What is a photographer?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by AustinBoston, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. AustinBoston

    Bruce Murphy Guest

    Petty and wholly ignorant. Did you even /bother/ to read my definiton,
    or are you having too much fun misquoting third-hand intepretations of

    Since you appear to have assigned me some ridiculous definition
    involving "artistic merits" and "highest regard", then how can I
    possibly offer any coherent explanation or defence?
    Under your misquotation of a third-hand intepretation of my definition.
    When you /eventually/ get around to reading my definition you'll see
    something that indicates that first rule of yours is indicated
    strongly by it.

    Bruce Murphy, Oct 20, 2004
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  2. AustinBoston

    bob Guest

    I read your definition both times you posted it. I read it several times,
    to see if I could find other ways to interpret it. Here is your post:

    If the primary concern of the person is the "image itself" as opposed to
    the "/content/" then I don't see what you could have possibly meant
    besides that they are concerned with the artistic merit of the image. How
    else does one differentiate the image from the "content?"
    Your definition is completely coherent, it simply does not correspond to
    any definition used by any English speaking peoples that I am aware of.
    You seem to (in your previous post) state that you speak some other
    language where there is a term that corresponds to the definition that I
    quoted above. Your previous post also seems to imply that it is unfair
    for you to try to impose your new meaning on the rest of us. ["us" being
    the hypothetical Africans with our traditional view of the word elephant
    [photographer] and you being the people who speak a different language
    that wants to change our usage of the long established term].

    You specifically state that a photographer is primarily concerned with
    the image itself. As a former photo-journalist, I state that my primary
    charge [according to my various editors] was a recording of the event. As
    someone who has paid for someone to record images on film at his wedding,
    I can guarantee that my wife was most concerned that he capture the
    event. Having read the sports pages for many years, I am quite sure that
    the people who create those images are primarily concerned with the
    content (the touchdown, the catch, the knockout punch) and that "the
    image" is a secondary concern. Have you ever seen a wire photo?

    Redefining "photographer" to exclude many (most?) of the people who work
    for news publications and many (most?) of the people who shoot weddings
    continues to seem like a loosing proposition to me, and I prefer to avoid
    choosing sides with loosers.

    I see you ignored my statistical refutation of your claim that
    "snapshots" account for a trivial part of photographic history. I also
    notice you ignored my request to cite an example of a person who fits
    your definition who used cameras before 1898.

    bob, Oct 20, 2004
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  3. AustinBoston

    bob Guest

    So if you look through my archive, and if you go back to the time before I
    was serious (at least a decade, and I can remember the day that I became
    serious), then you contend that those images are not photographs, because I
    was not a photographer?

    Your definition is much better than Bruces; your defn requires the
    photographer to be serious, whereas his requires the photog to place the
    image itself *above* the content (excluding most sports, wedding, and war

    bob, Oct 20, 2004
  4. AustinBoston

    Bruce Murphy Guest

    By caring about the _processes_ used to create the image and the
    parameters (exposure, focus, blah blah) that are wholly of the /image/
    and not the content. Things become more complex when you try to assign
    something such as composition.
    No, that was a metaphor. Clearly such abstract statements completely
    missed you. Presumably in much the same way that you felt HCB wasn't
    aware of focus or exposure control.
    Actually, your /first/ (or possibly equal first) concern was that the
    image was useable. Not wholly out of focus, and not over or
    underexposed to the point of being useless.
    Now go back to my definition. Do you know the difference between an
    indefinite and definite article? Which one did I use? Which one did
    you just use? Can you see how failure of yours to make the distinction
    warps my definition into your fantasty world or artistic merit?
    Or people who can spell, presumably. Again, you've completely missed
    the point of the definition.
    Anyone who focussed a camera or adjusted exposure counts. Ie, everyone
    before that point.

    Bruce Murphy, Oct 20, 2004
  5. AustinBoston

    Bruce Murphy Guest

    Did you ever care about focus or exposure during this time? About
    things that are of the image?
    No, my definition does not. Go and learn english.

    Bruce Murphy, Oct 20, 2004
  6. What is a photographer? A title given to a person with an interest in photography
    greater than one who uses the same or different tools and has little or no interest.
    mark_digital©, Oct 20, 2004
  7. AustinBoston

    bob Guest

    Many snips
    This is the first time you've said anything at all about "process." The
    word does not appear in your definition. Would you care to revise it?
    Your defn. simply says that they care about the image itself.
    A metaphor is "a figure of speech." You wrote an analogy, and it
    supported my point better than yours.
    You've never worked in a newsroom, have you? The primary concern was to
    bring back an image. Focus and exposure are secondary to content (which
    seems to be how you want to differentiate photographers from as yet
    undefined (in your mind) people who capture images with cameras from

    The word "primary" means "first" in order of time, rank, importance or
    value. Since there cannot be two *primary* concerns, your usage of the
    indefinite article "an" was a misuse which I corrected. Perhaps you did
    not really intend to use the word "primary." Would you like to revise and
    extend your definition?
    Pot-kettle-black. Unless "fantasty" is a new word of yours too ;-) Could
    be a word from the porn industry, I suppose... ROFL.

    If I've missed the point, after discussing it at such lengths, it
    points to a lack of clarity in the defn. Maybe you should revise it to
    make it more clear what you really mean. As a technical writer, I tend to
    focus on the specific meaning of the words actually written, more so than
    the concept (allegedly) in the author's head.
    With that sweeping change, you've now pretty much defined a photographer
    as anyone who captures images with cameras that require adjustments (as
    opposed to kodak brownie type cameras that do not.) Although anyone who
    cares more about the image than the content would still qualify as a
    photographer, regardless of the equipment, no?

    bob, Oct 20, 2004
  8. AustinBoston

    Bruce Murphy Guest

    No. The process is what forms the image, it's already included in
    it. Concern about the image
    So no matter /how/ badly out of focus, or how crazily over or
    underexposed, didn't matter? Perhaps you're overlooking the way that
    you would have had to make a decision about the image properties which
    may well have included acceptable ranges for these parameters.
    Do you believe in only one primary colour? Which one, out of interest?
    Or perhaps it reflects a refusal to consider the fundamental error in
    your own personal definition.

    I'd be delighted to discuss clearer ways of expressing the definition,
    or to consider ways in which it could be made more appropriate, but
    your continual chanting of "no it isn't!", is hardly either.
    Again, see above for the problems with your assumption of strict
    ordering. I'd argue that caring about aspects of the image goes well
    beyond making adjustments on a camera.

    Bruce Murphy, Oct 20, 2004
  9. AustinBoston

    Matt Ion Guest


    \Pho"to*graph\, n. [Photo- + -graph.] A picture or likeness obtained by

    Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


    n 1: the act of taking and printing photographs [syn: picture taking] 2:
    the process of producing images of objects on photosensitive surfaces 3:
    the occupation of taking and printing photographs or making movies

    Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

    Thus, a snapshot IS photography.
    Matt Ion, Oct 21, 2004
  10. AustinBoston

    bob Guest

    So you think that one who is concerned with the output is automatically
    concerned with the process. Very dubious proposition. How many people who
    want clear telephone calls care about the process?
    If you take it to the extreme, then of course it becomes an issue, but
    that is just as true, or even more so, for the snap shooter. Have you
    ever seen a wire photo? In the late 80s (the last time I was in a news
    room) they came off of what were essentially big thermal fax machines.
    Most snap shooters expect significantly more image quality that what is
    acceptable in most news papers.
    Different usage entirely which has nothing to do with the usage error you
    made. Ask 100 people if their "primary concern" in deciding who to vote
    for is a domestic policy issue or a foreign policy issue and see how many
    of them say "yes."
    I have no "personal" definition. If you look back at my very post on this
    thread I pointed out that the usage of the suffix "-er" means "one who."
    It can mean other things, like "someone who's occupation is," "one who
    comes from," and "one that is an object of."

    In English, a photographer *must be* one who photographs. Given the
    origins and usages of the roots (photo and graph) there are very few
    possible meanings. Given the long usage, you ability to change the
    meaning of the word "photographer" is pretty slim.
    As opposed to you chanting "yes it is?" So go for it. Think about what
    you really mean and write it out.
    Again, I don't have any assumptions. I do have dictionaries. Of course
    dictionaries don't tell me all the ways that words might be used in the
    future, but they tell me how they have been used.

    bob, Oct 22, 2004
  11. Essentially, yes.

    I can remember when I first becamed intrigued with photography. I was
    about 10. The camera was a 120 square format, folding Agfa-Ansco
    with adjustable shutter speed and f-stop -- guesstimate focusing --
    that I found in my parent's "junk" drawer. I studied the manual to
    learn how to operated it. The manual also gave a basic guide to
    exposure, composition, etc. But even with all that, my pictures were
    just snapshots, even though they were well composed (I was born with
    an artistic talent and an artist's eye.) and the choice of subject
    was mine alone. I did the shooting, but the drug store lab did the
    processing and printing. I really didn't reach the level of what I
    considered "photographer" until I learned to process and print my own
    stuff. That's was in college. Until that time, I was just recording
    family outings, vacations, etc. Snapshots were all they were.
    Artistic ones, well composed ones, but still just snapshots.
    Stefan Patric, Oct 22, 2004
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