Tuesday, May 19, 2009

OMG - New Word (and new mag)

Excitement this morning here in Buck Hollow!

I stumbled across a new word. I mean really new! No faint bells mumbling in the back forty of my mind, no "yeah, I used to know what that meant", nothing. Just a brand, spanking new word! At my age it is a very rare experience to discover a new word that is not jargon, slang, or technical/scientific. Flashes a chill up the spine it does.


Of or relating to the sense of touch; tactile.
Greek haptikos, from haptesthai, to grasp, touch.

And, of course, to look it up I had to dig out my Random House Unabridged--this word just ain't in your run-of-the-mill, sit-on-your-desk-for-spelling-lookups dictionary.

Curiously enough, its entry there is in the plural. . .

haptics: the branch of psychology that investigates cutaneous sense data.

I was also interested to find that its etymology is Greek. I've studied both Latin and Greek and my experience has been that though we are accustomed to giving the nod to Latin for many word derivations, our language also has a very large number of very important words that have come to us from the Greek language--a language that is both beautiful to look at and to hear. (telegraph, anthropology, and hippopotamus spring to mind immediately.)

But I'm still amazed that I have never come across haptic.

And, full credit to the man who brought it to me: Jeffrey T. Baker, an alt-photographer living in Portland, Oregon. He used it in a interview (a very interesting interview) with Diffusion, a new magazine whose subtitle is Unconventional Photography. The first (and so far, only) issue came a couple of days ago and I just got around to reading it this morning. As far as I've gotten in it, it seems to be quite good. Well illustrated with a good mix of articles. My only complaint is that the typography of the text could use some help. It is sans-serif, justified, and widely letter-spaced so it looks a bit like a second-grade reader done small. For thoughtful reading, it is much better to have a serifed typeface which helps to hold the letters together into their meaningful word units and aids the eye in sliding easily through the lines.

But, if you have interest in any kind of experimental photography/art, you might well want to get a copy of this. Unlike many photo-centered publications, it has as much or more about art and creation as it does about techniques. This is a real plus for me. The mag is edited/started by Blue Mitchell, curator of the Plates to Pixels web site and copies of Diffusion can be obtained from the magazine's site
diffusionmag.com for $10 (which includes mailing). I'm dirt poor and I think this precious $10 was very well spent.

1 comment:

  1. You're spot on with the typography, this issue has been changed for the next issue of Diffusion. Thanks for reading and enjoying!