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Photo Shoot

Posted by Bob on December 05, 2007

In Reply to: Photo Shoot posted by ESC on December 01, 2007

: : Why do we use the word shoot when referring to taking pictures, e.g. photo shoot? Does this have any relation to guns? I know it may sound like a stupid question to some, but believe me, I have lots of them!

: Here's my guess. It has to do with the explosion involved in early flash photography. Plus the added element of aiming or taking sight at the subject.

: "Then in the late 1880s it was discovered that magnesium powder, if mixed with an oxidising agent such as potassium chlorate, would ignite with very little persuasion. This led to the introduction of flash powder. It would be spread on a metal dish the flash powder would be set of by percussion - sparks from a flint wheel, electrical fuse or just by applying a taper. However the explosive flashpowder could be quite dangerous if misused. This was not really superseded until the invention of the flashbulb in the late 1920s." Lighting for photography: A History of Photography, by Robert Leggat.
: Accessed December 1, 2007.

Before cameras were invented, the word snapshot meant a quick shot from a gun without careful aiming. It was a natural metaphor for photography, particularly as cameras became portable and picture taking could be more spontaneous.