A news article

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David Flick wrote a great article about Phoons.com on June 18, 2003.
Click here to read it first, and then come Back to read my comments.

Some of the misquotes cracked me up and other details reminded me of things
I want to point out. Perhaps you will enjoy these extra insights on phooning!

Text from article, copyright 2003 Dallas News, written by David Flick

John's comments

A quote of Amy: "[Phooning is] almost like meditating." Certainly it means different things to different people. Meditating? Yikes! Not for me! I'm embarrassed to do the pose in public, standing frozen, waiting for the camera to click, as people go by. My stress level is high and I can't wait to get out of there!
Phooning consists of being photographed while frozen in a running pose. Even I have used David's expression to give someone a general idea of what the pose looks like (rather than say "You stand on one foot with your limbs every which direction, looking like an idiot in public"). Unfortunately, not all running poses look like the Phoon. Soooo, before you dig up your old soccer photo or jogging picture or ballet or statue photo and send it in, make sure it looks like the particular pose which I personally call the Phoon.
(beneath the cartoon) The mural depicts a runner, not a phooner, though the pose is certainly adaptable. Yikes! That cartoon looks nothing like a Phoon! I would reject any pose that was that far off. Fortunately, David did note that it is not a phooner. But "adaptable?" Not this much :)

I might make allowances for bad phoon poses in amazing places, such as the Gizeh Pyramids and Tower of Pisa phooning photos, in which the phooners didn't get the pose right. But that's pushing it!

...crashing a wedding picture... If you only see one picture on the site, you've got to see the Bellagio Wedding photo, one of the photos most often cited by fans as a favorite. My brother David. Is that courage? No respect? I am relieved to see the smiles on nearly all of the faces in the wedding party!
...group record of 32... If you are thinking of beating the current group record, read these tips on group phooning.
He has no idea where he came up with the word "phooning." A group of friends at that time often used the word "oon" as a suffix to create nonsense words, and somehow it came from that. In 1980, I came up with the sound "phoon" (not "phooning"). Later, I paired that sound with the particular pose I now call the Phoon.

Neighborhood kids used to say "oon" to make each other laugh. (They did not use it as a suffix.) I don't think it had any meaning. Nor does "phoon."

I made up variations like "phooning" and "phooned" and "Phooner" when creating the website in 1999. (You can now find "phoon" in the online PseudoDictionary.) These made-up words presented challenges for those who translated them into new languages. In Japanese, there is not really an "f" sound. Several Italians debated over whether to Italianize "phoon" (as if it were an Italian word) or use my American words (and introduce yet another annoying American word into Italian vocabulary). The Spanish just put those words into quote to say "American, not Spanish."

"People ask me if it's related to buffoon or typhoon, but I don't really know," [John] said. Oops, I didn't say that. People often assume there is some hidden or deeper meaning, but it doesn't. It was just a sound to me, like "clang" or "boink."

Since then, as I mention in Common Questions, I have learned that "phoon" has meaning in other cultures, languages, countries.

Göran Lindqvist contributed the first one from Slovenia. Göran has contributed some amazing Phoon photos. His pose has continued to be crisp and precise, and his photography is stellar. Composition and choice of locations are regularly excellent. Learn from this guy!
"I got [a phoon photo] from Indiana that was basically just some guy standing in his back yard," [John] said. "That's when I decided to post some guidelines." Actually, the guidelines have been there for years, and people have managed to ignore them quite effectively. :) The Indiana picture was sent in because "I saw you didn't have any pictures from Indiana and I wanted to be the first to send in a Hoosier Phoon." I posted it to honor the attempt at getting "the first Phoon in Indiana."

But I cringed at how boring it was...I didn't want to "train" others to just send in pictures of themselves just so they could see themselves on the site. I really wanted Phoons.com to be a place where one could discover picture after picture that satisfied the viewer and occasionally elicited a "Wow" (in amazement of beauty or accomplishment) or a good laugh.

So, I added a note to the Indiana page from "the Editor" asking the Indiana guy to write to me. I never heard from him in 8 or 9 months, so I guess he was done with phooning! I removed his picture from the site, and the next Indiana contributor in line became the official "first."

Philander..., a Seattle artist, has submitted about 20 phooning photos over the years, of which 17 are posted. Phil sent me his first Phoon picture less than a month before the article was published AND he sent me 33 photos in the first month alone. 33! My goodness. No one else has sent that many so quickly. Fortunately for me, the majority are of great places and well composed and there is little I need to do prepare the photos or Phil's stories for posting on the site. Phil's creativity as an illustrator shines through.

In contrast, I have received bunches of photos from new contributors and had to reject 80 to 90% of them because poses are way off, legs are cut off in the photo or the settings have little interest for "the rest of us."

(not mentioned in article) I was asked what makes for a great Phoon photo. Certainly a good pose and a great setting. A third element, not immediately obvious to many, is the story. It is often the story that draws in the reader and brings the photo to life.