What’s in a name?

tl;dr: The name of the blog has changed.

The observant reader might have noticed that the name of this blog has changed. No longer is it ‘Tales of Meco Beach’, now it’s just ‘/ˈsnæp.ʃɒt/’. But why change the name and what on earth does it mean?

Simply put, /ˈsnæp.ʃɒt/ is the phonetic version of ‘snapshot’, defined in the dictionary as either, ‘a photograph’ (in the Cambridge Dictionary) or ‘a casual photograph made typically by an amateur with a small handheld camera’ (in the Merriam Webster online dictionary, a definition that I find quite condescending). I’ve spent time over the years (and probably failing) to take well composed, nicely focussed and interesting photographs. But for a while I have given over using my DSLR to pick up my smartphone, or even more recently going back to film and Polaroid.

While these might fulfil the dictionary definition of a snapshot in terms of equipment, for surely the smartphone is today’s equivalent of the old instamatic camera, I have still tried to take a decent photograph and to present each one nicely in this blog and elsewhere. But are they ‘proper’ photographs, or are they snapshots? In a well thought through piece entitled ‘What is a Snapshot?‘, the photographer and blogger Johnny Martyr looked at his own photography and asked himself, ‘how could anyone who understands what its like to shoot on a vintage, all manual 35mm camera, call anything that I take, a snapshot?’

As he observed, images taken with fully automatic cameras, beautifully focused and composed, might still be considered dictionary definition snapshots, while at the same time equivalent images taken on manual cameras, where thought has been taken to setting the aperture and shutter to get the perfect exposure are not. For example, the photographer Mark Sink used the Diana toy camera for much of the 1980s to photograph artists like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Should these classic images be considered snapshots?

In the end, Johnny Martyr came to a simple conclusion: ‘It doesn’t really matter … A good photograph is simply a photograph that people enjoy.’ And that’s what I’m trying to present in this blog. Photographs that I have taken that I like and that I hope other people might enjoy. Whether these are my abstracts in ice, cloudscapes, or the lo-fi images from my ‘new’ Polaroid 600 from the 1990s or medium format Diana F+ toy camera it doesn’t matter, they are all ‘reflective of a particular method. Not necessarily a positive or a negative method, just another arrow in the photographers quiver’.

So yes, I guess I have been posting snapshots, and it seemed like a good idea that if I am going to change the name of this blog to something new then the least I can do is recognise what I am trying to show and embrace it: photographs that people might like: snapshots. But why change the name at all?

Back in the mists of time, when I first created the blog, I wanted to give a taste of the experiences of my new life in Portugal, and the name refers to our favourite beach in Portugal, to which we return each year without fail. But it’s only for a couple of weeks a year and for the remainder of the year we are up north, so it makes little sense to refer to Meco when we are hardly there. So, for the the reasons above, ‘Tales of Meco Beach’ is now ‘/ˈsnæp.ʃɒt/’ and I hope that you will enjoy it.

Published by Keith Devereux

'Let me close my eyes and sense the beauty around me. And take that breath under the dark sky full of stars.' Mira Furlan

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