It’s All in a Word That No One Can Pronounce – Why ‘taSauwur‘?

I’ve had a few emails from readers asking for further clarification on the meaning of the word ‘taSauwur’, and why I used it as part of the title. Although I have mentioned this in the book and press packs here it is again:
Sauwur?’ is the word I use in asking people of the Arabian interior for permission to photograph them, those in their charge, or their homes, etc. In searching for this word via internet translation sites I was directed to:

Francis Joseph. A Comprehensive Persian-English dictionary


Beautification at one of the numerous roundabouts on the Sultan Qaboos Highway

Here I came across the wordtaSauwur’:
“9. تصور taṣauwur : (page 305)
(v.n. 5 of صور), Being painted, pourtrayed, framed, fashioned, formed, imagined, conceived; imagining, fancying; imagination, fancy, supposition, reflection, image, idea; contemplation; conception, perception, apprehension;–taṣawwur bastan (kardan), To imagine, to picture to oneself;–ba-taṣawwur āmadan, To be imagined, to be conceived (m.c.).
تصوریدن taṣauwurīdan
a تصوریدن taṣauwurīdan, To”

After another few hours of confirming this translation I adopted it as the perfect concise expression of my endeavour, and when the decision was made to self-publish, ‘taSauwur’ was the obvious preference for a publishing name. After all photography – the technique of painting with light – fitted the word like a glove. I decided to capitalize the ‘S’ in order to place emphasis on it, and because I like the quirkiness of doing so.
There is only one major draw-back; no one, including myself, can pronounce the word correctly. But on the plus side, it’s effortless to find the website and reference to the book through internet search engines, as I’m the only one using the word. The next closest spelling of the word, and of similar meaning is ‘tasawwur’, which is also used as a boys’ name. Therefore, an internet search for ‘taSauwur’ will almost always present a link to the book ‘taSauwur Sultanate of Oman’ and ‘’.

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