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All in the name

By Ruth Slavid
The photo opposite is of an ooze. While we might think of ooze as just a descriptive word, according to photographer Dominick Tyler it is also a word used in the South East for a large tidal mud flat. He knows because he has set up the Landreader Project, to create a glossary of the English landscape.

Photo ©: Dominick Tyler

It is in two parts. He is inviting members of the public to submit words with photographs and locations of the words on a dedicated website www.thelandreader.com. And next Spring, Guardian Faber will publish a book called Uncommon Ground which will show his photographs of landscape features against stories and histories of the features described.

As for the ooze, Dominick Tyler writes, ‘There are several examples of oozes in the Thames and Medway estuaries including Ham Ooze, Slede Ooze and Stoke Ooze. This image looks out over Bishop Ooze in the Medway. Ooze is one of the many landscape words that I’ve found which go above and beyond the simple job description of a noun. Rather than just designating a thing or a kind of thing, words like ooze evoke the nature of that thing, in this case the ooze is as the ooze does. What better word could there be for a mass of mud?’

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