The Vocabulary I Learned Today

mascot (n)

a person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck or that is used to symbolize a particular event or organization.

amulet (n)

an ornament or small piece of jewelry thought to give protection against evil, danger, or disease.

oxymoron (n)

a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true ).

empirical (adj)

based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

The spectator has no empirical knowledge of the contents of the off-frame, but at the same time cannot help imagining some off-frame, hallucinating it, dreaming the shape of this emptiness. 

convergent (adj)

coming closer together, especially in characteristics or ideas

Using these strikingly convergent analyses which I have freely summed up, I would say that the off-frame effect in photography results from a singular and definitive cutting off which figures castration and is figured by the “clicknof the shutter 

cleavage (n)

a sharp division; a split.
Freud considered fetishism the prototype of the cleavage of belief 

patriarchal (adj)

relating to or characteristic of a patriarch.

relating to or characteristic of a system of society or government controlled by men.

Psychoanalysis, as Raymond Bellour has often underscored, is contempo- rary in our Western history with the technological arts (such as cinema) and with the reign of the patriarchal, nuclear, bourgeois family 

Mutilate (v)

inflict a violent and disfiguring injury on.

Mutilated face of victim was left unretouched by the mortician at the mother’s request. She said she wanted ‘all the world’ to witness the atrocity.”

The Vocabulary I Learned Today

poignantly (adv)

in a way that evokes a keen sense of sadness or regret.

enunciation (n)

the way of articulating words clearly and distinctly according to the rules governing the language

Roland Barthes, whose Camera Lucida4bears witness to this relationship most poignantly. It is not only the book itself but also its position of enunciation which illustrates this kinship, since the work was written just after (and because of) the death of the mother, and just before the death of the writer. 

treacherously (adj)

guilty of or involving betrayal or deception.

Photography is the mirror, more faithful than any actual mirror, in which we witness at every age, our own aging. The actual mirror accompanies us through time, thoughtfully and treacherously; it changes with us, so that we appear not to change. 

castration (n)

the removal of the testicles of a male animal or man.

The fear of castration and its further consequence, its “fate,” are necessarily different, at least partially, in children whose body is similar to the mother’s. 

simile (n)

a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g., as brave as a lion, crazy like a fox ).

Peter Wollen states this in an apt simile: photography preserves fragments of the past “like flies in amber.” 

perpetuate (v)

make (something, typically an undesirable situation or an unfounded belief) continue indefinitely.

Film is able to perpetuate the memory of dead persons, or of dead moments of their lives. 

libido (n)

sexual desire

verdict (n)

a decision on a disputed issue in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.

The compromise which normally concludes this inner struggle consists in transforming the very nature of the feeling for the object, in learning progressively to love this object as dead, instead of continuing to desire a living presence and ignoring the verdict of reality, hence prolonging the intensity of suffering. 

disavowal (n)

the denial of any responsibility or support for something; repudiation.

metonymically (adv)

a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (such as “crown” in “lands belonging to the crown”)

The Vocabulary I Learned Today


a self-defence system, martial art, and combat sport system that focuses on grappling with particular emphasis on ground fighting.

lexis (n)

the total stock of words in a language.

The lexis is the socialized unit of reading, of reception: in sculpture, the statue; in music, the “piece.”

pertain (v)

be appropriate, related, or applicable.

Another important difference pertains to the social use, or more exactly to their principal legitimated use.

confound (v)

cause surprise or confusion in (someone), especially by acting against their expectations.

Our culture still has a strong tendency to confound art with fiction.

kinship (n)

blood relationship

The kinship between film and collectivity, photography and privacy, remains alive and strong as a social myth, half true like all myths

keepsake (n)

a small item kept in memory of the person who gave it or originally owned it.

Photography very often primarily means souvenir, keepsake.

discrepancy (n)

a lack of compatibility or similarity between two or more facts.

contiguity (n)

the state of bordering or being in direct contact with something.

phonic (adj)

relating to speech sounds.

In the auditory sphere – totally absent in photography- cinema adds phonic sound (spoken words), nonphonic sound (sound effects, noises, and so forth), and musical sound.


a special method of examination of a vibrating or fast moving object, such as the vocal folds. A bright flashing light lasting a fraction of a second (10µs) is used to illuminate the vocal folds. This flash ‘freezes’ the movement of the vibrating vocal folds.