Week 3: Fun

A simple word.
Yet so powerful and hardwired in our deoxyribonucleic acid.
Our DNA.
Are we not all hardwired to play and have some fun.


According to almighty Wikipedia:

Fun is the enjoyment of pleasure, particularly in leisure activities.
Fun is an experience — often unexpected, informal, generally not cerebral and generally purposeless. It is an enjoyable distraction, diverting the mind and body from any serious task.

Hmm. Interesting.
I for sure had fun when I mindlessly explored the fields of snow and felt the sun warm my cheeks today.
Not sure it was all without purpose, but I agree it was an enjoyable distraction that freed my mind.
Made me happy.
Stuck in Snowflakes.

Shooting Snowflakes … Endless Fun.

Lady W. continues:

Although particularly associated with recreation and play, fun may be encountered during work, social functions, and taking pictures of toys. It may often have little to no logical basis, and opinions on whether an activity is fun may differ but most toy photographers will tell you that they have fun in some way or another.

And there are psychological and physiological implications to the experience of fun but more on that later.
So where did this simple three letter word that sound like run actually comes from?

The origins of fun.

The word “fun” is associated with sports (next week word is Fitness), entertaining media (did anyone say toy photography), high merriment (another posh word for fun according to Webster), and amusement. Although its origin is uncertain, it is most probably derived from fonne (fool) and fonnen (the one fooling the other) which in 1727 meant to “cheat, trick, hoax”.
A meaning still retained in the phrase “to make fun of”.
Fun, a word with more depth than one would think of at face value.
For sure.

Seriously Fun!

The way the word “fun” is used demonstrates its distinctive elusiveness and happiness. Expressions such as “Have fun!” and “That was fun!” indicate that fun is pleasant, personal, and to some extent unpredictable.
Expressions such as “I was making fun of myself” convey the sense that fun is something that can be amusing and not be taken seriously.
Or …?
The adjective “funny” has two meanings which often leads to confusion.
One meaning is “amusing, jocular, droll” and the other one is “odd, quirky, peculiar” according to W.
This all turns this three letter word “fun” into a slightly bigger adventure.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Fun it is.” quote=”The evanescent and experiential nature of fun and the difficulty of distinguishing ‘fun’ from ‘enjoyment’. ” theme=”style6″]

Fun’s evanescence can be seen when an activity regarded as fun becomes goal-oriented. Many physical activities, individual sports, and crafts are regarded as fun until the participant seeks to win a competition, wants to increase its social standing or turns the fun into a profession.  A turning point at which stage, much of the fun may disappear as the individual’s focus tightens.
Toy photography (or photography in general) is no stranger to this.
Lots of amateur (as in non-professional) photographers at one point try to take their game to the next level and risk losing the fun of it.

A most interesting observation to keep in mind when exploring this weeks word. I for sure like the kick of fun and don’t want to lose it in search of something else.
Fun is important for me.
Toy photography should stay fun (for me).


Fun and play are two categories of life, familiar to (almost) everybody at a glance. Not just for us Sapiens but also for other living beings who enjoy to play and have fun (did anyone say cat pictures). Psychological studies reveal both the importance of fun and its impact on the perception of time.

Fun it is.

Or like Wonder Woman used to say:

[clickToTweet tweet=”Time flies when I am having fun with my invisible jet” quote=”Time flies when I am having fun with my invisible jet” theme=”style6″]

My Inner Child.

For children (and some adults like myself) fun is strongly related to play and they have great capacity to extract the fun from it in a spontaneous and inventive way.
Play “involves the capacity to have fun – to be able to return, at least for a little while, to never-never land and enjoy it.”
And that is exactly what I am exploring with my inner child.
Return to the never-never land and play with fairy dust.

Under the hood.

Lady W. explained that scientists have identified areas of the brain associated with the perception of novelty, which are stimulated when faced with “unusual or surprising circumstances”. Information is initially received in the hippocampus, the site of long-term memory consolidation, where the brain attempts to match the new information with recognizable patterns stored in long-term memory. When it is unable to do this, the brain releases dopamine (that substance that is also released when you get a like notification on social media). A powerful chemical which stimulates the amygdala, the site of emotion, and creates a pleasurable feeling that is associated with the new memory.

Ouch. In other words, fun is created by stimulating the brain with novelty and a little bit of dopamine.

The Eight.

And Wikipedia does not stop there. Lady W.  learned me that there are 8 archetypes of fun. Not just one. Not Three or Seven. Endless fun. Eight. Sensation, Fantasy, Narrative, Challenge, Fellowship, Discovery, Expression, and Submission.

I do resonate with all(most) all eight in my toy photography.


The act of creating emotions in the viewer by manipulating sight, sound, and pace. Especially the manipulation of sound and pace comes to mind and this fun image of Woody in the Caterham Seven. Fun it was.

The sensation of moving leaves.


The experience as a make-believe that uses immersion into a fake reality where you can experience different things that in real life.
I think this one we explore a lot being toy photographers.

Fake reality. Or real. Kay travels the world. Just like us.


This type of fun is created when a story charms the person and makes him experience and imagine situations far beyond their reality. Just like on this planet.

Exploring the story. One flower at a time.


The sense of fun produced by facing difficult events or tasks that require all of the person’s ability to succeed. A great feeling of reward commonly comes with it.
And that is for me exploring new photographic techniques like capturing the water.

A challenge it is. This planet. And this rainy umbrella.


This type of fun is created when cooperation and coexistence with other people make the group unite and face events helping each other.
Toy photography safaris are a very good example of this.
But so are these fellows.



Fun is created by finding secrets and hidden things.
A sensation of individuality and uniqueness.
A feeling of belonging.
A feeling of being able to share these secrets.

I own a special word of thanks to this one. I (re)discovered fun. Thanks.


When feelings and thoughts of a person are shared and freed to others this type of fun is born. And I loved the expression in Jessie face here.

My first thought of fun.


This type of fun is achieved when the person obtains a lot of goods in a short period of time. Sometimes these goods are easy to come, however, what produces the sensation is the fact of possessing.
Like Anton.
Kind of.

Where is Anton? The alumni of Antons was just great fun.

The Thirty Odd.

I will not psychoanalyze all the images you submitted this week and see if they fall into any of the eight categories, but I am sure you had fun, just like me, in taking them.

[instagram-feed type=hashtag hashtag=”#SIP_Fun” num=16 cols=4 showcaption=false]

My Final One.

And here is my “fun” image of today.
A simple one.
Two old friends.
Enjoying the snow.
Following their wanderlust.
And having fun.

Having Fun.


PS. Large pieces of this article are copied and then modified as part of an homage to the power of W amongst others. All credits, kudos and eternal love goes to W. for being my personal light of wisdom.
And yes, I donate.
And I have fun.

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6 years ago

Great article. All these definitions and looks for the word fun makes me see how narrow was my own interpretation of it.

Thank you for giving me new inspiration.

6 years ago

I also connect strongly with most of the fun archetypes. Maybe I should have relied more on Lady W, which I did for the more apparent difficult words but not for “fun”. It might have helped me select a photo this week. Maybe next time…

PS: it’s fun(ny) how the snow looks different in Stockholm than here in Oulu :-)

Dan Cooke
6 years ago

I’d love to know the creative genius behind the K2 image in front of the tower at Pisa – I love the work done on the figure to weather him.

6 years ago

Fun. What a mighty force. Such a great source of energy. And a strong band to connect many. Right now I’m not thanking lady W for all her wisdom and inspiration but you, mister B, for all that you’re giving and sharing. May it be the basis for fun, the leap of faith provided always and again, or simply a glimpse of an incredible master plan (like posting this one on exactly THIS date. Planned consciously or not not. Brilliance and awesomeness…). Here’s to the road ahead and to the fun it’ll bring…

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