My favourite: Henry Hawthorne

23 September 2016

Henry Hawthorne studied law but ultimately found himself working as a lexographer. His love of words is matched by his love of travel. Here he talks about his six favourite things, while also demonstrating his photographic skills.

Henry Hawthorne

Henry Hawthorne (BA (Hons) ’09 LLB (Hons) ’11) briefly worked as a corporate lawyer after leaving the University of Sydney, but quickly changed career paths. He completed a Master of English Language at the University of Oxford, leading him to his current position as a lexicographer at the Oxford English Dictionary. He credits nding his path to the many weird and wonderful ideas he was exposed to at Sydney. 


1. Favourite word? "Silhouette"

Not only do you pronounce just half the letters of ‘silhouette’ (truly a word for the lazy), it also has a cool etymology. In an attempt to resurrect the ailing French economy in the 18th century, Etienne de Silhouette imposed taxes on the rich and the church. He was duly sacked and associated with ‘cheapness’, with his name soon used to describe portraits done as outlines instead of proper paintings. I hope I’ve shown that the phrase ‘cool etymology’ isn’t always an oxymoron. I took this photo last year during the solar eclipse, among the spires of Oxford. 

Ottolenghi recipes

2. Ottolenghi Recipes 

Sure, most of acclaimed Israeli-British chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes are just different permutations of five ingredients (chilli, lemon, garlic, aubergine, pomegranate), but they’re delicious all the same. At the time of writing I’m about to go to one of Ottolenghi’s London restaurants, where I’m sure to discover just how wrong I’ve been getting it at home. 


3. Coco

There’s not much to say about this except that she is our new Jack Russell Terrier puppy and she beams healing light into the world of anyone who meets her. I encourage you all to get a Coco in your life. 


exotic locations

4. Flying to exotic locations

A major consolation of living in darkest, greyest London as opposed to lovely, sunny Sydney is the existence of RyanAir and EasyJet. Over the last four years I’ve been on micro-jaunts to many of Europe’s highlights (and, frankly, some of its lowlights). I took this photo of a bee flying to its own exotic location in sunflower fields outside Geneva. 

bird photo

5. (Bird) photos

I like taking photos of basically anything 
(see but particularly birds. The beating wings demand high shutter speeds, the speed of flight thwarts easy focus, and their far-from-unflappable nature requires ninja stalking skills. I took 
this while walking along a canal at dusk 
in Cambridge. 

hiking Berchtesgaden

6. Hiking

There’s no surer sign of my passing into middle age than my recent obsession with hiking. When I was in my early 20s I at least used to run long distances – now I just amble, with camera, hiking poles and hydration equipment in hand. I snapped this in the mountains around Berchtesgaden, Germany. Nothing gives you a sense of perspective like standing in the shadow of ancient, monolithic mountains.

Photos supplied by Henry Hawthorne