A play on with words
What’s the good word?
Anyone who’s read my posts here on Stuck in Plastic, or indeed, chatted with me, will know that I have a tendency to go off on a tangent.
Bear with me! This post goes way out there, but hopefully I can reel it back to a succinct point relating to toy photography.
As well as knowing my inclination to digression, a fondness for numbers and a penchant for plastic, you should also know that I love words.
Don’t got no biceps
Don’t got no pecks
But I’ll read you under the table
With my thick specks
Decscedents – Mass Nerder
This love of words has been rekindled thanks to the opportunity to write a weekly piece here. Before Stuck In Plastic, before Instagram, even before the Internet (yes, I’m that old), I used to write. Not with a quill and parchment (I’m not that old), but with a pen in a journal. I still have those journals. I still occasionally pull them out and reread snapshots of past me.
I love words. I have favourite words. Succinct, flippant, cacophony, kerfuffle, lackadaisical, shemozzle and cahoots are just a few of my favourites.
Contemptuous mind enlightened by his kind
Resurrect the words of which you repeat
Damaged – Resurrect
I also have words that I despise. There are so many things that have words that don’t deserve them. Lanyard (a cord passed round the neck, shoulder, or wrist for holding an object), aglet (a metal or plastic tube fixed round each end of a shoelace), runcation (removing weeds), interfenestration (the space between two windows) and defenestration (the act of throwing someone or something out of a window) for example, needlessly take up value word allowance.
And yet, words from The Meaning of Liff and The Deeper Meaning of Liff, both by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, remain in the realm of fantasy?
Ahenny (adj.): The way people stand when examining other people’s bookshelves.
Coodardy (adj.): Astounded at what you’ve just managed to get away with.
Dalfibble (vb.): To spend large swathes of your life looking for car keys.
Harbledown (vb.): To manoeuvre a double mattress down a winding staircase.
Imber (vb.): To lean from side to side while watching a car chase in the cinema.
Popcastle (n.): Something drawn or modelled by a small child which you are supposed to know wait it is.
Spreakley (adj.): Irritatingly cheerful in the morning.
Yesnaby (n.): A ‘yes, maybe’ which means ‘no’.
These words are actually place names, mostly from locations in the UK, and have been matched to meanings that don’t yet have words of their own. Brilliant!
Another thing I love about words is onomatopoeia.
What is Onomatopoeia?
The word ‘onomatopoeia’ comes from the combination of two Greek words, one meaning ‘name’ and the other meaning ‘I make,’ so onomatopoeia literally means ‘the name (or sound) I make.’ It’s the formation of a word, like cuckoo, drizzle, murmur, honk, or boom, by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent. And yet, like phonetically not being spelt phonetically, the word onomatopoeia goes no way to describing it’s meaning by the way it sounds.
Now, watch as I lift the tip of my fishing rod, and land this elusive, metaphoric, tangent fish!
When I grow up I want to be
One of the harvesters of the sea
Primus – John The Fisherman
I love toy photography for similar reasons that I love words. Toy photography can paint a picture, in the same way onomatopoeic words can. The essence of a photograph of toys can be told without words, yet conjure many.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Yep, it sure is. But what words are we hoping our photographs of toys are worth? Are we content with our photos evoking words like good, nice or fine? Or would we rather they conjure words akin to resplendent, formidable, ambrosial or rapturous? Don’t we want our picture to be worth a thousand eloquent words?
I imagine that toy photographers, to the unaware, are assumed to be people that play with toys, and that is then tenuously associated with childishness or immaturity.
Let’s discredit that assumption by opening a thesaurus of words to aspire to.
Phew! I’m coodardy I managed to reel that one in!
I completely agree with you Brett! I get so many comments of “neat” or “cool pic” or something mundane like that on my photography… Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy getting any interaction with my photos, but the same simple comments over and over again get old rather quickly. I recently decided to be the one to change this somewhat by leaving long storyline comments on photos of others that I really enjoy. Making up a story to go along with the image shows that we really can apply a bit more time in appreciating ones artwork and put in more than a lame “great pic”. There really are thousands of words to describe something awesome like toy photography!
I am as guilty as the next for commenting with words that fall short of “sublime, majestic, or resplendent”! Words often fail me when confronted with an amazing toy photograph, and I resort to the first words that come to mind. Maybe, if we have aspire to evoke greater words, they will follow?
Since I read this post I’ve been trying to be better about my comments. If I’m going to take the time to comment I should trying harder than “Nice” or “Awesome”. Thanks of the reminder to slow down, be thoughtful and leave a meaningful comment. Its also helping me to really look at the photos, rather than a quick off the cuff reaction. Thank you!
I initially wrote this as an aspiration to aim higher from behind the lens, yet it has also made me reconsider not only the words I want to evoke, but the words I use to praise the photos I encounter. And, as you said, this has in turn, made me linger on photos…which is a good thing!