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 What's in a word? 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:09 am
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Post What's in a word?
This is not a new subject. I have seen blurbs and rants about the use of certain jargon words related to photography many times and in several places both in print and online. There is one word though that I believe we who work and play in the photography fields should revisit and seriously consider excluding from our conversations, our vocabulary, especially from our public writing.

The word is “shoot.” To shoot, shooting, etc.

Yeah, I know it is included in several dictionaries relevant to photography, notably the Oxford English Dictionary, the holy grail of words in English; the definitive record of the English language. But many people in my life raise their eyebrows when I use the word in a photography context since around the time of the Sandy Hook school murders. I am very uncomfortable with it now and I intend to purge it from my photographic vocabulary. It will take some effort. There is no good, short replacement. That is certainly one of the reasons it has been adopted so ubiquitously in our world of interest.

I my view, and in those of many social scientists and psychologists, the use of that word is not harmless. It has a desensitizing effect within our culture that is measurable and significant. I am asking everyone to abandon it.

Thanks,
David deSousa


Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:07 am
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Post Re: What's in a word?
Seems like a good idea but what do you propose as a surrogate?

I certainly have slipped many times and said to security guards 'I'm shooting ____' and they look at me like I'm crazy.


Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:02 am
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Post Re: What's in a word?
certainly "shooting" shouldn't be used in sensitive areas (schools, airports, banks, post offices, or any area with a security guard or public officials) you certainly can use "filming", "photographing", or "snapping some pics" I don't think you need to be too descriptive (no need to say "I am attempting the holy grail of time lapse by digitally photographing from day to night in what will be a 10 stop b-ramp"....crickets) just enough to let the person know what you are basically doing taking photos. however I am of the mindset that if you have a camera visible and say I am shooting pictures, I would hope that is it universally accepted that you plan on doing some photography rather than say shooting a gun... of course that would require common sense, which these days is a bit lacking.

have a great day shoo... err photographing

tt

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Tim T


Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:44 am
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Post Re: What's in a word?
If you want to do so, and that is your way of showing support, go for it.


The sandy hook shooting was a terrible situation, one that everyone feels helpless watching. I have a son who is 6, and i remember when i saw the news breaking that how terrifying the thought to be one of these parents and go home to see the christmas tree you just setup, and all the presents just a day earlier lit your child's eyes up with excitement and wonder, but now have nobody to open them because your shild is dead. That is the most horrific thought I could imagine.

The entire thing absolutely breaks my heart and it resonates very strongly with me as I almost lost my son several times due to heart complications when he was just a baby. This is no exaggeration, I have seen him blue, literally he was blue., I have seen him on the brink of death. The concept of my own sons mortality is an extremely real, palpable, and present situation to me at all times, a terrifying thorn that always digs in my ribs as he is outgrowing his heart valve and will require another one which means another incredibly invasive open heart surgery..

So please take that into consideration with my next paragraph, and that i am not just being "insensitive" because I am extremely sensitive about the loss of other peoples children.

I think the idea of trying to get everyone to change the term "Shoot" in photography into something else is an unbelievable waste of time and energy. I have serious problems with giving some lunatic the power to forever change the vocabulary of an entire industry, it is a very bad idea. Lets not give these assholes any extra reasons to do this stuff. Some of these people do this because they are severely mentally disturbed, or just flat out crazy, but there are also some who probably live off of thier own ego as thier main source of power. Going down in the history books as a the biggest mass murderer rather than living in obscurity appeals to these people. Lets not also give them the ability to be the one who changed the harmless vocabulary used on a regular basis as an added bonus.

The term "Shoot" in photography has been there for generations, when I use it in reference to photography it has nothing to do with firearms, bullets, murder, manslaughter, or sport.

I for one refuse to give that murderous idiot power over me to change the wording I use in an industry that has absolutely nothing to do with the horrible incident.

Nobody said anything about this with Columbine, the pen state shooting, or any of the other mass murders that have happened throughout history, I don't see any reason to start doing this now. I disagree with setting a precedent that virtually bans words from existence due to the actions of a lunatic, and gives those people one more thing to strive for.

If you want to do something that actually helps, start supporting legislation that you feel would help reduce this type of scenario.


Also, I DO know what it is like to live in the shadow of such an event.

Image

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Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:19 am
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Post Re: What's in a word?
Jack Ripper wrote:
I disagree.


thanks, Jack, well put and I would have to agree with your disagreement. I think we give can give the bad guys too much power, of course if you personally want to stop using the word "shoot" then by all means be my guess - I also think a blanket ban is probably unrealistic and counter productive.

timt

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Tim T


Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:37 am
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Post Re: What's in a word?
pixelbot wrote:
Jack Ripper wrote:
I disagree.


thanks, Jack, well put and I would have to agree with your disagreement. I think we give can give the bad guys too much power, of course if you personally want to stop using the word "shoot" then by all means be my guess - I also think a blanket ban is probably unrealistic and counter productive.

timt


Yeah, i mean if i was going to do a shoot for some people who i found lost a child in that event, i would certainly try to be conscious about what i say. But once they are out of my presence, it is business as usual

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Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:41 am
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Post Re: What's in a word?
Jack has made good, reasonable, heartfelt arguments. He misses the point however. This isn't about "banning" a word, it is about understanding what the original meaning of the word connotes and choosing to avoid using it. The use of the word "shoot" relative to photography is artificial. It is not even jargon, it is colloquial lingo in the genera of "like cool man."

The word, before it was usurped by moving picture groupies, denoted the action (a verb) of striking with a missile from a weapon (an act of violence), projecting an object with force, flinging or throwing an object like a spear or an arrow or a bullet, which linguistically has no relationship to what we do with a camera in any sense. So the word is bad use of the English language. Notice in the listings of the dictionary definition for "shoot" that to photograph with a motion-picture camera or with a still camera : take a picture, is way, way down on the list. The colloquial definition has not been around for very long.

Communication with others is difficult, I am sure most will agree, especially when others are not from or among a given group. The actual use of correct words in their normative (understood by most who speak the language) definitional sense is crucial for the highest degree of understanding on many levels. Words made up casually from other meanings, definitions, or connotations and then used as slang by one group clearly causes perhaps worse than misunderstandings. Take the "N" word for example, or those several words directed at women.

I am not advocating "...setting a precedent that virtually bans words from existence." I am advocating a higher awareness of the words we use unthinkingly, and then avoiding them for a reason. I am also advocating deliberately making a difficult choice to participate in the steering of the course of our social makeup. If no one believes that language has a first order influence on our social makeup, on the way people think and act, then I guess I am pleading to the wrong audience.

Just planting seeds, ya know. Everyone is surely free to do what they will without prejudice or judgement on my part. I will avoid the word thanks. Not entirely because I should, but because I can.


Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:42 pm
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