Complete Visual Dictionary Created Using Photos from Google Image Search

General consensus seems to be that a picture is worth a thousand words, in which case Ben West and Felix Heyes‘ unique take on the dictionary, complete with 21,000 entries, metaphorically contains closer to 21,000,000 words worth of content. That’s because their dictionary doesn’t hold a single word, only the first Google image search result for every word you might find in your regular Webster’s.

The resulting PDF, which was eventually turned into a beautiful hand-bound tome, falls somewhere between cultural experiment and art. What would our culture, essentially, look like in pictures? Now we know. Sadly, the outcome isn’t too pretty, according to West:

about half of the book is revolting medical photos, porn, racism or bad cartoons

But what else would you expect form a self-proclaimed “unfiltered, uncritical record of the state of human culture in 2012?”

In case you’re interested, the book was created using a PHP script West’s brother Sam wrote for them, so no million man hours went into cataloguing this behemoth. And if you’d like one for yourself (be warned, as you may have guessed from the above quote, the book was compiled with safe search disabled) they may be putting together a limited softcover run soon. Head over to Ben West and Felix Heyes sites for more info.

Google (2012) (via Engadget)

Image credits: Photographs by Ben West and Felix Heyes

  • Henri

    All the copyright infringement discussions this is going to start!…:)

  • Rick Bennett

     That was my first thought. As an art project–very cool and interesting. But if they sell a book, good luck not getting sued 21,000 times.

  • Natepowersphotography

    As a fine art or personal project I think its great However, This is a project that has been published in a marketing or promotional perspective. while creative…Certainly infringing on copyrights of those images. 

  • Lenoat702

    Fare use

  • The all knowing one

    and compared to the OED???? Interesting for a Nano second. William Safire would be appalled 

  • Rob LaRosa

    First it’s “Fair Use” and second, this falls outside it. Fair use use includes commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship, not selling books.

  • yummania

    not fine.not fair.showing it as a great find also helps and encourages copyright infringements.