30 January 2011


Air bubbles trapped in an icy stream literally freeze motion

Thinking about words and light

This is a blog about photography and words. Both images and words fascinate me. There's the old adage that "a picture is worth a thousand words," which sort of suggests an opposition between the two. It's true that an exceptional image can tell a story or evoke countless thoughts and reactions all on its own. But I find there can also be a kind of symbiotic connection between words and images that brings them together or adds a new dimension to both. (This can be as simple as the photographer's choice of an image title.)

So in this space you'll find me posting some images, musing on words, and sometimes exploring the intersection between the two.

It makes sense, then, that this first post should be about the word photograph. The word combines two Greek roots meaning "light" and "to write".* So photography is, both literally and figuratively, "writing with light" - a metaphor others have explored.

I'll be playing with it, too, with A Little Light Writing for a little light reading about words and images.

* One of my favorite websites is the Online Etymology Dictionary, which will pop up again and again here. While it's not the real OED, I'll use that abbreviation informally to refer to it. Accordingly, my "OED" gives the following information: the Greek root photo-, comes from phos "light," while -graph comes from graphein “to write, express by written characters".