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DPChallenge Forums >> Rant >> Photograph versus title
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07/31/2002 01:22:49 PM · #51
I honestly think that this is one of those things that we could debate forever and never come to a general happy consensus. That's cool. (Just gives me more time to spout off.)

I like titles. Really, I do. I enjoy using them to accentuate my photography in subtle and hopefully sometimes humorous ways. I enjoy seeing how other people come up with titles for their work. I would never want to dis-allow titles with any form of art. Funny, imagine if Handel's "Messiah" was called "Piece of Music." It DOES, and should be a guide for the audience, listener, or viewer. Imagine chaos at the local library without titles. (That would almost be funny!) Yes, these are extremes, but I do feel titles are important.

BUT

As said earlier, "a picture is worth a 1,000 words." I shouldn't need a 15 word title explaining what I am seeing. Okay, maybe I should, but most people should not. Example, and please forgive me if I use your picture. A while back, someone submitted a picture that was entirely black. No context, no depth, not even color for contrast. Just black. The title explained, though cryptically, what it was. I could see how someone could say that the title saved the picture. Though there wasn't much saving to be done. :-) (I kinda thought it was a brave idea).

Again, I am not against titles, and I think few people are. I just want to see them used as titles, not summarizations.

As to your "confession", KD, one of my titles that I played with explained my picture too. After looking at my score I think I probably should of used the other one!
07/31/2002 01:32:53 PM · #52
I remember that photo karmat and I thought it funny to see. I didn't get pissed off someone might be getting a chuckle on the whole thing.

But I have seen some INCREDIBLE paintings done all in one color where the paint depth, swirls, texture and so on created a fascinating thing to look at. I created a painting all in off-white where some sections of paint rose as high as 2 inches off the canvas. I made an Eiffel Tower suggestion in the painting and called the painting "Plaster of Paris".

Got an A+ in school :-)

Probably would only break into the 4's here :-P
07/31/2002 01:33:03 PM · #53
The title should only be used to submit a photo and not to describe a shot. A reader has to be able to decipher what the picture is about just by looking at it. The topic of the challenge should be sufficient as a description.

Originally posted by csb:
While voting on the corporate challenge entries, I noticed a large number of photographs that really didn''t meet the challenge. I''m finding that more and more, entrants are giving their photographs titles that might reflect the challenge, even though the photograph obviously does not.

When scoring a photo, I don''t give credit for the title. If a photo doesn''t meet the challenge, I give it a 1. Unfortunately during this round, I passed out quite a few 1''s, on otherwise technically nice photographs. I think stretching an image into a challenge by virtue of the title shows a lack of imagination and creativity, because the photographer shouldn''t bend the title to suit a qualification, rather than inspiration.

I''m interested in knowing the thoughts of others on this subject.

regards

--cs


07/31/2002 02:15:41 PM · #54
Originally posted by Patella:
Copied and pasted in its entirety from a thread I started at the beginning of the month:

... Some aren't going to see what I wanted because they're trying to ignore the title.

Maybe this is a good way to look at it. Imagine a nude woman, half-heartedly attempting to cover herself, standing in a giant clamshell with some other beings looking on. The challenge topic is mythology. I know my mythology, but I wouldn't get it from the picture. Then I learn that Boticelli named it "The Birth of Venus" and I think, "Ohhhhh.... right."

American Gothic? The Scream? Starry Night? Ophelia? Disintegration of Memory? Don Quixote? Nighthawks? For me, each of these pieces of art lack something important without the inclusion of the title.


as someone who's being flamed alive this week in the comments, and while not necessarily elevating my entry to the level of the pieces mentioned, I'd like to second this thought :)
07/31/2002 02:25:00 PM · #55
However, each of these paintings are beautiful even without the title. The title just seems to add an additional demention as to the artists dream consept. What about Mona Lisa? or Whistlers Mother? they might be better understood without a name.
07/31/2002 02:56:02 PM · #56
A title should be related to the photo, whether or not it is related to the challenge. The title then becomes the word that relates to a particular piece of work. If the "Untitled" shot became world famous, it would forever be rembered as "Untitled"! When you see the piece of work, you get the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say.
07/31/2002 03:05:31 PM · #57
They are indeed beautiful or interesting without the title -- however, the title adds another layer. A portrait of a farmer and his wife is all you would "see" if you looked at "American Gothic." You might find lots of interesting aspects of the photo -- the way it was painted, the details the artist chose to include, etc. But as soon as you add that very specific title, it puts a whole new slant on the photo. I can reinterpret this painting umpteen different ways after looking at a definition of the word "gothic."

My point is not that a title should explain the work to the viewer -- but I think it should be allowed to either create a context for that photo to work in, or allow for multiple interpretations. In general, I feel that if you find it necessary to include the challenge title in your photo, you're stretching that photo too far to make it fit.

With Fear, a number of people thought I was trying to play on THEIR fear of rodents by dangling a small gerbil in front of their face. Just by looking at the picture, I can see how they would understand that. It wasn't my goal at all, however. My goal was to show the fear of the RODENT and to create some kind of feeling of empathy in the viewer while simultaneously placing them in the viewpoint of the snake being fed. Without my title, much of this can be (and probably is) lost. Without the title to place it in a reptile house, there is no reptile in the picture -- and yet the reptile is SO important to the shot I was creating. Just because it's not there doesn't make it unimportant. (Kind of like negative space. *grin*) There are those that would argue the reptile should have been in the shot. It could have been, but it wouldn't have been the shot I wanted. Ehhh.... beating the proverbial dead horse...

As far as the titles this week -- I have the feeling that some of the longer ones are VERY tongue in cheeck. I may be wrong as to the reason they were used but an overly long title can be just as effective in conveying something, in conjunction with the work it names, as can a short title or no title at all.

Finally, I want to point something out -- THERE IS CURRENTLY NO RULE REGARDING PHOTO TITLES IN THE SITE RULES. The whole idea of it being a rule that a title should not save a photo is the dpc equivalent of folklore. (Perhaps it was a rule in the past -- or maybe I'm just blind and not seeing it...)
07/31/2002 03:11:59 PM · #58
Forgive me Mr. Patella, What is "VERY tongue in cheeck"
07/31/2002 03:14:06 PM · #59
a pretty picture is one thing.

but what about a concept in your mind?

you think of this concept 'global domination'. then you make a picture ILLUSTRATING the concept. maybe you show microsoft logo. or maybe you you show a child hugging a huge globe. in this case, it means maybe global domination isnt such a bad thing.

ok so sometimes the title or CONCEPT comes first and the picture ILLUSTRATES it.

other times, you take a picture, then you go hmm i have to come up with a title.

right?
07/31/2002 03:14:36 PM · #60
I think some of the titles this week are poking fun at long titles by using extremely long explanatory titles....
07/31/2002 03:28:34 PM · #61
Originally posted by Mieka:
Forgive me Mr. Patella, What is "VERY tongue in cheeck"

I have it, I''m so sorry.

Main Entry: tongue-in-cheek
Function: adjective
Date: 1933
: characterized by insincerity, irony, or whimsical exaggeration

* This message has been edited by the author on 7/31/2002 3:28:37 PM.
08/01/2002 12:27:16 AM · #62
This is a very interesting and lengthy discussion! Thank you all for your thoughts on this subject.

Food for thought... This is "dpchallenge", not "dpmetaphor", or "dpinterpretation". For myself, the challenge comes in the form of pushing my talent each week to produce a photo worth viewing, within reasonable limits of the challenge topic. This is fun for me because I''m being challenged to take photographs outside of my usual realm! If we have too broad of an interpetation of the challenge, then there really isn''t a challenge, because anybody could contribute a picture of practically anything, and simply title it to suit the purpose.

What if the challenge was "black", and I submitted a photo of something white, titled "lack of black"? Likely wouldn''t fly in my book.

What if the challenge was "animals", and I submitted a photo of a truck, titled "this truck ran over my cat"? Likely wouldn''t fly in my book.

What if the challenge was "food", and I submitted a photo of a stop-motion vomitting... well, it would look cool, and would easily convey the subject matter without a topic.

Regards

--csb


* This message has been edited by the author on 8/1/2002 12:27:03 AM.

* This message has been edited by the author on 8/1/2002 12:28:25 AM.
08/01/2002 01:16:45 AM · #63
Originally posted by KDJohnson:
I used my title to try and save my photo. (even though the photo isn't all that bad in my opinion)

There...I said it.

confession really IS good for the soul.

:)

K


I used my title to try and save my photo too. But I was in the deepest darkest jungle on earth, as far away from the corporate world as you can get. So what do I do, just not play because the challenge did not relate to my local surroundings? I did the best I could with what I had to work with... I gave my pic a title to fit the challenge so that I could play this week too, and have fun...
08/01/2002 05:53:25 AM · #64
It seems to me that a lot of people defending titles are concerned that without them people won't understand their work. This seems to be because they want to submit pictures that are artistic or have unusual interpretations of the challenge. That's noble and right and long may it continue.

But you have to remember that not everyone here has the technical aspects of photography down pat yet. Many people are here to learn about how to take a technically good photograph. Once they feel that have a handle on that then they can move on to learning how to take an artistically good one.

As I've posted elsewhere I would hate to see this site without the more creative or artistic photos. Those are invariably the 9s and 10s in my book.

In my view a really great title improves the image. But the image should be able stand on it's own albeit perhaps diminished.

The American Gothic example demonstrates this point perfectly. Without the title it is still an interesting, perhaps attractive image that with sufficient examination might provide the viewer with some of the same insights that the title helps to provide. That picture would stand on its own without the title in my view. But the title is a shortcut to help the viewer more quickly get to where the artist intended. The title greatly improves the picture.

John
08/01/2002 09:26:54 AM · #65
We may go round and round on the title thing.

I dare say this has turned into a debate more than a discussion.

By that I mean it seems that whatever view you have on how strictly you define the challenge and your acceptance of titles seems to be unnegotiable.

Me? I am a quirky, artsy, psuedo-intellectual (meaning I like to think a lot about nothings). Plus I rationalize a lot. The challenge is simply a suggestion to me. It says to me "Scott, here's an idea to screw with this week. Put your life experience, your photographic hobby and your few IQ points together...mix it all up and come up with something cool to look at. By the way, you're allowed a few words in the title to add some ZinG!"

I read here though that some folks see the challenge as a strict school assignment that everybody is shooting for a perfect 100 on. If it truly were like that, I would leave today. Going through one more experience of anything like formal school and grades is the most distasteful experience creative people can go through.

If anyone enjoys the process of getting grades..good or bad..I can't relate.

And that is my take on Titles or the judging of titles and stuff. When people quit having fun, or quit allowing titles to point out cool things or when folks get too technical on their interpretations of other peoples view of the world...I ask why even mess with photography? You might as well join a chemistry club.
08/01/2002 09:56:30 AM · #66
meanwhile over at the chemistry club challenge website..:

excuse me, but i think that if you're going to mix NaOH and H2SO4, the resulting explosive mixture should be able to stand on its own without a title ;)
08/01/2002 11:19:31 AM · #67
Hokie,

Do you think it would be a good idea to remove the rule restrictions of a title saving a photo?

I, for one, am not against this idea. I think 'effective' titles are the key. For instance, my photo for next week should not be titled: "This rock is 5,000,004 years old. The guy that gave it to me said it was 5,000,000 years old and I have had it for 4 years."

This is not a 'title'. It's an explanation. In my non-artistic mind, I think titles should be short, concise, and clever when possible. I also wholeheartedly agree that a title can enhance a photo. On the flip side, it can ruin a photo as well...
08/01/2002 11:27:48 AM · #68
Originally posted by magnetic9999:
excuse me, but i think that if you're going to mix NaOH and H2SO4, the resulting explosive mixture should be able to stand on its own without a title ;)

Poor little Johnny,
Johnny is no more.
What he thought was H2O
Was H2SO4.

-Terry
08/01/2002 11:54:13 AM · #69
Originally posted by ClubJuggle:
Poor little Johnny,
Johnny is no more.
What he thought was H2O
Was H2SO4.
-Terry



Heheh :-)

John..regarding a rule on titles saving a photo..I agree to a point. But laws are only put in place to keep the people who give a crap in line.

Others who will continue to do this will continue to agitate those folks that don't like it.

All I know is I have never saw a title and said (smacking my forehead) "OMG,, thats so brilliant, forget the photo..the title is worth a 10!"

BUT!!...I like having the photo and the title working together when at all possible. It adds a completeness to the presentation. Like the whip cream on a strawberry shortbread cake. Or the dip at the end of a
tango.

So..a rule no...a general understanding..o.k. :-)
08/01/2002 12:03:36 PM · #70
Originally posted by ClubJuggle:
Originally posted by magnetic9999:
[i]excuse me, but i think that if you're going to mix NaOH and H2SO4, the resulting explosive mixture should be able to stand on its own without a title ;)


Poor little Johnny,
Johnny is no more.
What he thought was H2O
Was H2SO4.

-Terry
[/i]


I worry about you Terry.


08/01/2002 12:13:29 PM · #71
LOL

Sounds like Edward Gorey... Is it?

Originally posted by ClubJuggle:
Originally posted by magnetic9999:
[i]excuse me, but i think that if you're going to mix NaOH and H2SO4, the resulting explosive mixture should be able to stand on its own without a title ;)


Poor little Johnny,
Johnny is no more.
What he thought was H2O
Was H2SO4.

-Terry
[/i]

08/06/2002 12:47:14 AM · #72
oops wrong forum <...getting sleepy...>


please go see the "Titles ... again" RANT thread



* This message has been edited by the author on 8/6/2002 12:47:46 AM.

* This message has been edited by the author on 8/6/2002 12:50:45 AM.
08/10/2002 03:19:46 PM · #73
Originally posted by LanSnake:
... If someone spends considerable time and effort capturing their personal view of the Corporate World's effect on society......but you don't get it -- isn't your score of one more a reflection on you than the photograph?

My scores are always a reflection of me. In my mind, they can't be anything else. My reaction to a photograph, any photograph is all about who I am, what I like and dislike visually and intellectually, what my opinions are on everything from grain, to depth of field to focus. I can only vote on a photo in terms of how it affects me, what it says to me. If it doesn't say anything positive to me, I want to rate it lower. That doesn't mean it's crap or might not be incredibly meaningful or beautiful to the next person though.

I'd like to share a favourite quote with you.

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
by Anais Nin

* This message has been edited by the author on 8/15/2002 4:52:11 PM.
08/27/2002 07:02:16 AM · #74
Kavey, I like that quote a lot even if I would tend for a 'in between'.

In a perfect world, I would like to see a flag close to the picture that some 'etheral entity' would check if the person who took the picture took this picture explicitly for the challenge and had good faith that it represents the challenge.

Well we cannot have that ... I do not like to have to rely on a title to understand the picture so I am almost 'against it'. I understand that this will limit creativity because people would be more 'obvious'.

What we could do is something like every 3 weeks , the theme would be 'bla bla but titleless'

Lionel
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