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  1. #21
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Back to the original question: "Should we ...?"

    If you want to. The "title" *CAN* set the stage - create an atmosphere - mindset that will have an effect on the perception of the work. So will the mat, the frame, the color and texture of the wall, the location of the gallery....

    The title is a tool. I wonder if Dali's "Dream Evoked by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate" would be perceived in the same light with another, simpler title.

    "Should we ...?" I don't have any answer other than, "If it seems that it should in your aesthetic judgement - GO to it".
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  2. #22

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    Above all else, titles should not limit the viewers experience of the photograph. Usually a title naming the object(s) in the photograph says that that is all the photograph is about. The viewer is directed not to see anything more than that. Other times, use of "Untitled" gets in the way of the viewer's experience of the work--if they are wondering where something was made, for example.

    In an exhibition I once saw there was a Walker Evans photograph of a church in Albama. The title was simply, "Alabama." Someone else may have titled the photograph, "Church in XYZ Alabama." To my way of thinking the first title implied that this was a photograph of a whole culture. As such, it expands the viewer's experience of the picture. The second title forces the viewer not to make a connection like that and, in this regard, would be not as felicitous a title.

    The worst titles are the "cute" ones and titles like "sunset." They direct the viewer's experience rather than giving the viewer credit for getting something more out of the picture, perhaps even more than the artist intended.

    All photographs that are works of art are about something more than what they are of. And what they are about may be something different to each viewer, for each viewer brings his or her own life experiences to the activity of looking. For the viewer, the art of seeing, of receiving, is a participation in the creative process no less essential and direct than the artist’s own. Do not limit that experience with poorly chosen titles.

  3. #23

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    A photograph captures me from the outset - if it has a title I probably will glance at it only AFTER I have finished paying attention to the photograph. I think this is because letters are not as striking as images. Because I see titles only after the fact I am never concerned that a title will cheapen or enhance a photograph. The photograph speaks to me about itself (or what I feel is its message) irregardless of how it is titled.

  4. #24

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    My titles are normally just the location of the photograph, "Chimney Tops Trail, Frozen Stream", "Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains National Park", "Abandoned Silo, Marion County". etc. I tried naming photographs years ago but it just didn't seem right. It seemed like I was trying to limit the photograph to what I thought about it at the moment I named it.

  5. #25
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    I had a similar experience as Juan. I submitted a picture in my local club competition. It was a macro shot of a rusty metal fish sculpture I had in my garden. I had to give it a name under club rules so I called it 'Rusty Fish'.
    The club then proceeded to spend 10 minutes trying to work out why the picture was called 'rusty fish' and I didn't get any comments or critique on the image itself. To them the name was more important than the image.
    For me the image should be the important thing. If I look at a picture and get something out of it that is different from what the author intended then so what. But to not look at the image at all because you are hung up on why it was called that seems to defeat the object of photography.

  6. #26
    noblebeast's Avatar
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    If we don't name them, how will they know to "come" when we call them?
    Latent Images Plastic Toy Cameras

    "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Howard Thurman

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by noblebeast
    If we don't name them, how will they know to "come" when we call them?
    You just have to establish a fixed relationship with them not long after their early development stages.

  8. #28
    noblebeast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwtroxell
    Quote Originally Posted by noblebeast
    If we don't name them, how will they know to "come" when we call them?
    You just have to establish a fixed relationship with them not long after their early development stages.
    What about the tone of the relationship? And can a relationship developed and fixed long ago still be reframed?
    Latent Images Plastic Toy Cameras

    "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Howard Thurman

  9. #29

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    Camera Club judges, if only they could see! At a recent judging an image I had painstakenly focused on a wrought-iron fence - used lens swing to keep the fenceline in focus - around a cemetery plot, the judge couldn't understand why I didn't raise my level of view to avoid having the fence block the view of the gravestones, which were 'obviously' the subject of the image. I usually use a brief location for title, but renamed this image "the Coopers' fence" to force viewers to not focus on the gravestones. Yet the image was much more than just a fence but rather the inter-relationship of fence, stones, hanging moss,etc.. Was it a failure of my vision or those looking at the final print? A name may help the viewer to better see the photographer's intent; or it may only serve as a reference point. I prefer the latter but am occasionally tempted by the former usage.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by noblebeast
    Quote Originally Posted by mwtroxell
    Quote Originally Posted by noblebeast
    If we don't name them, how will they know to "come" when we call them?
    You just have to establish a fixed relationship with them not long after their early development stages.
    What about the tone of the relationship? And can a relationship developed and fixed long ago still be reframed?
    Well, it really depends on your temperament. The tone of the relationship could be cold or, with a litle more work, it could warm up. Then again, if a relationship isn't developing correctly, you can always get really acidic about it and stop it from developing any further.

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