Friday, October 3, 2014

The Trouble With Titles

I read an interesting discussion yesterday on the Eric Kim Street Photography Blog concerning the captioning of photos. Two fairly well known photographers, Dan Winters and Constantine Manos, contend that a photo should be able to stand on its own, without a fancy back story, caption, or title. Manos like his photos to provide more questions than answers, allowing his viewers to fill in the blanks. He recommends including only a date and location with a photo, nothing more.

I agree that a photo should be able to stand on its own. One of my favorite English teachers once told us that a poet should never explain or interpret his own poetry. If he does, he has wasted his time putting his thoughts down in verse; he should have just written an essay. I feel the same way about photographs. Still, I usually feel obligated to give photos I post on this blog a title, and often a back story. I guess neither approach is wrong. The question is, does the photographer have enough confidence in his photo to let it stand alone, or does he feel he needs to add words to complete the story?

As an experiment, I am going to give today's photo only a date and location. No title (titling is often a pain anyway). No caption. No back story. I'll let you fill in the blanks.

Waynesville, NC  -  July, 2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

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