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DPChallenge Forums >> Current Challenge >> How descriptive is your title?
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09/29/2003 04:15:13 PM · #1
I'm working on my Dream/Nightmare shot.

I know there have been innumerable comments on the titles of shots either being; a hindrance, helpful, annoying, useful, too long, too short etc etc etc.

This challenge seems to beg a long descriptive title.

Thoughts?

09/29/2003 04:17:34 PM · #2
Whether one word or fifteen, my titles are always descriptive ... except when they aren't.
09/29/2003 04:24:22 PM · #3
The only bad long titles are the ones that include info that should be in the description or not appear at all, like "I didn't crop this!" or "don't vote me down for the soft focus." I find those insulting, both because they underestimate me as a voter and because they're attempts to give their photos an advantage others won't have. Save the explanations of technique for *after* the challenge.
09/29/2003 04:30:03 PM · #4
hmm,
yes, yes,

I guess what I'm asking is;

Do people feel that because of the nature of this challenge, it being most definitely interpretive, that a title that is more on the narrative side of things is acceptable?
09/29/2003 05:09:28 PM · #5
I personally think that if the picture is well chosen for the theme the title is merely the adjective.
09/29/2003 05:25:35 PM · #6
Originally posted by ibequeen:

I personally think that if the picture is well chosen for the theme the title is merely the adjective.


Yet the choice of an adjective can make or break the poem.
09/29/2003 05:27:28 PM · #7
Description is problematic altogether. Does the description give information we cannot derive from the image?
09/29/2003 06:06:51 PM · #8
Originally posted by zeuszen:

Description is problematic altogether. Does the description give information we cannot derive from the image?


I would say so. We are supposed to be representing a dream or nightmare. I would think that trying to do a literal, and understandable to the viewer, representation will require some sort of explanation.

Unless you are doing something that isn't actually a dream but more of a "wishful thinking" sort of thing.

Such as representing world peace some way to say I dream of a time when all the world is at peace. or To show a house burning and say, my worst nightmare is for my home to burn down.

Rather than actually trying to represent a dream/nightmare you've actually had while sleeping.. Which is the direction I'm taking.
In which case, I do indeed think it will need a narrative.
09/29/2003 06:07:52 PM · #9
I've chimed in before on this subject, but haven't done for a while, so I feel like trying again.

I think titles are every bit as important to a piece as the work itself. Even "untitled" should mean something more to the creator of the work in relation to that work than simply, "I couldn't be bothered to name this..."

Some of my very personal (read "in-my-humble-opinion-and-you're-welcome-to-ignore-if-you-want") guidelines for writing titles:

1. Keep it relatively short. Think in terms of book, play, or movie titles. A Christmas Carol, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserable, Grease, The Matrix. If you're breaking 6 words, it's probably too long.

2. SOMETIMES rule one CAN be broken for effect. The Man Who Walked Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of A Christmas Carol. The Persecution and Assasination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of Monsieur de Sade. In the first example, there's a dramatic friction -- you think it's going to be a metaphor (and, well, it is) but it ALSO turns out to be literal truth. In the second example, the overly long title gives a clue as to the nature of the play -- imagine a bunch of women who practically live to prove Murphy's Law is real trying to put on A Christmas Carol -- very funny show. Third -- well, let's just say it's an interesting show and the title is "insanely" appropriate...

3. Pick something that describes and gives a setting of sorts to the work. Something that may gently guide the person viewing the work into looking at it in a certain way, that gives the image a context, but not something that beats them over the head and drags them to a very specific and pointed point of view. Even though I hate doing this, I'm going to use one of my own titles as an example here. Feeding Time in the Reptile House for the Fear challenge. //www.dpchallenge.com/image.php?IMAGE_ID=3146 That title tells you where it's supposedly "taking place" and gives you a context to fit the photo into. It's not a title like "The mouse fears being fed to a snake just before it gets eaten." (Breaking rule #1 and my next one, #4.)

4. Try to avoid using any of the words from the challenge title in YOUR title. This is the one that will probably get me stoned by the cyber-masses. Generally (not always, but often), I feel like this rule is broken by those individuals who feel like their photo is tenuous to the challenge topic and so they want to bolster that connection. If nothing else, AT LEAST try to find a synonym, please.

5. If you can't be clever, or just don't want to be, then just name the image what it is. Amy in the Flowers. Cardboard Box. Waxing Gibbous Moon over Miami Skyline. (Almost broke rule one there...)

There, 5 good rules of thumb. I could probably come up with a couple more, but I'm tired of trying to think and need a nap. Too bad I'll be at work for another couple of hours...
09/29/2003 06:47:12 PM · #10
Originally posted by sslickk:

a dream/nightmare you've actually had while sleeping.. Which is the direction I'm taking.
In which case, I do indeed think it will need a narrative.


I see what you mean now. Perhaps, you could still use a short leading title, i.e. the beginning of a sentence followed by an ellipsis?

All in all, Patella's suggestions provide a good guideline, IMO.
09/29/2003 07:03:43 PM · #11
Good suggestion,, I wasn't at all happy with titling with an entire paragraph! (well that's what it seemed like anyway)

Thanks all.
09/29/2003 07:07:37 PM · #12
John Ritter show "8 simple rules for dating my teenage daughter" everybody just calls it "8 simple rules".

I guess i'm guilty of using a long title. "Do You Remember When It Didn't Cost Anything" should have been called windpower.

Message edited by author 2003-09-29 19:11:40.
09/29/2003 08:14:22 PM · #13
Faidoi,

The thing I love about the title to that show is it's contradiction. The "8 Simple Rules" portion makes you think short and sweet, but the "for Dating my Teenage Daughter" lengthens that title out and makes it something longer and more uncomfortable and complicated -- which is what the rules probably really are.
09/29/2003 09:50:26 PM · #14
Know how some people write out paragraphs on their powerpoint slides instead of notes to speak from?
Our teacher taught us a guideline of 5 words per line.
I think thats about right for a title. Anything more than that is meant for the description.
09/29/2003 10:06:57 PM · #15
If an entry needs a title like this :

"Last night I dreamed that I was accused of murdering my room mate but it turned out that the comedian Red Buttons actually murdered her, so I'm entering a picture of some Red Buttons. Get it? See... It meets the challenge."

then it's not likely to do very well. Without giving away the obvious ones, you might want to look for a dream that is more universially understood. (Flying, falling, naked at work, etc...)
09/29/2003 10:08:44 PM · #16
Originally posted by myqyl:

If an entry needs a title like this :

"Last night I dreamed that I was accused of murdering my room mate but it turned out that the comedian Red Buttons actually murdered her, so I'm entering a picture of some Red Buttons. Get it? See... It meets the challenge."

then it's not likely to do very well.


Who's Red Buttons? ;)
09/29/2003 10:15:13 PM · #17
Originally posted by faidoi:

Who's Red Buttons? ;)


Sheesh, kids these days :)
09/29/2003 10:17:00 PM · #18
Originally posted by faidoi:


Who's Red Buttons? ;)



I put the comment to get a response. Exactly the response I wanted. Thanks. I think that's why I people tend to make look discriptive titles. Not everybody knows who "Red Buttons" is. Not everybody grew up in the same era or country or have the same taste.

For instance, if you don't listen to Rap music you might not know who 50Cent is. I listen to a lot of different types of music and sometimes people would mention a title of an artist I don't know , I wouldn't get the pun or joke.

Another good example is Covent Garden Buskers. I have know idea what this was until I read the comments given to it. I really enjoy the picture a lot. I didn't know people gather here all the time until I read the comments.

Sometimes to compensate for the lack of knowledge of a subject a person can but not always add a descriptive title to help.

If I said let's go eat "Dim Sum" how many people would know what I'm talking about?

Message edited by author 2003-09-29 22:27:28.
09/29/2003 10:34:03 PM · #19
I know who Red Buttons is and what Dim Sum is.. freddy the freeloader and those lovely little steamed buns....

and that I started this thread.

It's been very interesting. I keep rewriting my title. It's being a bigger challenge than the photo!!
09/29/2003 10:46:09 PM · #20
Originally posted by sslickk:

I know who Red Buttons is and what Dim Sum is.. freddy the freeloader and those lovely little steamed buns....

and that I started this thread.

It's been very interesting. I keep rewriting my title. It's being a bigger challenge than the photo!!


Anyone that hasn't tried the steamed pork buns would really love them.Baked ones are a little better though.

That why I would love to have a "Food" challenge. We wouldn't have much controversy on what a food item was. Unless someone takes a picture of a insect for shock value. Even though people do eat them.

It would be an interesting learning experience on people's culture and what they eat. Unless everybody takes pictures of McDonald's food or Cup of Noodles.
09/29/2003 11:22:49 PM · #21
Sadly, or not as it may be, I'm a word junky. So besides refering to the thesaurus as much as possible for good titles, I also tend to use as many words as I can to say the simplest things.

This post is case in point. :D
09/29/2003 11:37:34 PM · #22
the photo should relay the 'title' w/o it even being printed

for a challenge with this theme
no title should be necessary

soup
09/30/2003 12:50:18 AM · #23
Originally posted by sslickk:

I know who Red Buttons is and what Dim Sum is.. freddy the freeloader and those lovely little steamed buns....

and that I started this thread.

It's been very interesting. I keep rewriting my title. It's being a bigger challenge than the photo!!

Freddy the Freeloader is a character by Red Skelton, not Red Buttons. And neither of them is Redd Foxx.

Dim Sum are just small plates of food, usually selected from carts pushed around the restaurant (a different meaning for eating a la carte). There are thousands of dishes which can be served as dim sum. I think the exact Spanish equivalent is Tapas.
09/30/2003 01:37:05 AM · #24
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Dim Sum are just small plates of food, usually selected from carts pushed around the restaurant (a different meaning for eating a la carte). There are thousands of dishes which can be served as dim sum. I think the exact Spanish equivalent is Tapas.


Literally "Little Hearts", Dim Sum is quite simialar to Tapas except it is served in the late morning as opposed to afternoon and it's served with tea instead of booze. It's done differently in different regions but it's always yummie... Char siu bao is my fav :)

Edit : This threads wandering a bit :) It could use a rudder :)

Message edited by author 2003-09-30 01:39:01.
09/30/2003 02:01:09 AM · #25
long titles are ok. sometimes. just don't get carried away and even worst: don't make your title do all the work, explaining everything in the picture that the viewer does not see that explains why it is in the current challenge. like if there is a picture of a rock in the mud and the title goes "stuck, after being thrown by an angry boy having a tantrum when he didn't get his way" for a challenge about...um, Anger?

if long, make it tasteful and work for you. don't let it detract. :o)
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