Friday, September 6, 2013

I never get "The Shot"

Photographers over the years have developed a bad habit of referring to their work as "Shots" or using phrases such as, "Going out to do some Shooting".  I am certain that most photographers are unaware of how this slang has taken over the way we describe our photography or the act of making a photograph. When you think about it, we get a "Shot" from a doctor and we "Go out Shooting" with a gun.  The newest way we describe photography is,"digital capture".  How this terminology came about to describe photography is unknown, but it wasn't always used. I am sure if you stood in front of Ansel Adams print, "Moonrise over Hernandez" you wouldn't describe it as a, "really great shot".  As photographers we do ourselves a disservice, and it is my belief, that we should avoid using slang to describe the work we create. It diminishes the act of the creative process and cheapens the overall value of photography in the art world. I prefer to speak of my work as, " Images" or "I am going out to make some new exposures", because in reality these are truer photography terms. Unfortunately the slang will always be with us and we will have to choose how we desire to describe our work. If we care about the creative process and the hard work to achieve the expressive print, then we will give more thought as to how we describe our photography. I am not a shooter, but a photographer.

The above image of the corn lily was made on TMAX film, with an exposure of five minutes. The finished print was scanned to create a digital image for posting on the web. There is a slight softness to the image that comes with the scanning process and lacks the quality of the actual print.


  1. I just gave a presentation, "Making images, not merely taking pictures", for the New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artist. I spoke a little about the terms we use to describe what we do. My standard statement as I wave goodbye to my wife is, "I'll be back later, I'm going out to make some images." A friend of mine Houston uses the therm "photoing" for any activity that involves photography. Yeah, I think moving away from slang like "shot" or "shooting" would be a good idea considering the recent gun violence we've experience in the country.

  2. I am glad you have addressed the use of slang that has taken over the way we describe photography in the recent years. I always cringe when I hear someone say to me, "Hey, that is a really great shot you took". How did you do it?