Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chris Hadfield: photographer not amateur shutterbug

I know reporters do not mean to be insulting when they refer to photographs taken from space as "snapshots" or to the astronaut taking the images as an "amateur shutterbug." But, they are mildly insulting, insulting to the profession — the profession of journalism.

I can understand wordsmiths not wanting to repeat the same word over and over. But ink slingers let their fears get the better of them when these scribes cannot use the right word even on the first occurrence in a story. Typing the word photographer seems impossible for these keyboard jockeys.

Astronauts like Chris Hadfield are brilliant, talented individuals — experts in an amazingly wide range of fields. Take photography, astronauts are trained photographers. NASA ensures they are not only competent in the craft but in the art. There are two words scribblers should not use to describe expert shooters like Chris Hadfield, they are "amateur shutterbug."

Maybe, just maybe, if newshounds were kept on shorter leashes by newsroom editors they would not wander so far afield sniffing out stinky synonyms.

Check out the following from Chris Hadfield's space station portfolio. Snapshots or carefully composed art?

Taffy-twisted African rock reminds Hadfield of a dolphin, and Alfred Hitchcock.
Delicate cappuccino frosting decorations are, in fact, endless hummocks of Saharan sand.

Arid fingers of sand-blasted rock are barely holding on against the hot Saharan wind.

Weightless liquids behave oddly: air bubble and pepper oil jockey for position in ball of water.

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