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mardi 1 mars 2011

“Photograffeur” – innovative word of the week

Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie. Une traduction en français sera publiée prochainement sur ce blog.

The English word “photograph” and the French word photographe are false friends. This table should clarify the difference:



photograph, photo

Another pair of related words should also be distinguished:


A further source of confusion for English learners or French learners is the fact that “camera” in English and caméra in French are also false friends. For a clarification of this subject, see the following table:

appareil photo
movie camera

To complicate matters, a new word has recently come into existence in English: “photograffeur”. The New York Times Magazine of February 27, 2011 contains an article entitled Supercolosal Street Art about the French street artist, JR. The article states:

 “The paradox is that I got my Baccalaureate for the very things that got me into trouble with the Law” the photograffeur says “and even now what gets you arrested in some countries gets you an exhibition in others.”

The writer of the article explains that the word “photograffeur” is “somewhere between a photographer and a graffiti artist”. It is not an English version of photographeur, which apparently does not exist in French. In fact overblog.com describes itself as Le blog de Photograffeurs d’Expressions Murales/Pierres.

For further reading on JR, see


JR won the prestigious TED prize for 2011.

Women Are Heroes, by JR in Kenya. Image found on the TED Prize site.

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