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Photographing Random Words

Updated on September 5, 2013
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

When you have been photographing for a long time or have written about almost every conceivable photographic technique or project that you could possibly think off, sooner or later there will come a time when you seem to have run out of ideas for your next photo adventure.

Times like this call for drastic measures...well sorts of. One such project is very simple in its conception, what can prove top be difficult is the challenges that come with each word. The project entails photographing the meaning behind a random word; what the word means, what it represents and so on.

One way to produce a list of words is to ask friends and family to give you a list of words and do one word on a timed scheduled like one per day, one per week and so forth. Another method is to use something like a random word generator.

The good thing about a program like this is that you have some control on the outcome. you can set what types of words; nouns, adjectives, verbs etc. You can further specify if you want common words, uncommon words or even obscure ones.

For example, take the word Secretin produced by the word generator under nouns/uncommon words; At first glance you would think that it has to do with secrets, in fact it is the name for a hormone; "Secretin is a hormone that both controls the environment in the duodenum by regulating secretions of the stomach and pancreas, and regulates water homeostasis throughout the body. It is produced in the S cells of the duodenum, which are located in the crypts of Lieberkühn.In humans, the secretin peptide is encoded by the SCT gene. Secretin was also the first hormone to be identified." Wikipedia

How would you go about recording an image that represents a hormone that controls the acidity levels in your stomach? Well you could simply drop an Alka Seltzer in a glass of water. Most people will associate this with something meant to control stomach acids.

The idea is not to complicate yourself unnecessarily, sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. How about the word sudatory? It has nothing to do with the country of Sudan. It simply means to sweat, sweaty; "sudation - the process of the sweat glands of the skin secreting a salty fluid; "perspiration"

The simplest way to capture an image that is representative of this word would probably involve you photographing a person's sweat, up close.

There are literary thousands upon thousands of words to keep you busy for years if you wanted to. The trick is to use such a technique when you fall into a lull and have trouble starting a new photo project.

Use this technique sparingly and do not become so involved with one particularly difficult word to which you cannot seem to find a suitable representational subject. Simply choose another word and move on.

Even if you do not sell any of the resulting images, think of the project as a way of opening your mind to new ways of looking at photography and how to approach difficult subjects.

CC BY-ND 2.0
CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source
CC BY-SA 3.0
CC BY-SA 3.0 | Source

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      RTalloni: Thank you

    • RTalloni profile image


      5 years ago from the short journey

      Interesting, and clearly, this tactic has lots of potential. Thanks for sharing this tip with some details on how to work the idea out.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      teaches12345: Thank you

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the advice. I can see how using the right photo enhances a word or topic.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Genna East: Thank you

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Selecting a random word to use as an incentive and inspiration for a photo project is a very interesting idea…I like this; it is creative in and of itself. :-)


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