It’s never too late to admit the error of one’s ways. It was brought to my attention yesterday that I’ve committed an egregious error ….. I’ve arrogated the title of “photographer” to describe my pursuit of images from Second Life.
I’ve never claimed to do it well, but I have always thought of my hobby as “photography”. I do plead extenuating circumstances. I guess to help us non-technical beings get a glimmer of the use of some functions the creators named things like “camera” and “f-stop” in the viewer. Still, I should have realized much earlier that what I create isn’t the same as real “photographs”.
Photography is an art form I admire and I love what the great practitioners can do with light and shadow and talent. They do it in the physical world with varying devices which all have one thing in common (apart from their skill and artistry) – they use a lens.
I might have dozens and dozens of settings and buttons but I definitely don’t have a lens.
I saw one suggestion that my hobby consists of “screen captures”. Now it might be splitting hairs, it’s my blog and my hair and I’ll split what I like, but I’ll disagree with that term.
In my mind “screen capture” implies no thought. I’m old enough that this function is synonymous with “screen print” – the mindless touch of a button on the keyboard designed for showing forms and fields and writing user manuals.
I have enough trouble reconciling the fact that the content is created by real artists and I just capture it. The fact that I can move around a 3d environment with my camera-like functionality and worry about composition, lighting, and mood makes me cringe at the idea that somehow there’s nothing of me in the result. However, I don’t want to continue pretending that I’m a “photographer”. It’s not right.
What is needed is a new term that accurately describes what I’m doing. Different kinds of images are taken in various professions which don’t use a lens – the x-ray is one. The word “imaging” is used often in areas like the medical disciplines (magnetic resonance imaging for example). Imaging, therefore, should be part of the new term.
Somehow the fact that what I’m doing is computer-aided obviously needs to be highlighted. In addition, the reality that I’m in a virtual world should be acknowledged.
I’ll think about it and try and avoid a term or acronym that will offend anybody. I’d hate to wind up with something like P.A.I.N.T. and have to apologize to a whole other group.