Please Don’t Say “Lensed”

The word you are looking for is "photographed"

Photo of young handsome professional photographer take picture you camera isolated on green color ba...
Allie Jones
Word Choice
Gawker Language Gripes

Here are some sentences I have read on social media recently:

“Poet, activist and style icon Amanda Gorman covers the May issue of VOGUE, lensed by Annie Leibovitz.”

“New @ChicagoMusical photo drop: Pamela Anderson as Roxie Hart, lensed by the iconic Ellen von Unwerth.”

“Today belongs to Oscar Isaac’s new ESQUIRE editorial lensed by Guy Aroch.”

Do you see the problem? People — by which I mean social media influencers and fashionistas — are saying “lensed” when they simply mean “photographed.” Why is this happening, and how can we make it stop?

I first noticed this trend on the Instagram account of Evan Ross Katz, an influencer and writer who recently published a history of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. He often shares magazine editorials on his Instagram, and he always says the photos were “lensed by” whatever photographer they were photographed by. Here, for example, is a photo of The Lost City stars Channing Tatum, Sandra Bullock, and Daniel Radcliffe “lensed by” Amy Harrity:

I guess this is Katz’s thing, which is fine. Everyone is allowed to have one thing. But I am alarmed to see that other influencers and fashion magazine social accounts are trying to make it their thing, too. That’s not what we need right now.

If you want to say something was photographed by someone, then say that. If the word “photographed” is too long for you to type out, try “shot.” Or “snapped,” even. You could also simply use the little camera emoji to indicate who photographed an image of Brad Pitt rolling around in the White Sands of New Mexico. But “lensed”? Come on.

Unless you are discussing gravitational lensing as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope, please avoid using “lens” as a verb and just say what you really mean. Thank you.