Tractor or Human Being?

Sept-Oct 2012 Scans 100 WP

This is a photograph of a tractor. It is an object. The photograph was made by a photographer. The photographer is a human being.

A tractor cannot be a human being. A human being cannot be an object.

Being a writer, I have a sensitive “ear” (or perhaps the sensitive ear is one of the reasons I’m a writer). It makes me cringe when I read text that is wrong. It stops my reading process and takes me away from the narrative. I can’t help it. I’m a writer.

The worst offenders are bloggers on various Web sites. The mistake I see most often is objectification. The first meaning of objectification is “to present or regard as an object”.

To make it simple, it is to present a person as if they were a tractor, toaster, or cardboard box, an object. An example of objectification follows.

“We a looking for photographers that use film.”

The problem with the sentence above is that the writer has presented photographers as objects. Objects are not photographers. There are objects that make photographs, which are called cameras. But cameras are not photographers. Cameras are objects, not human beings.

The proper way to regard or present photographers (and other human beings) is, “We are looking for photographers who use film.”