Just Call It a Photo

Color Coupler Print_cropDear Minneapolis Institute of Arts,

I had lunch at your museum today, and visited the The World at Work: Images of Labor and Industry, 1850 to Now exhibition. This exhibit included Paul Shambroom’s “Color coupler print” of the Badger Foundry in Winona, Minnesota Unfortunately, no one knows what a color coupler print is.

I tried to convince my son that it was really just a photo, but he kept saying, “No, Dad, it’s not a photo.” He felt that it was realistic but had several flaws and was not a photo.

Technical terms that confuse people are of little value. Yes, they could look up Dye Coupler in Wikipedia, or if they are really adventurous they could go to PrintWiki and find the term Color Coupler. If they do, they will learn that color couplers are one of the components in photographic paper, and they will realize that the print is a photograph. But most people are not going to bother.

My suggestion is to skip the technical jargon altogether and use common words, or if you must use a technical description, include the common description as well. Your visitors would appreciate it, and no one would be left wondering what a color coupler print is. Thank you for your consideration.

Dr. Mark Mizen

p.s. I would also like to see the term “albumen” replaced by egg white for albumen prints.

About Mark Mizen

At Creative Memories, I evaluate photographic products and related materials so that today's memories are not lost to the future and then communicate this information to Creative Memories Consultants and their customers. My interests extend from preservation of traditional photographs to the production of photo books to the expected longevity of electronic image files. My long-term objective is to direct the development of technology that meets consumers needs for high-quality products.
This entry was posted in History and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Just Call It a Photo

  1. nancy Lewis says:

    Amen! The first thg they taught us in Customer Service is to use everyday language. Never make the customer feel inferior by using technical terms or inside terms only the company knows.

  2. Jenn Ross says:

    I agree…call it what it is and forget the jargon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s