We've recently added Pring's Photographer's Miscellany (Roger Pring, Ilex Press, 2011) to our photography library. Here are some of the more entertaining facts from this excellent little book:

  • The first recorded use of the word “snapshot” was in reference to Sir Henry Hawker’s hunting style – hurried shots taken without deliberate aim.
  • Bokeh: a Japanese word for dizziness or senility.
  • The ratio in the USA of the number of photographers to the number of dentists and lawyers: 1:2:18
  • The ratio in the USA of the annual income of photographers to the annual income of dentists and lawyers: 1:5:3
  • In food photography, what looks like ice cream is probably lard or mashed potato. And what looks like milk in the breakfast cereal bowl is probably wood glue.  
  • Reinhold Heidecke became convinced of the virtues of twin lens reflex camera design while fighting in the trenches in World War One.  An upside down TLR on a broomstick would be a relatively safe means of reconnaissance and picture taking.
  • Nadar’s 1868 photo of the Albatross II is the first known photograph of an aircraft. The Albatross II was capable of gliding 600 feet.
  • The 160 megapixel Swiss-made Seitz 6x17 panoramic camera works more like a scanner than a camera and costs about the same as an Audi A5.
  • The 1938 Hansa Canon was made by Japanese movie-camera repairman Goro Yoshida, who was encouraged when he disassembled a Leica II and found no “magical” materials inside. “Hansa” was a reference to the medieval protectionist European trade league and was apparently used by Yoshida in admiration and not irony.
  • Saying "cheese" contracts the muscles at the side of the mouth into a smile. Bulgarians say "zele" (cabbage). Estonians say "hernesupp" (pea soup). And Koreans say "kimchi" (pickled cabbage).