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Viewpoint 6 April

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by PhotoEcosse, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    I was intrigued by the very strong opinions being expressed by Dave Kai-Piper in this week's "Viewpoint" article (p8, 6 April) about the various terms used as shortcuts or slang for "photographer".

    I don't necessarily disagree with the thrust of his comments but was surprised at the vehemence with which they were expressed. Then I looked at his mug-shot and realised that he seems very, very youthful and, perhaps, not quite conversant with some of the history of the subject.

    Let's face it - "photographer" is quite a long word and long words do tend to get shortened from laziness or for convenience. "Photographer" also has a very wide range of application and it is quite common to use alternative terms to narrow down the meaning of generic words.

    Having said that, his principal gripe is with "tog". That is a word that only swam into my ken at some time during the past couple of decades. At first I assumed that it referred specifically to a professional photographer but it now seems to be used more generally.

    Other terms that Dave mentions (and hates) are "snapper", "clicker" and "button pusher". The latter does seem a derogatory diminution of the photographer's craft but "snapper" has a very long and honourable usage in journalism, particularly press journalism, where we had "snappers" and "scribblers" to differentiate between those who took photographs and those who filed written copy. "Clickers" was a term used by professional photographers to denote those of us who wielded cameras non-professionally.

    Just to play devil's advocate, I wonder how many of us would ever describe ourselves as "photographers" (despite the title of our favourite weekly magazine)? It does seem a trifle pretentious although I am not above telling anyone who asks about my leisure interests that I am keen on photography.
  2. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    I once worked on a local paper so small that we were multi-skilling, long before Eddie Shah came on the scene. :D

    It was sufficiently unusual for us to go out as a team, that I felt it necessary to record the rare event. Here, I believe, I have captured well the internationally understood signal from my editor, often translated as "point that camera elsewhere before I store it where you won't like it"...

    :D :D :D

  3. art

    art Well-Known Member

    I've always found this sort of 'what do you do' thing a bit curious. I appreciate it's an easy opening line when meeting someone for the first time, but it seems strange that we tend to define ourselves by our jobs. This feeling was further reinforced after I retired and discovered that when filling in various forms and suchlike, 'retired' is not always an acceptable answer and they then want to know what you used to 'do' before retiring!

    These days, when people ask me what I 'do', I usually reply along the lines of 'pretty much whatever I feel like', which generally leads them to ask more sensible questions such as 'what sorts of things are you interested in', which can then elicit more specific things - including, but certainly not limited to, photography.

    Does that make me 'a photographer'? I'd say that's for other people to decide for themselves, as a label for them to choose as they see fit because at one extreme everyone who has ever taken a photograph is 'a photographer' while at the other extreme there are people who use photography to define themselves, who earn their living as 'a photographer' and are widely known as 'a photographer', perhaps internationally so.

    Who is to say what's the correct definition? I say let people decide for themselves and apply whatever labels they feel comfortable with. Makes no difference to me.
  4. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    I can identify with that, art. And I like your response "pretty much...."

  5. MartyG

    MartyG Well-Known Member

    I know RH doesn't like the term ;)

    Many professions seem to have their own "cute" words for the people who work in these fields. Try working in IT, everyone seems to assume you're a geek who spends all day on the internet.

  6. micharris

    micharris New Member

    Perhaps it's insecurity.

    This reminds me of the character Martin in the radio show 'Cabin Pressure'.

    If you had no qualifications or real clients, you might feel the need to give yourself a title like 'photographer', especially if you were best known for comments you made about your ex in a tabloid paper.

    Ah, no, it's Cartman from South Park.
  7. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    As this thread has risen from the dead, I'll also rise to Marty's point. :D

    After more than thirty years in the IT business, I still don't know what to call myself, so I resort to saying "I used to get paid for playing with computers all day". Of course, I could just reel off a list of my job titles but that would only lead to the listener backing away, wearing a glazed expression.

    "Photographer" is so much easier...


  8. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I am a photographic artist and recorder.
    The artist bit is pretentious.
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Qualifications? For photography? What are they, apart from being able to take pictures? And, if you're professional, selling 'em.

    Real clients? That must let out an awful lot of fine art photographers.

    Insecurity? Well, yes, if you know little or nothing about photography, but want to show that you are bang up to date with the latest amateur slang, "tog" might fit the bill.

    "Clickers" is also a new one on me. I assume it refers to what used to be called "happy-snappers". I've not heard it used. Where is it current?

    Snappers and scribblers were (and presumably were) press terms, with a long history which if not entirely honourable was was most part decently alcohol-soaked.

    I can't quite see what's wrong with the word "photographer", unless you're too lazy or too stupid to write it out in full; or perhaps if you communicate only via a mobile 'phone keyboard, which is infinitely tedious. "Photographer" is how most of the photographers I know describe themselves.

    The issue in question hasn't reached rural France yet, so I've not seen it.


    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015

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