Usually coming at the end, and part of the overall package of producing an image, is usually the question of giving it a title. If you decide a title is necessary, which begs the question is it necessary, do you give it one as an afterthought or spend some time trying to find a word or a phrase to just match the picture or perhaps convey the mood or feeling that YOU had when taking it.
The vast majority of images are record shots of places, people, nature or things and which are presented as such to the viewers, so it's fairly simple to title them as, 'St Paul's, 'Liitle Jimmy at Xmas', 'Bluebells' etc,etc.
Some resort to numbering pictures, Seaside#1 and so on, and I suppose that's OK if you are able to see the other seaside images ad infinitum.
Do you think titles are necessary, useful or of interest? After all it's the picture that counts.
Good question. Most titles are descriptive and not really necessary.
I have given all my photographs on this site a title, mainly out of habit. Some are totally unnecessary (snow, tree etc) and with some I try to convey how [I]I[I][/I][/I] saw whatever I photographed, probably to explain why I took the shot. (Fairy Tale Tree)
I think titles can give that little bit extra to a photograph; a sense of fun for instance, or a feeling of unease. And I suppose they can also detract from the photo; a banal title can 'spoil' a good shot, I think.
I haven't given it too much thought so far, but you made me think!
Indeed a good question. A possible answer might be that it depends who will view the image and when.
'Little Jimmy at Christmas' would mean little to most viewers but 'Little Jimmy at Christmas 2010' could be very helpful to family viewing fifty years from now.
Giving a title to a photograph of a place can avoid viewers thinking 'I wonder where that is?'
Many titles are completely unecessary, but providing numbers (and dates?) in groups of images helps viewers identify each for critique when that is the intention.
Possibly the most tricky to deal with is the image that is intended to tell a story. The story may be very clear in the photograher's mind but will viewers recognise it without descriptive clues? For example, would viewers have recognised a possible drug deal in Abers' 'The Drop' without that title?
I'm really looking forward to what others have to say on this subject.
Sometimes a title sets the mood and the intention of the photographer. Titles can guide the viewer towards the thinking of the photographer and the reasoning behind taking the image in the first place, especially if it is not fully apparent by looking at the image itself. Some titles are ambiguous and therefor a bit meaningless, especially if the image speaks for itself. On the whole, titles are really tags to help the photographer recall them I suppose.
For me, it's fairly straight-forward..... for pictures (either prints or digital images) that people may need to identify (like in a competition, or a gallery - real or online) I'll want a title. If it's just something for Facebook or Flickr there's not much point. If it's an image that's, in practical terms, for somebody else - like wedding pictures, party shots - the customer/client can decide for themselves.
I'm just preparing some pictures for entry into my club's annual print competition and downloaded the entry form. It is not a requirement for prints to have titles in any of the categories except :-
COURLANDER CUP (Natural History) Descriptive titles and correct species identification must be included where relevant.
Since I don't do Natural History photography this is of no interest to me but I have been amazed in the past to see where a print has been disqualified because the judge has known that the species identification attributed to the subject has been wrong!
So beware all you flower snappers, don't get your Galax urceolata mixed up with your Buglossoides!:confused:;)
I have to agree the title is important to Camara clubs.... Our last meet we saw a display of shots from The postal photographic club, the size of the shots are only 7 x 5 so you cant see much detail ( from where i was sitting ) most of the comments from the floor were the normal good/bad shot but a lot of comments were to do with the title and how it relates to the shot.
One shot " secure moorings" got a few comments but when we saw the shot at full size the title was very fitting.
So not only do you titles have to be correct and relevant but the Judges / crowd need to get what you mean.
where is the light?
Marily, my wife, complains that our home is like a photo gallery. None of the photos have a written title (although my children would like to write a word or a phrase on the wall) because we are always present to explain to our guests what they see. We are there.
But as I have thoroughly written in this photographic site the basic question is " what do we see here ? "
A photograph for an advertisement doesn't need a title, we know what we see. A photograph in a newspaper doesn't need a title, we read the article. But if we see the same photographs in a photo exhibition, or at a portfolio somewhere, it should have a title, or a chronological theme, or something for recognition or for a classification in our mind, especially when the artist is not present and in more cases he is not well known.
In magazines and photo-sites either a title, or a description is also useful, all of us we like stories and the more people involved the better. With the comments written for each POTD we have a reason to visit the site more than one time during the day. I read the artist's approach in the photograph or at his theme-title-descriptions, but I want and I need to read also ABER's, Andy's, Karen's, Amy's ... That way the artist and the audience are present in a dynamic relationship, which is not easy to be built. We are people from different places, of different ages or education etc. but that makes it interest. And this is what makes the wheel to move.
Of course when you make a photograph, only in very rare cases you have a title in your mind (for me this is impossible).
About the mistakes you have mentioned, these digital days we can see mistakes for which the theory of optics would ring the bell. Mistakes in scale, in perspective, in lighting. Those are more important. Only levels and curves can be fixed and callibrated any time.
So, titles : yes.
Comments & Descriptions: here yes.
Writing with light: yes, a photograph is worth a 1000 words.
Painting with light : with care at geometry and search " where is the light? "
If you have a look at the work of Duane Michals he not only titles his work but he adds lots of writnig to the shots as well. I think some need titles and description and some do not, its down to the photographer at the end of the day.
Most great works of art by the old masters had titles, as photographs replace painting for most people, a title is most apt. :D
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