Over the past month or so, I have been reading a great many blogs and articles on how the current state of the things are changing our views and vernacular. I normally refrain from posting anything that could be considered controversial as this is not the platform for that.
In reading these op-eds and articles it has given me cause to reflect upon whether the language of photography, which has been around since its inception, is contributing to a larger problem. Let me explain.
In photographic circles, the terms we use to convey what we are doing and how we want things setup are in and of themselves just words, no hidden meaning, just the terms used to get the job done and have been around for a long time.
For example, given the recent happenings in the world, when as a photographer I say “I am going to do a shoot” or ” I want to shoot this model” may now be misconstrued. As a photographer I try to put myself in the other persons shoes. It is not easy at times to have a portrait taken and certainly not knowing their past experiences with a word like “shoot” may make them uneasy. Can we change the vernacular? Of course and we probably should.
Another example are lighting terms master and slave. Certainly the negative connotations of these terms are clear and really should never be used. Terms like receiver and transmitter are much more accurate and still convey what needs to be done.
As photographers, we are given the privilege of capturing moments in time, life events and often the very essence of person in a portrait. As such, we need to consider our use of terms which need to be all inclusive. Photographers are often resistant to change, but we must ask ourselves if certain words need to be utilized during a clients session. Aware that retraining our thinking is something that will take work but I would hope all photographers can agree, it is something that needs to be done.
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