I think titles can give insight but they don't have to explain. Usually things are not as they appear. A title is an additional hint into what the "artist" has in mind.
as far as what is written by the person creating or capturing the image, I'm not sure. Over a body of work or a long period of time working to accomplish a cohesive effort for a specific group of images I think the original idea changes and evolves. So what they say in the beginning,then the middle and the end probably sounds very different. Though the fragments of the original concept are still in tact, life and learning usually help to evolve further revisions and new opportunities within the idea. Maybe after someone goes through this process they grow the confidence and understanding necessary to be able to talk about their efforts.
Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!
Funny you should say that! My particular favorite from the time when I attended a lot of workshops was a series of pictures of twigs and leaves in mud which was stated to be an "exploration of the Icarus myth". A close second would be a photographer who used some science lab equipment to devise a means of holding a series of Petri dishes one above the other. He then filled these with water, floated individual words torn from an old Bible in them and photographed them from above. This was a statement about the eternal nature of God's word, although due to poor photographic technique the highlights were burned out and the words on the paper were unreadable. The most immediate visual association I was able to make was with used tampons floating in a toilet bowl, which of course just goes to show how stupid I am!
Originally Posted by donbga
Hi there Rio,
One day you will not be there to explain your work; therefore it's vital you accept three truths...#1 is one day you will be not be there to ever explain your works again...#2 is everbody interprets the world through their own expectations and accumulated life experiences (they will see within your images meanings completely unexpected by you, but equally valid to your own)...#3 is that considering #1 and #2, the best you can do is pour everything you have into your way of seeing and your prints so you have the confidence to let them live on their own.
By the way...I can talk the talk...but I'm not sure my own work has the legs...
Does everybody have "The Portfolios of Ansel Adams" on hand? Check out Portfolio Four, "Northern California Coast Redwoods". Some may see this image as a majestic stand of old growth forest; natures expression of exquisite interdependance, of endurance, of life. Others will recognise it as the edge of a logging clear cut; another piece of remnant rain forest doomed to fall, death soon to be, a requeim. Did Ansel see this image simply as compositional glowing columns against a dark background, or did he know it would have a deeper meaning after his death, or after it was logged?
As artists we must have the confidence in our vision / art to allow the WORK ITSELF to speak on it's own. Ansel's dead & gone...as we will be...it's up to us to leave a body of work that can speak for itself. This is as it should be.
Before I started B&W I did slides exclusively. Last Thursday I did a slideshow in my cameraclub. I never imagined it would be so hard to explain the slides and why I shot them. So I fully understand your problem. How do one explain emotions, feelings and so forth. That experience made stop trying to explain my pictures. Ole is right we are photographers not poets (well some may be both)
I'm another that never explains my pictures. Many artists throughout history never explained their great works, so why should I explain my humble offerings. It's much more interesting to let someone see your work and listen to what they see in it and what meaning they put on it. I'm not sure if that helps in any way, but please don't feel that it is a failing on your part. As Ole said if you could put it in words then you could be a poet instead and save yourself all the time and energy capturing the light.
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As I think about all of my favorite photographers, I can't think of one that does more then either list place, object or date or "untitled".
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
Not sure why you think these concepts are antithetical. Just another example of the misogynistic old-school patriarchal order that so infects the art world. Goddess bless!
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
I would think that the ability to describe an image verbally is a great advantage to marketing/salemanship also. Since I'm not a verbal person, this would be very difficult for me.
I have seen many images, that without three paragraphs to describe it are just snapshots. After reading the attached description & still not understanding what the hell was going on, I figured it was the old BS/MS/PHD trick(bulls**t/Mores**t/Piled Higher & Deeper) & walked on.
I think it was Dylon Thomas, who when asked to explain his symbolism in his poetry, he said (and I paraphrase) that if he explained the symbolism he used in one poem, people would use that to explain the symbols in all of his work, when he may change the use of certain symbols from poem to poem.
Very rarely do I talk/explain what my work means. I leave it to the viewer to form their own interpretations.
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
"I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc
My personal opinion is that if a photograph needs to be explained to a viewer then it has failed miserably.