“Take Nothing But [Fill in the Blank]”

Book of Ash: Seascripts

How would you fill in the blank? Could you? Catchphrases are intriguing intuitive devices, ingrained within our brains at some indeterminate point in our past. They are not necessarily straight-forward pieces of knowledge: it may take a discord between what we read and what we expect to read to illuminate those intuitions in the first place.

take nothing but photographs kakum ghanaAt the entrance to a perilous canopy walkway in Kakum National Park, a rainforest situated in Ghana, we came across this sign. While the gesture is important from an ecological standpoint, it invoked in me a sense of nostalgic frustration linguistically. Because, a few years ago, the maker of this sign would have chosen a different final word. And in that choice lies a time lapse: a picture of an obsession into which many of us have slid, almost unbeknownst to us. Where the painter has inked, “Take Nothing But Photographs,” my mind supplies…

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