Dominique Issermann Presents Photographs of Model Laetitia Casta in Paris

There’s no denying in the current Maison Europenne de la Photographie exhibition that Laetitia Casta is extremely beautiful and that the photographs of Dominique Issermann are done very professionally and are themselves visually quite beautiful. Likewise, the installation is quite pleasing and dramatic.

Sadly, for all the beauty of the model and the talent for capturing light and composition of the photographer, the series is not particularly interesting and falls prey to the common weakness of fashion photography–notably that there’s nothing there beyond the decorative aspect. I’m being a little harsh as there are some clear efforts to create a sense of mystery in some of the shots. However, there is no in-depth research in this project and little true inspiration and even less passion.

Dominique Issermann is a very talented technician, she even has a nice feel for creating a mood. The final images are quite beautiful, the installation in the galleries of the MEP are very professional. However, the work–and especially the model–is presented with such a reverence (there are as many as twenty stools left in the gallery to offer all the worshippers a comfortable opportunity to spend as much time as they need to take in the beauty of Casta and the genius of Issermann. This is a truly laughable choice in the gallery–and almost as ridiculous as having installed a map at the entrance to show all the special spots in the thermal baths where the photos were taken so that each visitor can take note so they might, themselves, make a pilgrimage to the sacred location where the photos were taken. Pathetic!

Naturally the MEP wanted to focus some of this period’s exhibitions in the fashion realm to coincide with Fashion Week in Paris. But it would have been nice, instead of seeing a weak performance by a big headliner, to see something fresh by an up and coming photographer that might push beyond the standard fashion/beauty imagery.

As a side note, while on the surface I’ve always appreciated how the MEP dedicates its various spaces to artists at different stages in their careers, I must admit to some real disappointment when I see the museum devote its precious space to displaying work by a non-photographer like Marc Fumaroli who presents truly and embarrassingly weak photographs. He’s an intellectual and critic, not a visual artist! With all the remarkable talents there are out in the world that never get a chance to present their work in such a context, it’s a shame to waste it like this.

The MEP is a museum and while much of the time it presents an interesting cross section of exhibitions it often seems to fall short of upholding what seems to be the mission of a museum which would be to present a full cross section of photographic work that is of high quality and interest.

Basic English Grammar: Certain Techniques Used by an Indian Teacher Presented to Share the Pleasure


Indians have great love and admiration for English language. This is, in spite of the onslaught by various Governments in Independent India, giving importance to native languages. English teachers are one of the most respected lots among the society. Each teacher has his technique in teaching English. The author of this article, as a freelance teacher to adults has some methods to teach Grammar. Nine of them are listed in the following paragraphs.

I. Parts of Speech compared to Parts of Human Body:

The author used to compare the 8 parts of speech to a gorgeously dressed woman as follows:

1. Nouns and Pronouns: Head.

2 adjectives and adverbs: Garments and ornaments.

3. Prepositions and conjunctions: Various joints of the body.

4. Interjections: Footwear.

5. Verbs: The LIFE in the human body…

Head is the most important part of the physical body. Likewise nouns (and pronouns) form the subject and object of a sentence and lead the sentences in active and passive voices respectively. The subject noun is the Karta (doer, owner) of the sentence which it leads. & it determines the nature of the verb depending on numbers (singular or plural),

Adjectives and adverbs are like ornaments and garments adding lustre and beauty to a sentence. A garment is not a part of the physical body but required to glorify a sentence. A person who knows the best use of adjectives stands unique in writing and speaking English. The problem with Indians lies mainly with usage of adjectives. They wish to speak impressive English and most of the time they fail because of lack of vocabulary in adjectives and adverbs.

Prepositions and conjunctions are like internal joints, joining various parts and positioning them. The body cannot function properly without these joints. A sentence will be complete only when conjunctions and prepositions are properly formed. Otherwise one has to depend upon sign language only.

Thus, we have briefly seen a comparison of parts of speech to parts of human body leaving discussions about VERBS to the following paragraphs.

II. Verbs Play the Vital Role in Forming the Sentences:

This article mainly considers the role of verbs in English language. The verb formulates a complete sentence. Sometimes, it may be hidden. But without a verb there is no sentence. So, let us consider some interesting aspects of verbs in this brief article.

Hidden Verbs:

There are three helping verbs which are hidden in most of the times, occasionally coming out. They are ‘do’, ‘does’ and ‘did’.

Examples using the helping verb ‘do’:

‘I take my daily food in hotels’ implies that ‘I do take my daily food in hotel. Here the word ‘do’ is hidden. Rarely it comes out in the open like ‘I do take my food in hotels’ only when I wish to stress that I take food in hotels emphasizing the fact.

The following sentences may be stressed by separating ‘do’:

They (do) assist poor students.

I (do) complete my homework in time.

You (do) watch sky every night.

Another place where ‘do’ comes to open is when making it a question.

Do they assist poor students?

Do (not) I complete my homework in time?

Do you watch sky every night?

Examples’ using the hidden verb ‘does’:

The verb does is used only for third person singular subjects,

My son (does) go to school by 9 A.M.

She (does) sing very well.

He (does) like hot coffee.

Here also the word ‘does’ is separated from the main verb for emphasising and for asking questions.

In the same way the helping verb ‘did’ is used in past tense in all the nouns. Readers may try a few sentences using this past tense helping verb.

These simple examples were given to drive home the point that in simple present tense and simple past tense the helping verbs ‘do’, ‘does’ and ‘did’ are hidden and in all other tenses, the helping verbs precede the main verbs. This implies the fact that in English language all verbs are accompanied by helping verbs. Examples of other helping verbs are ‘may, can, will’ etc. Readers may refer to any text book and note that action verbs are always preceded by a helping verb or by a hidden verb as explained above.

This aspect of English language is very much recognised by English teachers in India.

III. Use of ‘An’, Striking Resemblance in English and Tamil Pronunciations:

Indian students are very much aware that the article ‘an’ is to be used before any singular noun starting with a vowel. They promptly answer that a,e,i,o,u are the five vowels in English equivalent to 12 vowels in Tamil language. Some teachers explain that there is another alphabet which does the work of vowel and that letter is ‘y’. This is because, combined with alphabets the letter ‘y’ forms consonants (like my, why, gym, rhyme etc).

What interests us more is use of the article ‘an’. The rule is that, a singular noun starting with a vowel is preceded by ‘an’. That is true in the cases of a, e, i, o. But not so in ‘u’, because it has two ways of pronunciation: first like ‘yu’ (United Nations) and the second as ‘a’ (American) in umbrella. When it is true that an umbrella is right, the phrase ‘an useful idea’ is wrong. (It is a useful idea)

It leads us to the conclusion that pronunciation is the criterion to select between ‘a’ and ‘an’ and not the syllable and that is why it is pronounced ‘an hour, an honest man’ etc (because ‘h’ is silent)

In other words, whenever a singular noun starts with the sound of a Tamil vowel. We should use ‘an’. This is because all the 12 vowels of Tamil language can be contained in the pronunciation of 4 vowels a, e, i, o of English language.

This fact is very much appreciated by English teachers who speak Tamil and Tamil students who learn English are pleasantly surprised over this striking similarity.

IV: Genders: Similarity between Tamil and English

There is another striking similarity between Tamil and English in formation of nouns representing genders. In Tamil there are two broad categories. The first is ‘higher’ category and the second is ‘lower’ category. The higher category is further divided into two as masculine and feminine genders. There is no gender for the lower category. The same formula is followed in English also. There are masculine, feminine and neuter genders (neither masculine nor feminine). In other words, in both the languages, gender is fixed only for living beings depending on the sex and inanimate beings are only neuter genders (save exceptional circumstances like Motherland etc). It is not so in the case of most of the languages like French, Sanskrit, Urdu, Hindi etc.wherein Gender is fixed for inanimate objects also depending upon the pronunciation. This is a one reason why Indians prefer learning English to other languages.

V. Silent letters:

There are several interesting aspects in English teaching admired by native Indian, especially Tamil speaking teachers. Normally an Indian student starts learning English from the tender age of three. Hence the grammar rules are very deeply inscribed in them. One such rule students learn from the beginning of school days is ‘Silent letters’ in some English words. Both the teachers and the students derive lot of pleasure in locating the silent letters as the case may be.

Some examples of words with silent letters are: Apostle, coup, corps, Wednesday, handkerchief, listen, castle, and whistle.

Readers may collect any number of words with silent letters as a hobby.

VI. Subject, predicate, object compared to an electric locomotive train:

The subject of any sentence is compared to the ENGINE of a locomotive and the entire predicate forms the carriages attached to the engine. The object is compared to the guard van which is the last compartment of the train.

This example is used to explain active and passive voices. In active voice the subject (engine) carries the entire train whereas in passive voice, the guard van becomes the engine and carries the wagon (like a local train which reverses its sides in the terminus). Conversion of object into subject is explained using various examples. In passive voice the object of the active is converted as the subject and the subject is converted as adjective phrase

E.g.: The newspapers flashed the news: Active

The news was flashed by the newspapers: Passive)

‘The news’ is the object in active form and it becomes the engine in passive form and ‘flashed by the newspapers’ is an adjective phrase in passive forms. Dozens of sentences of this type are explained to the students to impress upon them how passive voice is an important technique in English language to form more emphatic and impressive sentences than active voice.

The term ‘adjective phrase’ requires further explanation. The word ‘flashed’ is not past tense but it is a past participle. Past Participles are used in all perfect tenses and passive voice sentences. Sometimes they form the sentences independently (subject and verbs hidden) like: killed, passed, liberated etc. These forms of sentences are used in Newspaper headings, telegrams, sports etc. “Bowled’, ‘caught’ are the two very famous slogans in cricket, meaning that somebody is caught or bowled out.

VII. Uses of Participles:

The concept that past participles are adjectives leads us to another important conclusion. In fact there are three participles: Present, past and perfect. Present participles are derived by adding ‘ing’ to a verb. Added with an auxiliary verb it does the work of forming a continuous tense. & secondly it does the work of adjectives like: drinking water, writing table, swimming pool, dancing girl etc. The third work is that they do the work of nouns which are named as ‘gerunds’. Examples are: Smoking is injurious to health, Swimming is good for health, seeing is believing etc.

Perfect participle is adding, ‘having’ with the past participle.

Having come to India, I wish to see Tajmahal. Having seen the film once, I do not wish to see it again.

VIII. ‘Frozen’ VERBS and ‘Melted’ NOUNS:

The author is glad to submit these two concepts which may be new for some of the readers. We know that the main function of a verb is to convey the tense in which an action takes place which no other part of speech does. That is why verbs are defined as the ‘life’ of a sentence in the sense that verbs keep the time of action felt. School students learn present and past tenses of a verb and normally another form known as past participle is given. (E.g.: do-did-done). The third form does not represent any tense but they are adjectives. In the above paragraph, it was explained how they perform the function of adjectives and how do they form the sentences independently.

Another use of past participle is that the verbs become NOUNS in the form of past participles. That is what the author describes as ‘frozen’ verbs because they no longer represent tenses. Let a few examples be given as follows:

dig, drink, set, shake, slit, stand, strike, hit, leave, aim, act, clash, lift, permit, report, comb,
award, help, pay, answer, ban, cheat, deposit, digest, control, curse etc.

These verbs show various tenses when used with appropriate helping verbs, function as adjectives and in addition, they act as nouns also. It may be noted that the above are nouns though their root form are verbs. In other words they are frozen to become nouns.

When verbs are frozen to make nouns as above, some nouns are ‘melted’ to make verbs. Please note the following sentences:

The murder convict was ‘sentenced’ to life imprisonment. (Sentence)

The gangster was knifed to death. (Knife)

He penned a letter to his girlfriend. (Pen)

Several heads were guillotined. (Guillotine)

It is a doctored report. (Doctor)

He engineered a master plan to usurp the wealth. (Engineer)

The extra cautious father policed his daughter’s movement. (Police)

Readers can identify hundreds of nouns formed out of verbs known as perfect nouns and also verbs made up of nouns as above. Usage of such nouns and verbs will add lustre to the beauty of the language used.

IX. Origin and root of words:

Another most useful exercise for English learners is to go deep into origin of any word including its root, spellings etc along with equivalent words. For this purpose, a learner should always possess a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopaedia. The student should always refer the above till he is fully confirmed about a word’s usage.

It is a very useful and interesting exercise to find out the origin of English word, sometimes from other languages too. A very few examples are given here below:

addenda, agenda, alma mater, de facto, errata,ibidem, ipso facto, prima facie are some of the words borrowed from Latin and Greek,

Adieu, chauffeur, coup, elite, octroi are from French.

There are some Sanskrit and Tamil words also converted as perfect English. It will be a fruitful exercise to go through a dictionary to find out such words.

Likewise, English has mixed in India to such an extent that even the most illiterate people use pure English words totally forgetting original native equivalent words. In Indian bus stands, it will be a common sight to see rustic ladies selling, ‘distilled water, seedless fruits, sugarless tea’ shouting the same phrases. For most of the English words, they do not know vernacular equivalents.

Other useful exercises suggested by this author are to go through the newspapers regularly and also watch English channels. It should be followed by noting unknown words and consulting dictionary to know the meanings. Only this exercise will improve the vocabulary and it is a permanent asset for a learner.


This article is a condensation of an Indian teacher who teaches English as adult education. Certain essential aspects of grammar with special reference to various parts of speech were explained. It was insisted to refer to the dictionary on all the occasions. No doubt, the article deals with basic grammar only, but a strong base is required to construct a strong building. We may be able to see more advanced topics in days to come.

It is sincerely hoped that readers will surely share the pleasure which the teacher enjoyed in teaching Basic English grammar.

Dr B.Sathyanarayanan (65) is an experienced administrator, teacher and writer. He is M.Sc(Physics) from Annamalai University. He studied Psychology and Philosophy as two additional subjects for graduation. He worked as a PHYSICS LECTURER for 2 years (1969-1971). Later, he had to take up a bank job and continued Physics and Philosophy research privately. At the age of 50, he got voluntary retirement from banking service to devote more time for social, educational and research activities. In 2005, he took up Physics teaching once again and is continuously teaching for the past 8 years as a regular professor of Physics.

He continued his interest in Psychology and got his PhD in Psychological counselling in 2000 and is counselling on HIV/AIDS matters. He teaches English for adults. He is a well known writer in English in fiction and article writing. His writing is recognised internationally by listing in the directory of World Philosophers, Bowling Green State University, U.S.A.

All along his life so far, he remained a scientific philosopher in thought and deeds. He considers Albert Einstein as his role model in Science and J.Krishnamurti, in Philosophy. His first book ‘The Simple Truth”, a comparative study of Religion and Science, was published in 1987. He is publishing the annual magazine ‘Philosophy of Science’ (since re-started). He founded Holistic Philosophy Society for the study of Physics and Philosophy. His latest book ‘Glimpses of Holistic Philosophy’ has been widely acclaimed. He conducts regular meetings on various topics on Physics and Philosophy in Chennai. He recently conducted a “Two days seminar on Religion, Science and Social Services” in Chennai, India which was attended by senior Professors of Physics and Philosophy. As an experienced author, he is glad to present the above article for the kind attention of readers.

Mastering Movement While Presenting

A problem you may have in public speaking is how to move effectively and what to do with your hands. There are no absolutes in being expressive in your delivery aside from exhibiting no expression, the latter of which is boring and most certainly the fastest way to put your audience to sleep.

So how do you move when your nervousness is in control? Let’s look at the situation from a different point of view. When you are in conversation with your friends, your family, or your colleagues, do you move? Do you smile when you speak or possibly frown when in doubt? Do you move your hands or gesture while talking? If you are standing, do you move your weight from one leg to the other from time to time?

The above scenarios are all normal means of expression when in conversation. If you are not sure whether you move or not, it would be a good idea to video record yourself while in conversation. You may feel awkward in the beginning but after a couple of minutes, you will forget the camera is there.

Study the playback and watch yourself. If, like most people, you are speaking with some life, some emotion, some form of expression, then I suggest you do the same thing while presenting. Remember, your audience is there to here you speak, not someone else. In that sense, they came to hear the real you: the person you are in conversation – not some stiff, expressionless individual, spitting out some words in front an audience.

Color or speaking with emotion is very individual and that includes your facial expression and body movement as well. Some people with speak with more color, some less. There is no right or wrong with color aside from having no color which I mentioned earlier. What I do not suggest is to make movement for the sake of movement. Whatever you do on stage should look natural.

I worked with a woman who kept throwing her left arm into the air when she gave her presentation. Afterwards, I asked her what she was doing with her arm. She said that she was a member of Toastmasters and that they had told her that she did not move enough. Unfortunately, Toastmasters did not show her how to move her body correctly. This is where a video camera can be most beneficial.

If you don’t move while speaking, your audience will. And, that is not what you want. Keep them mesmerized and focused on you and your words by treating them as if you were having a conversation in your living room with your family or friends or standing around the water cooler in your office.

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To get started improving your presentation skills, click Voice Training and Presentation Skills for Nancy’s free ebook.

Who’s Present At The House Closing

Though the house closing may be rather simple transaction that one lawyer could effectively handle it is advisable the seller and the buyer bring a lawyer at the closing to represent them. This is very important especially for low or no money down transactions for home buying.

Below are the people who are expected to be present at the house closing:

1. Seller’s Lawyer

The seller’s lawyer should be present at the closing to represent the seller’s interests. Documents that may not have been available before the closing might have to be reviewed. Often minor last-minute decisions must be made.

2. Buyer’s Lawyer

Your lawyer will have to be present for the same reasons that the seller’s lawyer attends the closing. In some states the buyer’s lawyer represents the mortgagee/lender and possibly the title company (which insures the buyer’s title to your home). In these instances the buyer’s lawyer may have to be approved by the lender and/or the title company to perform the necessary functions.

3. Seller’s Mortgagee

If the seller has a mortgage outstanding, the seller’s bank may require that its representative (perhaps it’s a lawyer) attend the closing to obtain the check from the home buyer for the amount of outstanding mortgage balance due. In some instances it may be possible to avoid having the seller’s bank’s representative present and simply have the buyer’s lawyer represent that bank and forward documents and payments to your bank at a later date.

4. Escrow Agent

This is usually an independent party, perhaps a representative of the title insurance company. Whether you’ll use an escrow agent depends on the custom in your part of the country. The escrow agent will handle all of the money and paperwork associated with the closing. The escrow agent will generally use the sales contract as a guide to assure that all the terms of the contract are adhered to, the monies are appropriately applied (e.g., to pay outstanding real estate taxes, utility bills). Sometimes a list of steps to be taken by the escrow agent, perhaps called as the escrow instructions, is prepared to summarize the escrow agent’s responsibility and the money and documents the buyer and seller must each furnish to the escrow agent. The escrow agent may arrange for the recording of documents, payment of repair or insurance costs, proration of insurance or taxes, and other matters necessary for the closing.

5. Real Estate Broker

To pick up the commission check and provide you a statement indicating the commission has been paid in full. To assist in resolving any questions or disputes between the buyer and seller concerning the condition of the property, personal property involved, or other matters.

6. Title Insurance Company

A representative may be present to provide the buyer with the title insurance binder, to clear up any title exceptions, and to collect the payment due to the title company.