it’ (you choose) will be, to you, what it is regardless of what others call it.
In any case, great discussion, food for thought, and good to learn others’ perspectives. Keep shooting, strike that, visualizing and creating! 🙂
Great points I am in agreement ironically have you visited Elliott Erwitt’s landing page http://www.elliotterwitt.com/lang/index.html in the upper right corner is “for like-like snaps” maybe his webmaster could benefit from reviewing this blog post.
In addition to creating images for clients I spend a fair amount of time teaching new dSLR owners how to use their equipment. They are looking for better ways to take pics, photos and improve their snaps. They want to know which automatic mode, the green box or the portrait, will work best for the wedding they are going to “shoot” or how should they “shoot” the neighbor’s senior pics?
They believe this is the jargon of a professional photographer. And in far too many cases they are right. Don’t misinterpret me here, these are all good people who have a love for photography. If they stick with it and continue to learn they may become exceptional at the craft.
I think using jargon cheapens what we as professionals are capable of delivering to our clients. I refuse to shoot people and give them a bunch of pics on a CD that so can have blow-ups made at the drugstore photo counter.
No problem! I call them “images.”
I do of course, take photo’s of family get togethers and have no problem making little 4″x6″ snapshots, but I definitely consider my serious work “images.”
After all, if we and we expect others to take our work seriously, we must show it the proper respect in our language and attitude.
Some may say that’s pedantic, but that’s only true if we are pedantic in fact, rather than just respectful!
You have a very interesting and insightful mind Mr. DuChemin, and I for one, respect it.
I have read some of the discussion and I can appreciate both sides of the issue. David is justified in his belief that photographs are undervalued by the general public. It is right to educate people on the difference between quick snaps and well thought out and planned photographs. This is a huge issue with the public’s perception of photography. It is an easy and available tool, the camera, to such a vast range of people. And this lead to the belief that making images, or good images, is easy. We know that making really good images takes practise and hard work, yet complicating this is the vast majority of the public who don’t fully realize what a good photo really is and the huge vareity of really crappy images that are available on line. The craft of photography is so available to everyone and there is a huge supply of mediocre images, that this complicates the true essence of good images.
The following quote is one of the most important ones to me as a photographer:
” Photography is the easiest medium to become comptetent in, but the most difficult medium to have a distinctive vision in. If you can create something different or unique separating your work from others then you have done something really special.”
I am not sure who said this, but this is the essence of this argument. How we as photographers can make really good images with a distinctive vision, amongst all the mediocre snapshots that are being created by this readily accessible media.
Therefore, David is just making this point and trying to defend good photography from mediocre photography. What is wrong with that.
Good point, well made. A vocabulary shorthand I find myself lapsing into at times and chastise myself for doing it.
Its a curious part of the photographic trade/art that we have diminutive terms for “our work” when no other “artistic medium” has such abbreviations (do you like his paint?). This could be a problem that is a result of the universality of the medium and a whole raft of other things that have resulted in the elevation of other mediums from the artisan to the artistic.
Took me a second to sit down and think about this.
I don’t like my work being called by those names or referred to as snaps… most of my shots I spent freezing nights out on the plateau wondering what the heck I was doing there – I pay, and I pay well for my shots (exchanging culture, pre-frostbite, spending a significant amount of time with my subjects, heck… learning a different language.) I don’t like it because it has a the connotation of something that I could probably buy at a grocery store check out line.
But consider this. I live in a culture where I get called really REALLY derogatory things every day… SERIOUSLY… every day. Things that, when translated, would make people cringe. Are they trying to be an ass? Probably not as much as I think they are – culture is an amazing, stingy, deep thing.
For my sanity I had to fry that part of the “culture” up and eat it or else I would only drive myself insane. The people aren’t mean, they are ignorant – in the truest sense of the word ignorant; meaning “They don’t know it’s rude.”
I find some strong parallels here. I find that falling on that sword ACTUALLY …only…hurts…me. I could yell at one person, tell them it’s incredibly rude, tell them to piss off – but I didn’t change anything other than probably inadvertently and falsely proving their point, plus I don’t feel any better about myself for doing so. That being said, why is this such a necessary sword to fall on?
Me calling someone else’s work a “snap”, though annoying as it is (I’d never do that, thank God – it’s truly annoying), doesn’t diminish from their work, does it? Your work defines itself – better yet, a photographer should have enough self-confidence to LET their work stand for themselves, the same way the ignorant minority living in my city don’t define who I am. Sure, people hardly ever see the blood, sweet, and tears that go into creating what we do – but what profession actually receives all the glory that is due?! Is that why we do what we do?
I’ve read your entire entry fully and I understand your point and don’t blame you for writing it – but I have to ask the question: Why does someone calling my work by a “cutesy” name annoy me? The bottom line for me – Im a prideful bastard. The harmless name that some passer-by called my work does NOTHING to my work and EVERYTHING to my pride.
We always have to be careful about what we complain about, don’t we? Thanks for sharing that David!
Rant on my friend rant on. the way we describe our work labels its value to many even other photographers and clients. I’m with you!
Hi, Commenting for the first time, I do agree to that in totality. I feel that its our responsibility as a community of same ideas, thoughts and professions (not all) that we elevate ourselves from mere snap-shooters to photographers in our heart and feelings to be reflected in out actions and words. Respect is something like freedom which needs to be claimed if not available by others wisdom or point of view. But for that we need to believe in what we are are doing and why, if we are creating art and doing it with serious efforts then we should be sure of that to make others feel and understand the same.
Thanks for sharing,
For those of you tending towards the role of “Language Pedant”, an interesting read by England’s highly respected linguist Stephen Fry can be found here;
Slightly OT and not responding to the post as such, merely pointing out that language is a dynamic, fluid art form too that – some would argue – should be no more restricted with “rules” than our chosen art form, photography.
Dave… Do you want your photographic works and words promoted on Twitter, Facebook, and the like? How do you think people who use Twitter to search a topic?
They typically don’t use formal language when doing a search, because no formal language is ever really used on Twitter. They use words like “pic”, “photo”, “snaps”, and they have seen and know what words like “tog”, “photog”, and so on reference.
These are Twitter nick names and, unfortunately, just like any other nick name WE do not get to pick our own. Others do. Those you reference have been chosen for photographers and their photographic work and craft.
In reality, no matter how much you may think the use of these are a form of disrespect, the matter of respect never really crosses the searcher’s mind. They are just looking for pics, photos, and books to buy and togs and photogs to take their picture.
I do not take “Pics” or “Snaps”. I only take photographs.
Photograph: An image recorded with thought to composition and aesthetics.
I like to believe that the images I aspire to create and the moments I seek to capture are worthy of being called photographs. The word implies so much more than a shortened moniker ever could.
I do take snaps, and even the odd set of ‘pix’ (I do have kids after all). However as my skill evolves and my passion is translated through the lens, I know that the only single word I want attached to my image is photograph. In one word the door to a thousand is opened.
Actually, I find that I refer to multiples simply as “the work”, while individual photographs I refer to as “pieces”. Of course, I come from an illustration/painting background and most of my photographs wind up as elements in my paintings.
Does all of this apply to twitter as well? I mean, come on…we only get 140 characters. So, “Hey, love your photos, dude” becomes “My good fellow, I find myself profoundly fond of your recent photographic endeavors”. Just sayin’ BWAHAHAHAHA!
I like your initial point, David, and I personally avoid ‘pics’ and ‘snaps’. Sadly though I’m not sure that there’s a great universal term that we can adopt in their place. ‘Photograph’, while clear, is cumbersome. ‘Image’ is okay, but ‘images’ is also three syllables. Clinging to those in conversation can start to sound pretentious, to my own eyes at least.
In response to Markus, I regularly and intentionally use the words “shoot” or “shot”. In sports (eg basketball), you don’t score unless you shoot. In photography, there’s a similar amount of dependence on people and circumstance that go into ‘scoring’. I like the constant reminder that those words give me.
@Kathleen, I hate ‘veggies’ too. And I can’t stand ‘bevvies’ or ‘appies’ either.
I couldn’t agree more. Language is important, it not only defines who we are but what we do. I’d also like to elaborate on what Marcus said, this has been a pet peeve of mine from the beginning. I’ve always been annoyed by the hunting references in photography. No one dies when I “take a shot”. I’m not “shooting” anything, nor am I “taking” or “capturing” anything. I much prefer spending my time making images.
I also agree with Per. This is something else that has always annoyed me(am I easily annoyed??). I constantly hear people say; “This camera takes great pictures”. I’m looking at a camera sitting on a shelf that hasn’t made a single photograph all day. Obviously this camera is useless. I also have a hammer sitting in a tool box that hasn’t built a single house today. Apparently I need new tools.
I see your point, and am going to strive to use “photographs” instead of pics.
But there are some pretty legitimate uses of “Photo”: Lumen Dei Photo Tour, Photo District News, B&H Photo…
Words are tools. Sloppy use will only strip the threads. Your point is well taken.
I personnaly think that if a “picture” is very good and worthy of an effort that follows your vision, then it should be called a “photograph”, if it is just a “snap” let it be called like it. And that’s my view, thank you my friends! David, please come and give a workshop in Montreal? 😉
A rose by any other name is still a rose. The work, our best work we put out there, can stand on it’s own, regardless of the title people ascribe to the final product.
With that said, I like the way Matt Brandon describes his work. He normally says he “makes photographs” or “makes images”. While this may sound out of the contextual norm I feel his description best reflects what I try to achieve in my art. There is something elegant in his use of that verb that makes me smile.
Thanks for putting it out there David. -E
If someone is actually talking about my work and the word sh*t isn’t used, I’m happy.
We don’t have any trouble with that down here in the South. We’re just ‘takin’ pitchers’!
Words have a funny way of meaning different things to different people (despite Webster’s best efforts). David is using words but is talking about attitudes. Let me repeat that… David is using words but is talking about attitudes. I think. (I had wine instead of chocolate. Sorry. OK, not really. I had chocolate too!)
PS – In this post, I’m using “talking” as a conversational surrogate for “communicating”. David may be talking (to himself) but via this blog we can’t hear him. My bad. Sorry. Maybe.
David, I think what you are getting at is really about our state of mind. Our language is our manifestation of our state of mind and many people have many crutches they use subconsciously like self-deprecation. Trivializing your own work is, I think, a subset of self-deprecation.
We have the power to choose our state of mind and choosing language to manifest that state is a good first step. It is very easy (for me at least) to fall into self-sabotaging thought patterns. Using constructive thoughts/language are just as easy but they need to be practiced. I think having more self-respect and respect of our peers is as good a place as any to start.
I generally refer to “making photographs” as opposed to taking photographs, pics, snaps, etc. It seems more appropriate for the effort I put into the process of creating a good photograph.
Now, if I could just convince everybody that it’s me making nice photographs when I hear “your camera takes nice pictures”
LOL! Love this post David, and yes, I ate my chocolate before reading!
I agree with you on this, as I find that I make a conscious effort not to call photographs anything less that what they are….photographs!
I do tend to use the word “images” when referring to them as files, but I’m with you all the way here.
Great post, I think you should do a “My non-pedantic rants” eBook one of these days… It would be a fantastic read! 😉
Amen brother David!! My photographs are not pics, they are well thought out images…at least most times!
Amen to that! 🙂
A good discussion, to be sure. I like that we can have discussions like this, and even those that are disagreeing with the point David made are being civil, I think. Even Bruce, he made what I think is a valid argument. I see both sides of the point, and I understand why this matters; there is such an oversaturation of photos and images in our lives from every level of ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ that it seems we need something to help differentiate those of us that put consideration and time into our work. And I know that language is important to David, having read (and agreed with) his take on those terms, Amateur and Professional. But to me, that’s just a personal preference, and it can be dangerous (or silly) to try to take such a preference and graft it onto the Greater Community. Words have purpose, power and meaning. But like photography, language is dynamic, adaptive and VERY subjective. It’s organic. The power and meaning that Words hold really only extends to the individual community in which they hold that power: whether it be a community that speaks English, or a Flickr sub-community. I know a group of people to which the term ‘Ridic-Pic’ is the height of praise. Knowing them, hearing one of them say that about your photograph, while somewhat less that eloquent, you know it’s meant as a complement in the fullest sense.
It’s telling that at the heart of the argument is the price that our work fetches. The industry is in a strange place. Look at the back cover of the most recent ‘Layers’ magazine (came in my mail today, so it’s fresh in my mind). “501 Photos/day for $9.99/month…I want a site that gives me thousands of photos for less than $10 bucks.” An ad for another micro-stock site. In an industry magazine. Despite how we may try to demonstrate the value of our work in this sea of unoriginality and fast dollars, it seems like the tide is against us. The whole artform is being forced into a set of expectations that demand lower cost and quicker turnaround, a byproduct of the general expectations of technology perhaps? Whatever the cause, I think David’s passion about this issue comes out of this flux, and I respect that. And I think that if he uses these terms to refer to his own work, it will continue to be one of the marketing factors that puts him higher up in the tier than those that don’t care about such language, as long as the imagery matches the formality (which in his case does). In contrast, if you saw the most amazing image you had ever seen and it was referred to in a caption or tweet as a ‘pic’ would it be diminished to you? To me, I don’t think it would.
Interesting post and even more interesting discussion. I think it proves how powerful language is at evoking emotional responses – sometimes in unexpected ways. Personally, I use all of those terms: snaps, pics, photographs, photos, depending on how I took the picture.
The one word I almost never use, is image. The word image makes me think of digital imaging, manipulation in photoshop, digital art, MRI’s, CT scans, etc. I’m not saying it means any of those things. I’m saying that’s what it conjurs up in my head – my purely emotional response to the word. And yet, in today’s world of digital photography, perhaps image is the most correct word to use.
And as a side note, why must people refer to Vancouver as Van?? All I can think of is Chris Farley. Living in Van down by the river…
Sean – LOL. Now that’s just crazy talk! 🙂
Bruce – I’m pretty sure in the end we’re arguing for similar ends, but from different perspectives. In the end I don’t really particularly care what language someone uses, despite my protestations otherwise – what I care about is the language I use, and the way we regard our work. I choose not to call the work into which I pour myself as trivial and so try not to speak of it in these terms. When others call one of my photographs – or yours – a “snap” I infer from that a lack of thoughtfulness. Perhaps that inference is wrong. So yes, lots of assumptions come into play the moment we use words. You’ve not put me off at all, in fact I’m grateful for the push back. I trust you see that my little diatribe wasn’t intended to be snobbish or authoritative – it’s a narrow personal perspective based on personal experience. All I want to do, again, is encourage mindfulness and respect for an art which I love. So, perhaps the best I can do is say that i myself feel uncomfortable using those shorthand words for my work and the work of others. Clearly I am not the only one that feels this way. But snobbish, I hope not. I’d defend the absolute beginner’s use of the word “photograph” over the word “snap” as eagerly as the seasoned professional’s.
Fair point – I think photog should be banned too.
Isn’t this a good platform to launch into a rant on pronunciation too? I’m tired of people mispronouncing Nikon and bokeh. They are both Japanese words, and are mispronounced by nearly every English speaker I hear use them. But so is kimono, karate, Tokyo actually…hmm 🙂
The ‘Ni’ in Nikon is pronounced as the ‘Nigh’ in night, and the ‘bo’ in bokeh is pronounced ‘bo’ as in box, and with the ‘keh’ as in kettle.
That feels better. Well, a little better.
I need to point out that I also hate the word “photoshopped” (it’s not a verb) and “Photo Shop” (it’s not a place). As soon as a photographer says that my first instinct is that they are a quack. I know it’s unfair but my subconscious is disobedient. I agree with you on the term photographs to describe what we make. I don’t mind images/pictures but I tend to avoid pics/snaps as much as I can. Now I don’t mind togs as we use short cuts and nicknames for a person but not so much for their work. I wouldn’t say a surgeon is “poking” people instead of “making an incision,” but I might call him “Doc.” I guess it comes down to how we choose to speak but I see your point.
Thanks for posting this “rant”. I agree with you for the most part. Reading this helped me consider using different language, when referring to my work, as well as others. It is so easy to add ‘new catch terms and phrases’ into ones vocabulary, without realizing how you may be possibly minimalizing the subject, person, or issue.
I tend to think of “taking a snapshot” and “making a photograph” as two entirely different pursuits.
The first being no different to what anyone else with a cellphone or point-and-shoot would be doing. The second being actual craft, with skill and thought involved; possibly still be using a cellphone or P&S.
But before I really got into photography, I didn’t know there was a difference.
Personally, I refer to mine as “images”. To me, each image is an organic entity as it potentially has the power to instill, or perhaps incite emotion. Viewing an image can make you as happy as petting a puppy does if you feel a conmnection to the image. Another image may give you a feeling of contemplation or perhaps empathy with the main subject or some part of the image. I just cannot see my images as merely the record of something for a fraction of a second.
David, I specifically used the ‘big words’ to reinforce the point that language divides as much as it unites. It comes down to perception… and perception is reality often. I’m simply saying that those who try to control what language is ‘serious’ or ‘non-trivial’ are projecting too much of their own presumptions about that which is far more subjective than objective.
It still seem contradictory for to say you want a ‘light-hearted discussion’ but then refer to a contrarian perspective as embodying ” flippant and trivializing language”. There is nothing neutral or light-hearted about saying people are trivializing language for saying ‘pic’ or ‘photos’.
That’s all I am saying.
My directness seems to have put you off. But in a different sense you have mildly put me off (in this specific regard) by typifying or mischaracterizing those who use photo-slang.
That being said, I think you take amazing photos and you write very well in your books.
I tend to categorize my images in intentional ways. Things I shot spur-of-the-moment with the Blackberry are tagged “cellpic.” Family photos scanned and manipulated may find themselves in the “snapshot” category, particularly when the subject is caught unawares or is posing on command. Staged / scripted / “artfully” composed scenes tag as “photo” or/and “photograph” for the sake of being thorough. I do read “snap” and “pic” as diminutions. Out of the contexts I described, I’m not offended unless it’s cute. 😉
@Markus – interesting perspective I’d never considered. Going to have to let that one rattle around a while. Makes me wonder when and why this language got adopted into our lexicon.
@Wilson. Missing my point I think. In your example you have one person elevating themself by title above others. What I am arguing for is a respect for the art form, across the board. I’m simply saying that we might want to consider how others perceive our work if we continue to reference it in diminutive terms. I’m not asking for agreement on this, even, just that it’s something we might consider. The word “photograph” doesn’t make the work any more important, and I’m not saying one person’s work is photography while anothers is not. Nor would I ever correct someone for calling my work what they like. I’m talking about our own choices in how we reference our work. And frankly, I’d defend your own choice, even if it was different than mine. This is a conversation about value and respect and how we communicate that with words. We don’t all communicate the same, I get that. I still think that being more mindful about how we talk about our work might spill over into how we see – and how others see – that work.
PS – Totally agree with your conclusion on the matter – we do need to spend more time creating great photographs and less time yakking about it. Our work will rise or fall on its own merits. Thanks for contributing to the conversation and speaking your mind.
@ Terry, I respectfully defend my right to use “Jeezo Peezo” without shame or apology and will happily give up a couple points on professionalism (nowhere has this blog ever claimed professionalism) in order to use those words with impunity. Also, they make me laugh and are a quiet nod to my friend Ami Vitale who used them unashamedly on a trip last fall. If you don’t like them you may silently replace them with other words more to your liking by scratching them out on your display with a Sharpie and writing in your desired substitute instead. 🙂
With respect, I disagree. This reminds me of one of my old university profs. A student was asking a question and referred to her by name at which point she interjected and said something along the lines of “please refer to me as Dr.xxxx, I’ve worked very hard to earn this title”. This did not go over well with anyone in the class. In the end she had to be replaced due to too much “stress”. The point is I think we should spend less time thinking about how great we, or our achievements, are and more time just creating better photographs. I usually refer to my own work as pictures or photos but usually use photograph to refer to other people’s work. If people are disrespectful or dismissive about others’ work, whether due to ignorance or jealousy/insecurity, that will come across whether they say “photograph” or not.
Bruce – I’m a little surprised at the hard language you’re using. Seems a little much for what is essentially a discussion aimed at creating conversations and honouring artists and their work. Perhaps we’ve got different definitions of the word “snob” but my understanding is snobbery entails making distinctions between what is and is not photography or art. I’m not doing that. I’m saying all photographers should respect their own work, and the work of others, and that for some of us that might mean a change in the way we speak about that art. How is that intolerant or pomous? Is it pompous to believe what we do is good, that it matters? I’m not suggesting we adopt this change of language as a code of practice we all sign.
All I’m doing is sharing my own perspective and for some that perspective seems to resonate. You’re free to call your work, and my work for that matter, by any name you like. I was just suggesting we might begin to speak in less trivial terms about the work we spent so much time and affection on.
I think you’ve taken what is really a fairly light-hearted conversation with dubiously important implications and reacted a little too harshly. Breathe, man. Call your work what you like, I was just hoping to generate a discussion. Your comments come in with a tone that discourages me, if not others, from wanting to have a friendly conversation about it.
Nevertheless, I wanted discussion, and you participated, so thank you for that. I remain convinced that it is not the answers that matter but that we are bold enough to ask the questions and think about these things.
I still think words matter and prefer not to reference my work or others with flippant and trivializing language.
We know the difficulty in creating, or expressing our vision. As an artist my work deserves the thoughtfullness of calling it by it’s true title. Let us set a standard that reflects our our love and efforts. We should elevate, and pay respect, to this wonderful endeavour we call photography.
I could not disagree with you more perhaps.
Its strikes me as being ironic that you say that you aren’t being pedantic… but I have to say that that is exactly what this ‘rant’ strikes me as embodying.
Fixating on the ‘zeitgeist’ words used by photographers (of all ages and proclivities) that tweak you strikes me as contrary to the spirit of the artist and fluidity of language. Using formal language doesn’t make the photography industry a more serious bastion of all things great and noble artistically.
I remain unconvinced by what you say.
Using a particular ‘semantic field’ does not make one a more serious force to be reckoned with artistically or professionally from my perspective. I would suggest that what is perhaps more important is context-appropriate language/lexical use.
Plus, to be frank, this particular conversation usually ends up implying (by default) some intimated solipsist/self-referential ‘rule’ as to what is more ‘professional sounding’.
I also believe that words have meaning… that they have power… and a pronounced capacity for connecting people who were previously unconnected. But I refuse to be a ‘semantic nazi’ (tongue-in-cheek humour a la Seinfeld) because people choose to abbreviate words or have some some fun phonetically ‘playing’ with language.
One other thing: you seem to hint at the increasingly heightened challenges that all photographers wanting to make money face from their craft. I simply remain unconvinced that evoking an intimated ‘semantic snobbery’ helps matters at all. It strikes me as focusing (pun intended) on the wrong stuff.
My sister asks why I use so much profanity amongst friends. I simply respond that I have a fairly robust vocabulary but am often frustrated but the inability to use it conversationally. Many people seem to build their ‘vocab’ from TV rather than a broader selection of input sources. Rather than let this unnecessarily restrict my ability to connect with people I just ‘go with it’ and make the most of the situation. I make a choice not to try to control people unless they are ‘stealing’ something from me.
This discussion does hint at intolerance from where I stand (or sit, to be exact). David, why would you go to lengths to often deconstruct much of the pompousness of the photography INDUSTRY only to end up saying something that functionally defends the snobbery that most newcomers loathe and despise?
Ooh, Ocean Traveler. Fish don’t fry in the kitchen; beans don’t burn on the grill. Took a whole lotta tryin’ Just to get up that hill. Now we’re up in the big leagues, gettin’ our turn at bat. As long as we live, it’s you and me baby. There ain’t nothing wrong with that.
From the original post: “we don’t respect it enough not to refer to it in cutesy, shorthanded, diminutive language that implies our work is no more than the matter of pressing a button”
David, this one point is and yet is not at the apex of the problem. If communicating through proper usage of the words that we choose to describe a particular subject, then I suggest the only way back to ‘Old English’ is to turn off Twitter and Facebook; eliminate the flickr accounts that we have so that we do have to ‘feel bad’ about not elaborating on a potential problem with regards to one of my photographs; and most importantly, put your cell phone down and for crying out loud stop texting!
Do u think it can hpn? LOL ;}
It’s a much deeper issue than photography or art. The importance of our WORD, not the words that we choose to use, but the integrity of what we say is the deeper issue. How often do any of you brush off missing an appointment due to the busyness of your schedule and give a rushed, “Sorry I’m late”, in response? Are you really sorry? You’re the only one that knows, and you’re the only one that can change…if you really want to.
The world culture is moving forward too fast for that to be an easy task. You can choose to stay on the express train towards advancement, or you can choose to follow what many folks preach about with regard to the art of photography: slow down and see what you are looking at.
I wonder how long Ansel Adams would have spent from beginning to end on ‘Moonrise Over Hernandez’ if he had a digital camera and post-processed instead of developed. I’m wagering that he would have spent just about the same amount of time…and the story that is told through that photographic work of art would still be just as strong. This because Ansel Adams imposed the integrity of his being into his art so that his art could speak to the rest of us.
Thank you, David, for the willingness that you display to be passionate, not only with your work and art, but with your life as well. This passion comes through in all of your work that is revealed to the public…and dare I say your integrity, even though I don’t know you personally. The integrity of our words and actions is the key.
So many great responses. I’ll be brief.
I try to give others work the respect it deserves and refer to their work as images, photographs or photos depending on the situation.
Someone is a photographer sometimes abbreviated to photog never Tog as I loathe that term.
Thanks for the great blog entry. You’ve expressed exactly what I feel and have been frustrated by at times.
Agree. The word image for me means something quite different than pic or snap. It means that I have put time and effort into it and value the result. Not so with a pic or snap.
I think that referring to a photograph as a pic or snap or photo is like referring to a piece of art as a knick knack or decoration. Defined and valued by its label…
How about people who make comments like, “If I had a camera like yours I’d get good shots too…”
A valid point not to use diminuitives for what is a product of intense experience, preparation and thought. And while cleaning up the word space – yes, words do matter! – throw out the verb ‘shoot’ along with it. Everytime it give me a jolt when I here the term shooting. At least I do know what a shooting and its results are, and I won’t use this term for my occupation. It’s making a commonplace out of an violent, awful thing, banalising it beyond recognition. And while this meets maybe the NRA’s agenda, it does disrespect to all victims of real shootings.
Excellent point David! Substitute the punch line of the “nice pots and pans” joke with “great grub”.
My mind is still going on this… I just got done reading this morning a chapter on culture in “WTF”. Welcome to ours! The words you complain about have been embraced by it, the culture, and fully supported by the market as well. You have your *PowerShot* cameras and your *Coolpix* cameras, and if you look hard enough you’d probably find something that included *snap* as part of the registered trademark. Ironically, this is the exact equipment generally responsible for the true snaps. EOS turns out to stand for “Electro-Optical System” sounds more serious, as it should. Anyway, if you knew me, you’d know it takes quite an effort for me to let little things go, but this sound like one of them that you should. I think a photography renaissance is coming, and when it does, it will bring you satisfaction. I hope to be there too, on your side of the fence…
David, You’re just so right. It’s already hard to get the (financial) reputation that so many hard working photographers deserve, so we should stop reducing our works value ourselves. And it’s even more true: words can harm so much, as they often take effect unconciously – and lasting.
I agree with you, David. Based on your point of view, you are absolutely right. I wouldn’t call any of your work anything other then a “photograph”.
I think all these words had emerged with the advent of digital photography and the Internet. We have pictures, pics, pix, pixels… They sound cheap, because the mainstream “photography” is. Who doesn’t own a digital camera or a camera phone. I laugh inside looking at people pulling out their pocket gear, extending their arms in front of you and *snapping* photos. What about the ugly point-and-shoot snap photography? Even some camera phones have now LED lights built in to assist it taking *snaps* in darker environments. There are those that get creative with their iPhones as they are capable of producing good images, but what would you call the images created be people shooting from where they stand with their arms extended in front of their face? Photographs? Based on what you’re saying, in reverse, it would also be an insult to the real craft of photography. Wouldn’t it?
Let’s face it – people’s hard drives, flash cards, online albums, and social networks accounts are full of nothing more then some pix. There is a place for these terms, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.
If a person can look at your gallery work and tell you “nice snap”, they probably just trying to be “cool” in their own ignorance. I’d say you are entitles to ignore them in turn, or tell them that it look a bit more work then just a *snap*. Maybe they would get the message, if not, they will just move on, along with their ignorance.
Without looking it up, I’m just going to take a wild guess on the source of these words. Internet names – a limited commodity. To get a meaningful .COM domain name, you either have to shell out a bunch of money to a squatter, or some up with your own, new-age cool version of it. Shorter the better, in this case, so… pix, anyone?
Good post, David. I agree to a point that we need to be careful in our use of language for the reasons you point out.
I don’t agree that it is ALWAYS wrong to refer to my own (or other’s) work with terms like pix, photos, etc. MOST of what I do with my camera deserves to be described in such terms.
I might snap 5-10 shots of a scene to help me setup for the “real” photograph I’m working to produce. In my mind, an image does not become a photograph until I have poured my soul into it, or, on relatively rare occasions, just happened to capture a special moment.
There are other times when I’m just playing around with my camera or using it to capture a moment, such as at a family gathering, kids playing in the park, or to improve my work. These photographs are not, and are not intended to be treated in the same manner as one of my ‘photographs.’ To refer to these images using any of the current popular terms does not bother me in the slightest.
Your point, however, is well taken and I will make a more conscious effort to at least consider whether the work I am referencing with my words are aligned with the real thoughts I’m attempting to transmit to others.
ummm… I meant to say “it HAS been a pet peeve of mind for a long time”.
David I completely agree! It is a pet peeve of mine for a long time. Great article/rant!
I don”t care what term someone uses to refer to my photographs if they are describing my images as I am more interested in the feedback than the words used. I also ignore terms like “blowup” if they are ordering prints, which just happened about a month ago. In general, people use terms with which they are familiar. We can change our own language usage but don’t look down on others for their choice of words. Which would you rather hear about your photograph? “That’s a great pic, I want it for my living room!” or “That photograph is pure tripe. How did it ever get hung on a wall!”.
As a guilty person, but learning, I will do better. I promise. Also, I think this comes at an interesting time, personally.
Presently, I’m reading Susan Sontag’s On Photography book and your VisionMongers book (I can never read just one book at a time). Between questions about my own vision, what I value (including how much do I value photography), and what are my intentions for this passion anyway? There is a lot to think about. Am I taking or giving? Am I an active participant in life or do I passivily record life? Do my words reflect a belief that this is important (e.g., it’s a photograph) or that I’m somehow ashamed (e.g., snap)? It’s all very interesting — and, so is the timing…
And one if my big peeves when working with writers is being called “my snapper”. Sorry, do I call you a scribbler? Or a blunt?
Most times they mean nothing by it, it’s just a big of industry slang but boy can it get my goat..
You had me at “words matter.”
Lol, i’m with you on this David, honestly I am, but for the sake of my own sanity, outside of ‘photographs’ and ‘images’ do you have any other suggestions?
The reason I ask is i’ve also been thinking about this same thing a fair bit recently, and i’m struggling! Since I took up blogging i’m obviously writing a lot more and i’m getting conscious of repetition and the danger of sounding like a sports commentator that can’t open his mouth without ‘vuvuzela’ coming out 27 times in every sentence!
I don’t like the idea of saying ‘taking a photograph/photo’ because that sounds like I just picked something off the shelf at my local pound store, and you can only say ‘create an image’ so many times before the urge to to bounce your head off the keyboard becomes too strong to resist.
Are there any self-help groups out there, or is it best to jsut carry on and stick some more foam on the desk?
Great post calling attention to the intention behind the words we use. In my mind, a “snapshot” is a different thing than a “photograph”. I make both. For my own purposes, the snapshot is made to remember something, and not necessarily given the attention I would give to a “photograph”. I usually make snapshots on my Blackberry (because I don’t have an iPhone), but if I have my camera with me, I will use it. Sometimes they are made under conditions that I know will not produce a photograph I like, but I want something to document having been there, done that, or seen something. I like to think of photographs as images that I have composed and made with intention and attention.
Oh yeah, and Jeffrey, I can think of no reason in the world why the word “tog” exists and using that moniker for a photographer makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
Interesting post and discussion here… a bunch of visual artists/craftspeople discussing the shortfalls and pitfalls of language… Isn’t that why we use cameras to tell stories?
I completely agree! At Hallmark Institute of Photography they encouraged us to refer to our work as portraits, or images, defiantly not pics or snaps. What you call your work sets the tone for how other people view it. Really quick, I just want to let you know that I appreciate your posts. They always challenge me to grow and push my creativity, so thank you.
Wanna hear something horrible? Actually, wanna read something horrible?
I somehow ended up refering yo my photographs as “files” like they were a 3rd quarter P&L spreadsheet. Caught myself saying that to a group of photographers and realized my error and I’m not saying that any longer.
I take issue with “togs”. I know it’s hard to fit “photographers” in a twitter but “togs” sounds stupid. Can’t stand it. But, you know, it’s not the end of the world. 🙂
Rant away but if professionalism is where you are going with this, then please refrain from using “words” like “jeezo peezo” . . .
In my experience, in every school of spiritual and philosophical thought that exists, the understanding of how important words are is abundantly clear – way beyond what we would usually think. The message is : Your words reflect your thoughts which produce your life. Changing your words changes your thoughts which changes your life. Always. In this case there are other words to use – “image” is one – that far better reflect what we try to achieve with our efforts. A snap/pic is what it implies : a quick, fairly irrelevant record of a moment. A photograph or an image is more a work of thought, of art, of deliberation. So I agree with you, and not only in photography. In all of life, words and how we use them hugely influence our successes or failures. If you want to take your work and yourself seriously, use serious words.
I’ll see your “snap/pic” and raise you a “blowup”… as in: “can you just make a nice blowup of that pic?” Always abhorred that word when referring to enlarging a photograph.
Let me add to or modify my last comment: I have been wrestling with the distinction between photojournalists and photographers for a while now. I can’t seem to nail down a great definition which articulates the sameness, and the differences, between the two fields. I feel, perhaps implicitly, there is a great difference between the two.
At the risk of offending everyone on both sides of the aisle, would it be improper to say photographers DO view the photograph as the end, the thing that they work for? And photojournalists don’t make photographs for the photograph’s sake?
Just thinking out loud and trying to clarify my own thoughts on this…
I would even argue that we are not creating photographs anymore. They went out with the film era. Today, there is so much more manipulation available to us compared with the film days. These days we create, more precisely labelled, a “digital image”. The image is digitally created in the capture and digitally processed. Yet, we still call it a photograph, which is fine but the line can blur between photograph and digital art.
More on topic here, we are always stuggling to go from “snapshots” to a “photograph”. If someone had called one of my favourite images that I created a nice pic or snap… I wouldn’t feel happy about it. Our goal is to create an image that blows the viewer away. I hope they don’t call it a pic when the hair stands up on the back of their neck when viewing the image.
An astute and timely post. Well ranted David!
I completely agree that if there is any intent and purpose put into the work, the result should be referred to as a photograph or an image.
I would extend the rant further and include the verbs we use in describing what we do. We do not take a pic or snap a shot. Whether you are a professional, an amateur or someone just starting into photography, if you are putting in effort, trying to be creative and visualizing the result you are trying to achieve then your efforts are worthy of respect in the words you and others choose. Personally, I say that I am making an image or that I created the photograph.
It may be subtle, or even pointless, to those not involved in artistic pursuits but respect for our art needs to be supported by how we refer to and describe the images we and others make.
Allow me to play Devil’s Advocate for a second here…does elevating the language with which we refer to our work make the work an end, rather than a means to an end?
I mostly work in a world where the photographs I produce go by a variety of different names. Pics, photos, mug shots, grip and grins, shots (as in, a weather shot, or a traffic shot). I don’t think this means the editors downplay the significance of the image, but they don’t worship it, either.
I may have misunderstood your point, but it seems that wanting to put The Photograph on a pedestal, might we be missing the purpose of The Photograph, which is to tell The Story?
But, I also work in a world where the stories I write are referred to by their word count or column inches. I think there’s a functional use of language, in which the objects we create have a place, and it’s not the top of the heap…
I’ll be quiet now…
I agree completely, David. I also cringe when people use words like shoot and capture when creating photographs simply due to their violent connotations.
As an up and comer, I absolutely agree…and I have been guilty of saying pics or photo too. I have seen people talk themselves up in the entertainment industry…it’s no different in the photographer world. A value is placed on how well we describe our work. There is a difference between saying let me hang this pic on your wall versus let me hang this portrait to add to your home decor. I’m getting better at it and will keep working on it. Thanks for the post.
Likewise, can we stop calling ourselves “togs”? I’m not a tog! Neither am I a shoe, a watch nor a pair of trousers. (But, yes, I would love to go to your toga party!) It’s as if we can’t be bothered to use all three syllables. Are we really that busy?
(OK, I get it on twitter, where characters matter. However, I’ve seen it widely used outside of twitter. Make it stop. Thanks.)
Aye Aye Captain!
Until I started putting my self out there, I did not realize fully how much words matter. Especially from the people who love and support us.
My current rant is the gross miss use of “Cheap”. My work is not Cheap. It is Inexpensive. Cheap to me means lack of quality. And that does not mean that I do not value my work if I price it Inexpensively. It just means, I have no clue what to price it at and so I’m just hoping to get it out there with out seeming horribly presumptuous due to my lack of experience. Prices will change accordingly, but quality will always be the main goal.
Your are right, our work must stand on its own merits. I hope mine does.
oh and you are not alone!
I wholeheartedly agree! I always cringe a little when I hear substitutes for “photographs”. I appreciate you saying something about it from a taller soapbox!
Oh, and please excuse the intentional grammatical errors and typos.
By the way, your point is well-taken and valued.
“Would you not feel a little like your work had been trivialized when someone walked by and said, “Nice snap”?” Absolutely, I do!
I can’t debate this as I agree completely. I’m guilty of it myself (sometimes – though not in the scenario decribed above) more often when I refer to my own images. Or when I’m being lazy. Or trying to post within a 140 character limit. I’m going to stop it.
I note that here I used the word ‘images’ to describe my own work and not ‘photographs’. I’m going to go away and think about why I did that.
YES!!! Thank you David, once again, for putting your thoughts into words.
As an up-and-coming photog (excuse me) photographer, (I had to through that one in for fun), I understand your point and agree…to an extent.
I think what’s missing is an understanding of varying cultures and subcultures. I started reading a book titled “Our Bastard Tongue” which deal with the abuse of language and dialects.
Let’s not forget that there was a time that pre dates the Net (Internet) and modern lingo when people used to say “Quick, snap a picture.” “Snapshot” isn’t too far off either.
Unfortunately Twitter and text messages limited the amount characters that we can type. Hence the truncated dialect we have today in cyberspace.
Is it REALLY disrespectful to say “photos” instead of “photograph”? Does the “graph” somehow authenticates the writer’s or speaker’s appreciation for the craft?
Honestly, I LOVE photography and discipline thereof; however my appreciation for our craft isn’t devalued by my sometimes truncating “picture” and saying “pic.” Today’s youth who also love photography may be better reached if we scale down to meet them at their level.
Picaso, Michael Angelo and others broke rules of convention. Hundreds of years later, their work is admired worldwide.
I just sayin’.
Ah David, if only words mattered as much to everyone as they do to some of us. In a world where people (yes, even amongst those of our own discipline) cannot be bothered to learn enough of their (there, they’re) own language to be able to communicate clearly without losing (loosing) meaning, I fear this is a Quixotic (qixotic) adventure.
I don’t need to join as I value the work that you, others and even I do; however, I will continue to make an effort to chose language that never trivializes the serious work of any artist.
Oh, wow! Someone agrees with me. How I loathe the word ‘snap’. From now on it will be ‘photograph’ all the way.
And while we’re on the subject I loathe ‘veggies’ too.
Yes! Good point mate. I’m guilty of this myself sometimes, but I’m going to be making a concerted effort to change the way I refer to my work and the work of others I respect, and who knows, maybe even those I don’t 😉
Well put David. Thanks.
I defer to “images” or “pictures” when I talk about, um … my work!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Go David!