The aesthetics of words

Those of you you have been following my photography for a while have perhaps noticed that I most recently began to use quite different titles for many of my images. I’ve always been of the opinion that a photo should have a title, at least a descriptive one (as opposed to those who say that a photo should work for itself, without a title – an equally valid point, and “The opposite of a great truth is another great truth.” as Niels Bohr said). I think that combining the aesthetics of words and sound with my photos works very well, and finding these recent titles is an addition to the artistic process that I found highly enjoyable (as I’ve always been fascinated by words and languages, characters, typefaces, and their appearance and sound).

Hospital Point, La Jolla
Ruhani — Hospital Point, La Jolla, CA. August 2013.

The titles may appear abstract or even weird and yes, some of them are just that: fantasy words without any actual meaning, that I chose solely because they somehow sound truthful, and connect well with the photo. “Ephemolas” for example is not an actual word, even though it sounds a little bit like “ephemeral” – which was not originally intended, but I liked how the word contrasted with the photo (at least the cliff portion in it), and in a way strengthens the expression that, in the end, everything is ephemeral indeed, partly captured through the long exposure that completely eliminates our usual perception of water.

Other names are translations of an often simple and plain English title into a different language – chosen for the sound and aesthetics if they fit the photo. “Creithiau” for example means “scars” in Welsh, and I liked the complexity and sound of the word and it’s combination of characters. As a whole, I found that it simply fits the idea and thought of “scars” very well, and thus the photo.

Yet other titles are derivations of such translations. “Vistono” from the recent Swami’s gallery for example is derived from Esperanto “Kvin ŝtonoj” which means “Five stones.” – the direct translation didn’t sound “round” enough (for lack of better words), I wanted a word that was more “flowing” in a way, yet with a slight edge to it… and Vistono has that quality.

I don’t know how and if I will be able to apply such titles and the thinking behind it to anything else but long exposure seascape works yet. We shall see. :)

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