French Scrabble [Alamy image ref: AYP30R]

I’ve enjoyed the board game Scrabble for at least half my lifetime, despite being beaten more often than not, and bought a French version on arriving in this country a decade ago. There are several subtle changes though… the numbers of individual letters are different. In the UK version there are a total of 98 letter tiles plus two blanks. In French Scrabble there are 100 letter tiles plus 2 blanks, and the numbers of letters are different to reflect the language with fifteen rather than twelve “E” letters, six “O” tiles rather than eight, six “U” and “S” rather than four, and other variations… which surprisingly do change the flow of the game if playing in the English vocabulary.

So I had a choice of adding visual interest to this stock shot between adopting English words – for the wider world – or adopt a French theme with the intention of specialising in an already fairly saturated niche. The layout had to be simple because the letters take up only a small area of the image and have to be readable… so I chose part of French philosopher Réné Descartes’ memorable quote, “Je pense, donc je suis” (I think, therefore I am) and added the English translation on the other tile holder, placing the “Je pense” and “I think” letters strongly in the foreground.

My three carefully composed Scrabble board images hover at around 350th place out of almost 1,300 examples – of which close to 550, more than a third, are Royalty Free (including fifty rather repetitive examples from the same contributor – another good reason for Alamy employing editors?) which is strictly against registered name copyright rules as clearly stated on Alamy’s own contributors information pages!Shot in the garden under diffused sunlight with a 12~24mm wide-angle Nikkor set at around 20mm and stopped down to f/16, the difficulty was in keeping as much as possible within a sharp plane of focus… but the closer I got with the zoom lens at the widest setting, the more distorted the image became, to the point of being ugly.

But as a result of this fairly simple, but thought out exercise, this image, and another very similar example but taken straight on rather than at an angle, were sold twice to Canadian educational textbook publishers on 5-year licenses as well as to a South Korean book publisher on a 1-year license. I’m hoping for more sales in time as they are occasionally ‘zoomed’ by registered buyers more so on average than any of my other image searches.

%d bloggers like this: