following through rock

I  used to dislike giving titles to photographs. Then, for reasons I’ve never bothered to try to understand, I began to enjoy giving titles to photographs. Sometimes the title means something; sometimes it’s just a word or phrase that makes an otter slide into my head and I slap it on the photo.

I did that this morning. I was getting ready to post a faux Polaroid in my traffic signal series and I needed a title. I called it Lodestone. No idea why. I wasn’t entirely certain I knew what a lodestone was—a primitive magnet of some sort used as a compass?

It turns out a lodestone is a naturally occurring magnetized mineral called (are you ready for this?) magnetite. But what’s really interesting is that lode is the original spelling of load, and in Middle English it meant a path or a course. Somewhere around the 16th century, miners began to speak of following a vein of ore through the rock—following the lode. They would then carry the lode (load) out, and eventually folks began to differentiate between lode and load.

Because magnetized stone would, if suspended, always point North, a lodestone was a stone that showed one the way.

I still don’t have any idea what that has to do with the photograph. But I learned something new. So there’s that.

1 thought on “following through rock

  1. Well, I learned something new about you. To my mind, your titles are more often than not, as interesting as your photographs! In fact, a few weeks ago, I chose your self-portrait under the light of the brother’s garage for the Utata Front Page. I wrote all about the title you had given it here, on this blog, and all about how much I love your titling, in general, only to pull up the image on flickr and see that you has given it a much less exotic title that was not worth writing about! Perhaps I should have written about THAT, and posted it anyway, but alas, the thought did not occur to me now. Though since it has now occurred, keep your eye on the Front Page in the coming weeks.


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