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  1. #11
    lee
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    I agree with David but I don't think of it until I am ready to hang a show. These gallery types seem to want to put a label on everything. Generally place and date are enough to satisfy those conventions.

    lee\c

  2. #12
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    Where did names come from. It is my understanding that early on in history we were named by a given name to identify us within our family. "Come here _______. " Without his name there would be confusion. Maybe no dinner.

    Then as we traveled, moved around, socialized we needed a name to identify where we were from. Jesus of Nazareth, Bob of Tulsa. Then we also needed names to identify who we "belonged to" like Angus McGregor where the Mc" means from the clan of Gregor, or Eric von Trapp where the "von" is from the family of Trapp. We loved this tribal thing because it gave us a sense of belonging and security.

    That out of the way, when we talk about paintings, sometimes names are an identification. Whistler Mother --a name. Otherwise it's " that painting with the old lady facing sideways.... Or Mona LIsa, with out that name, what is it,-- the annoying painting with the insipid grin.

    I have attended many photography competitions where portrait photographers and others have named their work, partly for identification and partly, I'm sure, just to piss me off. Cutesy stupid names for cutesy stupid pictures. Oftentimes to add mystery or eloquence to a picture that didn't have any.

    Where would we be if music was not named. We all get our own experience from music and they are all named. Do the names affect the experience, I don't think so, often they add to the experience.

    So to answer the thread, I'm torn. On the one hand, we humans like to identify things so we can discuss them or curse them or whatever. In that case I see names as being valuable and important.

    On the other hand as others have said, don't give away the ending. Let the viewer lead themselves through the story and attach their own meaning to the piece. A name could mess up the experience.


    So besides not knowing what the hell I'm talking about, I don't have an answer.



    MIchael MCBlane

  3. #13

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    I spent some time in Tokyo as a student and do believe that in the Kanji (Chinese style characters) alphabet the characters are created by the thing it depicts and not simply the creativity of man. I only name those images that have already identified their names to me. Most times, especially when I work to achieve a technical type of shot, I title (as oppose to naming) the image (e.g. Sunset, Stockholm, Sweden or Winter Pond etc..).
    Francesco

  4. #14
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    As usual, there is no single answer. A name, a caption, any verbal attachment to a picture is, in a way, a separate (mental) picture. The combination (I would usually say "collision") of these two ideas (picture & words) can at best result in a stronger whole; at worst, the picture will be hopelessly skewed and ruined. Your intentions, and your savviness about the context and predjudices of the viewer(s), need to be your guide -- just as they should be when presenting the photo in the first place.
    One could as easily label your white stump "Punishment." What sort of photo is it now? What about the title "Atonement," or maybe just "Graveyard"?

    An aversion to words that force the viewer's interpretation are why so many photos get labelled simply "Kent, 1983" or "Santa Clara, 2004." But even such place names can be loaded with history and meaning. Is your stump in Shenzen, Nova Scotia, Chiapas, or Glendale?

    How about: "My Dog Did This." Now what has become of this shot?

    (BTW, the January Aperture contains an article of interest about news photo titles and captions -- the writer's conclusions land not far from my own thoughts)

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  5. #15

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    I do name my images, It's easier for me to keep track of what I was looking for, what I was thinking about when I executed the image and where it conforms within a series. The series which dictates the approach to a particular image. The last thing I want to do is generically label my creative process so that I'm looking at engineering data. When someones work catches my eye I look at it, then if theirs a title I read it. That means I get to look at the image twice. Once for my interpretation and once for their intent. Double my money. I will say however The title better work or it could ruin the piece.

  6. #16

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    I'm glad this topic has come up. I'd appreciate some input.

    I have been seriously pursuing photography for a couple of years. I lacked focus and found myself shooting anything, which I suspect was the biggest reason for disappointment. Anyway, I gave myself a project about reconnecting to the simplicity of childhood. Things I recall that were imaginative and fun. The *eventual* goal is a portfolio of images I want to submit for exhibition.

    Being this is my first attempt at anything "ambitious", I am making this all up as I go along. So I started with the title for the project; Ghosts of the Imagination. Then I made a list of titles for images I had yet to take, that I *want* to take, words that evoke emotions I can convey (or try to) on film.

    I'm stimulated by words, quotes, poetry, music, etc... Many times it is a single word or phrase that inspires me to take an image. Something sparks a fire, and I pursue the image I "conceive" in my mind. So, am I crazy and working ass-backwards, or what??? So it's not a question of my images begging for a title, it's my titles begging for an image.

    To answer the original post, personally a title doesn't make or break an image for me. I either like an image, or I don't; it has nothing to do with the title; whether it's descriptive, documentary, or "clever". In the whole giant scheme of things, it's irrelevant. It's just another label that allows us to converse with others about what you've seen. A title helps stimulate the recall of the visual experience. Or, that's what I think anyway.

    So, I'd like to post an image in the Non-Gallery Pictures forum. Would you mind looking, and give your honest feedback??? In this instance, does the title help, support, or totally piss you off?

    http://www.apug.org/site/main/album_...hp?pic_id=2034

    Thanks in advance for your input and guidance.

    ~edye
    One should really use the camera, as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind.-Dorothea Lange

  7. #17
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    We had a discussion here a while back that I participated in, in which I said all artists set up rules for their work, and then work within them. Several other people disagreed.

    I think what you are proposing - setting up titles (emotions) and then seeking photos to express them, is you setting the rules for your work, and is a legitimate way to work if it achieves what you're looking for.

    Good luck and post some of the images.
    juan

  8. #18

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    My reply to the comments that were given to the picture I posted, and it's title. The opinion is so far that it is redundant. So, here is the other part of my question that I now must ask. I appreciate the experiences you all share, as I am trying to learn as much as possible...thanks for your guidance.

    Ok, so there is an agreed consensus...I'm over the top here. I appreciate the input, I'm taking mental notes. In your opinion, do you think such titles can cause a body of work to be taken less seriously? I mean, this project and the ultimate goal of it, is very important to me. I don't want to be discounted on such a trivial aspect. I approach the idea of titling as an extension of the creative process, but perhaps I need to think about it more. Hmmm, this is interesting...and something else to keep me awake at night! I know it's been said it's a personal matter, but....well, you guys got me thinking now.

    edye
    One should really use the camera, as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind.-Dorothea Lange

  9. #19

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    Your last post mentioned a body of work. Is the posted image part of a group of cohesive or related images? If so, the portfolio title may be all you need to introduce the body of work. Perhaps a single paragraph with the images would "set the stage" for the viewer.

    If the work is for a potential gallery, I suppose from a comercial standpoint I would try see what is prevalent for title conventions among those that are represented there. Maybe contact another photographer represented.

    If the image is part of a project could you give us some more details? From seeing the image posted it looks very interesting.

  10. #20

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    Yep, this is part of the body of work. Whether it's cohesive or not, well I guess I'll know when I finish.

    The gallery (or the first I attempt) I plan to submit to, posts a short bio and artist's statement along with the images. Not even a full page, so it's short and simple. Come to think of it, most exhibitions are simple one-word or untitled images. I have soooo much to learn, this art stuff is frustrating!

    Would you like the long story of how the whole idea came to me, or the abridged version? The abridged version is in my previous post. I'll spare you the boring details, unless you ask for it.

    Oh, and Juan, I apologize for hijacking your post! Forgive my rudeness, but it has been very helpful to me.

    edye
    One should really use the camera, as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind.-Dorothea Lange

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