Do you shoot or do you create a photograph?

Do you ‘shoot’ or do you ‘create’ your photographs?

This might seem like an odd question but lately I’ve found myself using the words ‘make’, ‘create’ or ‘take’ whenever I talk about photography. This change in language goes beyond the philosophical issue of what we do when we pick up a camera; my reasons are a reflection of current events.

Every time I think of the word ‘shoot’ I think about recent events that dominate the United States’ national conversation. If you’ve been following along on this blog for any length of time you know I’m against violence in toy photography and I’m against guns. Not because guns are inherently bad, but because we’ve proven over and over again with our actions that we can’t handle the responsibilities that come with gun ownership.

How we got here is complicated and it’s going to take some time,  some hard hitting questions,  true honesty and a commitment to change our attitude towards our fellow man. None of which I will even begin to take on right now because this is a photography blog.

The situation is so awful, so mind numbing, so incomprehensible – that it has made me aware of the words I use.

I don’t shoot photos, I create photographs.

~ Shelly



  1. aliceincleveland

    I’ve always thought about it as you take a picture but you shoot a photograph. What you are saying here popped into my head the other day because I was thinking about ‘shooting downtown’ and then I started thinking about the Republican convention that will be here soon. They wanted to use a room in the building where I work to monitor social media for threats. So I’m also trying to break from saying ‘shooting.’ I like the idea is photographs being ‘captured.’ I’m going to try to make that my default word because much of the time I don’t feel like I’m creating anything, just drawing attention to something that already exists.

  2. I read it too! 🙂 I stopped saying “shoot” a few years ago. At that time I was taking a lot of photos of gymnastics competitions and saying “I’m off to shoot gymnastics” started to sound very weird to me. Now I keep it simple and I just say “I’m taking photos” 🙂

  3. fubiken/Stefan.K

    Interesting post! Never been thinking about it, but then again I’m from Sweden. But yes, create and capture are great words to use. I capture images of nature and I create images of toyphoto. Thanks, you made me think

  4. You’re not alone in your concern here, Shelly. I too have been contemplating this lately. When speaking to a photography friend recently, he said, “Mostly I shoot lots of people.” My mind IMMEDIATELY went to gun violence, not photography. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but in light of the recent horrifying events going on in this country, it really stuck out to me.

    Too bad it’s not the other way around. I wish that people would hear the word “shoot” and think of photography instead 🙁

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