Numbering Objects in Titles
I've been thinking about this lately... I'm sure we've all seen the "12 Posts" or "7 Rocks" pictures out there. They are in no short supply. At first I dismissed this as cheese, though the photographs are often anything but... On second thought I must admit to counting those objects when numbered, it's almost impossible for me not to.
Now I'm wondering, does this take away from the image by changing the focus to specific objects within the photograph, when generally, the photographs with these names are minimalistic and more about the organization of tone and form? OR Does it simply stop the passerby/non-artist/layman and offer them another way into the sometimes esoteric world of fine art photography? After all, if you're counting objects then you're engrossed in the photograph in at least one way, and it may lead to other discoveries...
I haven't really formed an opinion and am curious what others think.
Last edited by Shawn Dougherty; 01-24-2007 at 02:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Originally Posted by Shawn Dougherty
I think you're probably right. Fascinating idea!
I don't like 'em.
I think titles are something to put thought into, not just objectify whats obvious. I can count the damn posts if I want to, but wheres the emotion in that?
Good titles can change a good photograph into a great experience, and transport the viewer into timelessness.
Once upon a time, there was an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest called "99 Luftballons". I tend to place anything with that kind of title in that same category. I may miss out on some great pictures (and songs) that way, but at least I'm spared a lot of drivel!
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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I agree with your assessment. A title, or the lack of one, can fundamentally change the way a photograph is viewed. Sometimes when I am looking at photographs I try to not read the titles on the first pass and then go around again reading the titles to see how it changes my perceptions. I'm usually surprised at least once in any given exhibition on that second pass.
Originally Posted by joshverd
I don't know... Did anybody really listen to Paul Simon sing "50 ways to leave your lover" and try to count them?
If I use a title like "Three Snags" it is because it makes it easier to tell it (from the title only) from a photograph called "Two Snags" . No big deal.
Since my titles are not on the front of the mat, the title does not influence the viewer, so again no big deal.
If the photo is in a show and there is a lable with the title below the print, typically, the viewer sees the image first from a distance, perhaps moves in for closer lok, then looks at the lable with the title. The first impression is already made before knowing the title, so yet again, no big deal.
Hopefully, finding out the title adds to the impression that the viewer already has of the photograph. If the viewer has a bias against certain types of titles, that's his/her problem...no big deal.
How about taking the time to make a thoughtful title?...no big deal.
If a thoughtful title adds to the work, great. My usual subject is the light on the landscape. "Thoughtful" titles would be rather contrived artifacts for much of my work.
Originally Posted by joshverd
You seem to be saying I should create special unique titles for every photograph. Not something I agree with. I photographic under the Redwoods a lot, quite a bit over the last 25 years...I can only use such titles as "Monarch of the Forest" , "Fallen Warriors" and "Ancient Giants" so many times!
As I wrote in another post somewhere... a title can add to a photograph as hand gestures add to a conversation.
"Good titles can change a good photograph into a great experience, and transport the viewer into timelessness."
I agree, but a thoughtful title is not always needed to do the same thing...sometimes the image is enough. And sometimes a thoughtful title can limit the viewer's experience...to channel the viewer's experience into the narrow confines of the phtographer's thought.
Just think how sad it would be if the artist of the Mona Lisa had included a title that expressed why she was smiling! All the wonder of that smile would be gone.