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DPChallenge Forums >> Challenge Suggestions >> Can I suppress titles? (a wee epiphany)
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01/25/2007 01:03:36 AM · #1
OK I'm voting on the current challenges and I am struck with an overwhelming desire to suppress the title of each shot. Why? Because it occurs to me that a good shot speaks for itself, and a poor shot cannot be salvaged by a title. So many titles are just editorializing; attempts to pad the photo with meaning that just isn't there. So many precious, pretentious, over-cute titles! And yes, I include myself among the offenders.

I'm led to consider great photographs by great artists and I can't think of a single one that has a cute or clever title. "Winston Churchill" by Karsh. "Migrant Mother" by Lange. "Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey" (Arbus). A few words to identify the shot, that's all.

Now, granted, many of the challenges here do lend themselves to a more narrative or clever title-- the challenge "Famous Last Words", for example- yet if you look at the winners, even in these categories, the good shots tend to speak for themselves.

Ok, thanks for listening.
01/25/2007 01:21:44 AM · #2
I don't care for explanatory titles either. I prefer titles that integrate with the image. Descriptive titles don't do much for me either. I think the right title adds a lot to the package.
01/25/2007 01:26:26 AM · #3
While it's true that some photos only need an identifier, other photos benefit from a title. The portraits you listed are, indeed, wonderful shots that speak for themselves. What about more artistic works, though?

Would this shot mean as much if it was titled "Boy with Goggles"
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What about this one..."Two Girls In Front Of A Car" (Cropped)
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For myself, I put a lot of time and thought into my titles. They help me express my feelings about the photo. I think a title is an important part of the entire presentation of an image and I would hate to think that all my effort in choosing just the right title would go unnoticed.
01/25/2007 01:40:27 AM · #4
I would use a "hide titles" feature for voting, as it would make voting go a lot faster for me. If it takes the title to tie the image to the challenge, does the image have what it takes to place well? I tend to think a lot about the title of each image when I am voting.
IMO, titles are also a sort of unbalancing factor, as most of the voters speak english as a first language, and it tends to put others at a disadvantage when they concieve a title for their image. For that reason, I tend to overlook misfit titles in relation to scoring images when I am voting.
I really liked the "Digging to China" image in the "Dirt" challenge, however, I can understand what you mean about the title being necessary for that image.

Message edited by author 2007-01-25 01:43:13.
01/25/2007 01:44:03 AM · #5
check out the title to this one :)

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01/25/2007 01:45:13 AM · #6
We "hid" it by putting it below the picture (it used to be above) -- if I don't want to see it, I just don't scroll down and read it.
01/25/2007 01:51:19 AM · #7
Originally posted by GeneralE:

We "hid" it by putting it below the picture (it used to be above) -- if I don't want to see it, I just don't scroll down and read it.


(I like the titles, but...) You're assuming that people don't use large resolution displays. :p
01/25/2007 01:52:18 AM · #8
Originally posted by GeneralE:

We "hid" it by putting it below the picture (it used to be above) -- if I don't want to see it, I just don't scroll down and read it.


It's always visible though, no need to scroll.
01/25/2007 02:01:32 AM · #9
Originally posted by chimericvisions:

Originally posted by GeneralE:

We "hid" it by putting it below the picture (it used to be above) -- if I don't want to see it, I just don't scroll down and read it.


(I like the titles, but...) You're assuming that people don't use large resolution displays. :p

Just because you have it, doesn't mean you have to use it. This is sort of the flip side of how people with smaller monitors are always being told to go to full-screen mode ...
01/25/2007 03:42:51 AM · #10
But you can't very well vote or comment and still avoid the title...

Me personally, I find explanatory titles OK to a certain extent. I think its hard in this kind of challenge where you only get to present one piece to ALWAYS convey exactly what you want with a photograph, especially in some of the more abstract challenges. If I voted on images any more I'd probably just leave a comment about disliking the title and then rate the photo accordingly. Personally, if the photo NEEDS the title to fit the challenge, I don't think the photographer has done a very good job.
01/25/2007 03:57:46 AM · #11
Originally posted by bfox2:

I think its hard in this kind of challenge where you only get to present one piece to ALWAYS convey exactly what you want with a photograph, especially in some of the more abstract challenges.


I definitely agree with this. Sometimes the titles are just there because they're there. Sometimes they're there because they help connect the photo with the challenge. I'll even use my own as an example:

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Without the title, most people probably wouldn't be able to see what my idea had originally been. I don't think it's completely reasonable to require that the photo *always* stands completely on its own, especially in the abstract challenges we frequently have.
01/25/2007 04:24:02 AM · #12
Originally posted by donenright:

... if you look at the winners ... the good shots tend to speak for themselves. ...

This is the best reason to not worry about it.

I see it as no more or less than someone not liking flower shots or tired of 'just another bug' in a macro challenge. Uninventive titles like uninventive compositions (to the voter) get dinged on the score. The system monitors itself.

David
01/25/2007 05:14:22 AM · #13
Originally posted by sher9204:

For myself, I put a lot of time and thought into my titles. They help me express my feelings about the photo. I think a title is an important part of the entire presentation of an image and I would hate to think that all my effort in choosing just the right title would go unnoticed.


I agree....It takes me forever to pick titles for my photos, maybe not always because of the meaning of the photo or how it makes me feel...but mainly just because I suck at coming up with titles for my photos..I'm sure my hubby ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' makka runs and hides when I submit a photo, coz then he has to listen to me sulking and complaining about how I can't think of a name for it!!
01/25/2007 09:19:16 AM · #14
If you really don't want to see the titles during challenges, you can suppress them yourself with the greasemonkey add-on for Firefox. I wrote a simple user script that simply changes the image title to color of the background, effectively hiding it. Plus, you can always highlight the title (as if you wanted to copy it) if you want to read it after examining the image. Scripts can be turned on and off easily to allow for a lot of flexibility.
01/25/2007 09:31:50 AM · #15
Personally I think the title should appropriately tie in to the image, but should be short and sweet. I have two images that come to mind that would not have as much impact WITHOUT the title.

Through the Looking Glass
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and

Starbucks... After Hours
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I do agree with the OP and for the most part, my images DO stand on their own, but there are rare occassions when the title becomes a part of and even adds to the image. Hiding this would take away from the image IMHO.

However, with that said... I positively HATE long descriptive titles. For example instead of "Through the Looking Glass", the same image titled "This is my hand resting in the surface of the water in an aquarium and the surface of the water appears to be a mirror and makes this a really cool image" is a HORRIBLE title. In those cases, I actually give a LOW vote because the title is sooooo ridiculous. It's one of my pet peeves!

Maybe instead of no title, we could limit title lengths to say 5 or 7 words.

edit - because I ain't no english major ;-)

Message edited by author 2007-01-25 09:33:10.
01/25/2007 11:25:33 AM · #16
Originally posted by donenright:

OK I'm voting on the current challenges and I am struck with an overwhelming desire to suppress the title of each shot. Why? Because it occurs to me that a good shot speaks for itself.


We REALLY REALLY NEED the DPC Top 10 Debate Threads.

Look, why do we have art entitled "The Last Supper", or "Mona Lisa", or "The Scream".

Titles can be useful. In fact, I once received the following comments on this challenge entry.

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"Upon first look I thought too close. Now I read the title and think differently. Nice work and unique idea."

"At first I thought this was a shot with added grain/texture. By your title I see it was on the stone. Interesting I have never seen that before. Maybe this would of scored better if we could of see the stone it's self?"

So, without the title at least those two people, who appreciated the photo once they realized what it was would not have scored the same.

Likewise, the following entry by Scalvert entitled "Milk Made" is another good example.

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At first I didn't see the cow. I imagine many others did not. The title tipped me off. "Milk Made" didn't make sense. Stuff isn't made from milk, milk is made from cows. Then I looked again and realized Scalvert had brought it full circle.

Cow Makes Milk => Milk Makes Cow

So when people say they want sans-Titles. I sit there and shake my head because I really just don't think we're smart enough to always get some of the best photograph concepts. Some times we need a little tip off. And sometime's it's just funny.

(ie: my entry entitled "Candle's Messiah")
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Anyways, this has been debated about once a month for the last 3 years. I think I am going to propose a new website suggestion. The Top 10 DPC Topics area. This area will have a thread each for "Titles", "DNMC", "Resolution Size", etc.


01/25/2007 11:35:27 AM · #17
Mostly titles are cliche and not so meaningful (certainly myself included), but SOMETIMES they are really important. I give extra points to anybody with a title that I think is creative and clever.
01/25/2007 11:38:00 AM · #18
Didn't read the whole thread (sorry_)

I would like an option just like like anon voting that allows me to turn off titles just because I want to spend a challenge voting on images that really speak for themselves without a title.

How about an untitled competition rule?

Subject: Mysterious - Capture an image that would have a tag word of Mysterious.
Additional Rule: Your image cannot have a title and should be voted a one if you include a title of any kind.

Message edited by author 2007-01-25 11:39:26.
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