embrace chaos

# 9031

# 9031

Believe it or not, I have been criticized for not assigning names to posted photos.  A lot of photographers are very good at this and they attach a tag that is either descriptive or evocative.  I’m just not very good at doing this so I just use the file number.  When I shot film I had a numbering system I used which consisted of the year (2 digits), a sequential roll number (3 digits) and a frame number (2 digits).  On all the prints I made I wrote the corresponding number on the back of the print with a Dixon marker.  If I had to go back and make another print I knew exactly where to look.  The digital frame number provides the same handy way of finding a file.  Also, I tend to be lazy and assigning names for posted photos seems like a lot of work that I’d rather not do.  I would prefer to spend the time behind the camera (or cutting the grass, shoveling the driveway or trying to find the “START” button on Windows 8).  But this is just me and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from assigning a nice name to each of their photos.

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43 thoughts on “embrace chaos

  1. Malin H

    I love it … Chaos, but still… order in the chaos. Beautiful trees and
    and beautifully photographed. And about this thing with titles/names to posted images … so what?! I don’t care. I’m looking at the images. 😀 Continue to do what you are doing, Ken.

    Reply
      1. Malin H

        Haha… Let me say this, it was easier to name my posts in my own language (Swedish)… Now I do have problems sometimes to come up with some sort of title in my posts. 😉

  2. Cedric Canard

    This is definitely a case of to each their own; there is no right or wrong way. I will readily admit though, that I prefer a blank title rather than a filename but a filename will not stop me from enjoying a good photo (such as this one accompanying this post by the way). I tend to name all photos I post but I find it rather easy as the titles tend to present themselves to me when I make the image (it also helps that I take so few photos).
    What is weird however, is that anyone should feel compelled to criticize a photographer for not naming their photos. That just seems absurd.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Cedric. I admit that the file numbers are for my benefit only but I hope they are not distracting. I actually like the idea of names for photos but they seem to be the furthest from my mind when they go to post.

      Reply
      1. oneowner Post author

        Well, it is a standard photo of tree branches against a plain sky. Then a second photo of tree branches was layered on top, inverted to a negative, flipped and blended together. It’s the negative image that looks like ice.

  3. ehpem

    Just keep on doign what you do Ken – its the photos that matter. Many of your shots could even have some of their mystery ruined by a title. It is fun and interesting to have to stare at your shots to figure out what the heck you did, and many titles could take those initial uncertainties away.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, ehpem. I hope if I ever titled a shot it wouldn’t ruin it but I do enjoy a good challenge now and then. I think I will name the next photo, whatever it is.

      Reply
  4. John

    I’m not good at names either – unless it’s obvious of course. It’s like naming instrumental music – I guess you just grab something out of the air and plop it on the music, or image, as the case may be.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, John. I actually like the obvious names like “1957 Chevy” or “Tree with Snow”. They enhance rather than detract from the photo.

      Reply
  5. Paul

    I generally won’t name my photos, but no big deal. I seem to be able to find them again, somehow. 🙂 I do, however, like this whole visual chaos.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Paul. I generally don’t have a difficult time finding a posted image. A copy of each image posted is put into a folder on my desktop as a quick reference so I don’t post the same photo more than once.

      Reply
  6. Anita Jesse

    Priorities: I love this image. Let’s hear it for chaos.
    Now, about the criticism. For like-minded people, you could offer a “name it yourself” policy. If a name is that important to a viewer, that individual could assign a fully personalized name sure to please the most discriminating of viewers. I name my pieces, because it’s relatively easy for me, not because I feel that I am obligated to do so.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Anita. It’s so good to hear from you.
      I think when you sell your work that a title would be an advantage both to yourself and the buyer. And, not to sound too much like a first year marketing student, but an artist has to build a “brand” and a following. Maybe titles will help.

      Reply
  7. Tom Dills

    Captions can be fun and even descriptive but ultimately it’s about the photo and it’s your choice, Ken. Strange what people find it necessary to complain about. 🙂

    Reply
  8. LensScaper

    I thought that was a snow scene, but I see that I was wrong. I like it, simple as that, Ken. As for titles – I hate that bit of sticking a print in an exhibition or here in the blog and thinking: ‘now I’ve got to give it a title’. Occasionally they are clever, but that is a very low percentage of the time. Mostly they are not clever at all and they add nothing to the image. Titles serve two purposes only: to document an image if it is of some where/thing special, or to guide the reader’s thoughts if the image has a hidden or potentially humorous meaning.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Andy. When I shoot for the Museum the files are given a number that corresponds to the accession number of the object along with a sequential number when there is more than one shot of the same object. It’s a very simple system but it gives you all the information you need to look up that object. Information about the particular object or the type of object it is is included with the keywords, which can be sorted but remain invisible to the viewer.

      Reply
  9. Jimi Jones (@JimiJones)

    Lovely shot, Ken. I like it and think it would also make a nice textured background.

    Regarding titles, I am definitely a title guy, but that doesn’t mean I am doing it right and you are not. It’s a personal preference as to how a photographer or an artist chooses to organize and/or title their work.

    I will point out one thing, however. To have images found in search engines like Google and Bing, they will require a name or title that matches what people are searching for, assuming one wants to rank for certain things in the first place.

    Having said that, I reiterate the fact that there is no right or wrong, it’s simply one’s preference and intent.

    So keep posting those wonderful shots and call them whatever you want. In the end, it’s the enjoyment of the photograph itself that matters most. 🙂

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Jimi. You have a talent for putting titles on photos and I enjoy seeing them. While it’s not one of my talents I intend to apply myself to it and see what happens. Who knows, maybe with practice I can get good at it, too.

      Reply
  10. ArtiZenImages

    I feel just as you do (lazy with all that organizational stuff ), I’d rather be behind the camera. But I have also gotten myself into trouble that way! I won’t admit to what kind of trouble but it was not good. 🙂 I do like captions and titling my photos (although I do that only on Flickr).

    Reply
  11. Steve Schwartzman

    This reminds me of the half-year I lived in the Finger Lakes, from early winter to the advent of summer. The scenery in that rural area pulled me further into photography. Snow is pretty, of course, but my body has never done well in the cold.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Steve. I’ll admit that the older I get the less tolerant I am of cold, damp weather. Before moving here I wanted to move to the Austin area but I couldn’t convince all my friends and family to move with me.

      Reply
  12. Pingback: A title by any other name | Plop

  13. Meanderer

    I wouldn’t worry about not assigning names to your photos. I tend to look at the image rather than the title anyway. It also helps people interpret the image in their own way.

    I do, however, always name my images but that’s because often something daft pops into my head when I post. I often use a play on words or a reference to a song or book but usually it’s not noticed 🙂

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Meander. I’m glad you feel that way but there are others who feel the file naming is important. For now, I’ll just have to ignore that.

      Reply
  14. Charles Ford

    Well I thought I was looking at a tree with snow or ice, now I find I’ve been duped! Trickery! Another idea to steal! Yep, this is a good post.

    It’s hard enough coming up with post titles, I don’t think I could manage to caption all posted photos with a name as well.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Charles. It was just too early in the year to get snow on the tree limbs and even when we do it doesn’t last very long because of the winds here. But it’s early in the season and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of the snow.

      Reply

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