Monday, July 14, 2008

Say Cheese!

Today's Wonder of the World is..."Say Cheese!" And Why We Say It!

And no, we don't say it because the photographer tells us to, and she looks like this.

Shoot. Now I'm going to have nightmares.

Hey, wait a sec. Before we go on, go back to that first pic.
This one:

It was done by Dadadreams, a very fun site HERE that I visit often. Dadadreams is a wonder at cool collage work. Go check her out. But before you do, let's get back to the point of this post.

If we didn't say cheese, we might look like this.

I'm glad people smile in pictures now.

Unless they've just started French school and have no idea what is happening to them.

What a somber group of enfants! Most of those kids are French, and they're not smiling either! My Sam is in the middle, the suspicious one.

There were no smiley American teachers hopping around, making silly faces. Just a business-like French person, maybe saying Ouistiti.
Ouistiti is what the French say instead of Say Cheese! You pronounce it weese-tea-tea.

Ouistiti means Marmoset.
Like this little guy.

Would you smile if someone told you to say Marmoset?
Maybe. If monkeys don't freak you out.

You might also smile if you knew that Ouistiti is actually the sound a flirty marmoset makes when trying to attract another lovelorn marmoset for some marmoset love. How about the French, naming the marmoset after its mating call!
Actually that's not so surprising.

That brings us to the point of this post (sort of, if it has to have a point.)
We say cheese because the word cheese makes our mouths form a smile at the end. Like this.

That's how Sam looked when he wasn't starting French school. And when he didn't need a haircut.

We could just as well say breeze or whiskey to make people smile.
You sweaty whiskey lovers out there are smiling, aren't you?
(Oh dear. Now my blog will pop up whenever someone googles sweaty whiskey lover. Oops. If you're looking for sweaty whiskey love, you're in the wrong place. Sorry.)

Ouistiti does the same thing. It makes French mouths form a sourire!

So what do other non-English speaking photographers say to make people smile?
How about...

Eggplant! If you're in China. (And go HERE to see where the eggplants come from! A magical etsy shop full of treasures!)


"Look at the little bird" in Brazil. That sounds familiar. Kind of like watch the birdie! Except the photo subject says it, not the photographer!

And in Denmark...

Say Orange!

And my favorite is what you say in Korea.

Kim Chi!
Oh the wonders of cabbage and white radish, fermented in a brine of ginger, garlic, and chili pepper.

But have you ever smelled kim chi?
It doesn't make me smile. It makes me go

Not a good way to end a post about tricking people into smiling.

Here, have a smiley photo of Tanner the Slobber Dog!

You don't even have to say Ouistiti!

Have a Wonder-full Monday, y'all!
And thanks to these flickr friends for making their photos public: Dadadreams, spurmarks, Carlos MF, floridapfe, purple moon fibers, West County Camera (away), andy 57, disneymike, sosarem.

Love, Becky


Anonymous said...

Oh how kim chi brings back memories for us while we lived in Korea. We started telling our kids to say, "kim chi" when they were having their photo taken while we lived there. Many Koreans don't even like cheese, but boy do they like kim chi for breakfast! When I was teaching kindergarten at a small Christian school there, my classroom reeked of kim chi breath from my little brood. It seeps from their pores! You eventually get used to it, but it does help if you eat it too to cancel each other out! Cucumber kim chi is much better than the radish one. Tammy Whitley

Robyn said...

This post definitely made me smile. Especially the pic of suspiscious Sam...what a cutie! And thanks for stopping by my're welcome back any time.

Rosemary said...

Hi Rebecca,
Great post as usual. You always put a smile on my face.
Have a wonderful week too!!

Suzie said...

Sam is too cute French school or no French school

Tara said...


Your blog makes me laugh! Thanks for the chuckle. Poor Sam!


Barb said...

Hi Becky,

I can always count on you to make me smile and laugh. Sam looked so serious but when he smiles...what a precious one.


Dadadreams' Curious Collage Creations said...

Thanks for making me smile and thanks so much for including my collage work in your WONDERful blog :)

Sherry Martschink said...

I feel like I'm saying "cheese" the whole time I'm reading your blog! Great stuff.
Sherry @

May Vanderbilt said...

Aha! One of life's great mysteries solved. Now if you could just explain what my friend calls "the unnecessary lean in."

Every single picture, Americans lean into the middle, even when they all fit very comfortably into the frame.

My theory is that we think it makes us look like we like each other... no matter who is in the picture.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey folks!
Tammy, I used to work in a lab with folks who LOVED kim chi, though I never developed a taste for it. Maybe it's the thought of eating fermented veggies. Yuck.

Hi Robyn, Rosemary, Susie, Tara, and Barb! And yes Sam was a cute two year old French student, except when he was throwing a fit about going to school! Eventually he got used to it-- except for the cantine. They'd spoon feed the children to make sure they developed the proper palate, and he never did appreciate that part of his education!

Michelle, my pleasure. I do love your blog!

Hey Sherry, love your new photo!

May, I know what you mean about the lean-in! I can't explain that one. Or why teenage girls in a group picture always stoop with their hands on their knees. I used to take class pictures of my chemistry students and they'd do that every time.

cindy said...

LOL! I love it...Tanner the slobber dog. Hee Hee Hee! : D


TattingChic said...

LOL! But I still don't know why we say "say cheese!" LOL. That was another fun post. It was fun to learn all the different ways other countries get people to smile for a picture.
I had a Japanese roommate in college who used to make kim-chee...ew...smelly stuff. Most of the stuff she made was absolutely DELISH! Thanks for the chuckle.

Michelle said...

How funny to find my eggplants on your blog. Funny post by the way. I'll have to go through the archives later when I get a chance.

Purple Moon Fibers

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey Cindy and tattingchic!
And hi Michelle! I tried to find you on etsy when I was writing this post, because I LOVE to feature etsy artists. And your eggplants are so fun! But for some reason I couldn't find the site last night. Don't know what that was all about. I love etsy, but sometimes it's hard to get on.

Anyway, your store is fantastic, and I'm adding a link from the post to it.
Thanks again for making your photo public!

Fete et Fleur said...

I can't bear the smell of kim chi! Fun Post!


willzmom said...

This post made me giggle-and that's a good thing! Didn't I read somewhere that kim chi will ward off the Asian flu? Must be the smell!

Nilz said...

Oh! Photographers here also say 'Cheese', or a more orthodox 'Simple Please' before capturing photos. 'Kim Chi' is the new word added to my collection.

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Cute kid you have. :)

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

I always wondered what people say in other languages to make others smile when taking their picture! Well, not really, but it was sure fun reading all of this! I have a fascination with languages and other cultures.


Mya said...

Love your post. Your little one is a cutie. I like the marmoset monkey he would make me smile, cheese or no cheese. When I think of France I always think of good food, fashion and the romance of Paris. I didn't realize they were so uptight. I can't believe they spoon fed the kids. I know how to sat "we we" but how do you say "no no" in french? Have a great week.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Mya, it's because when it comes to food, they are SERIOUS! And they didn't spoon feed all the preschoolers. Just the picky ones who wouldn't eat what was on their plates! Non non!

~~ATTIC CLUTTER~~ said...

Hi Becky
I can't find a comment link on the ''drive thru'' very fun post ..a beer drive thru yet ..LOL. hugs Patty

~~ATTIC CLUTTER~~ said...

HI Becky (;) again today...
Oh so glad you like the
'''capri~T shirt summer wardrobe''
..They are the best aren't they.... and thanks on my faux bathing suit pic(:)
hugs patty