Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Sometimes we Differ"

Mike Johnston writes TOP The Online Photographer an excellent blog I'm certain many of us are familiar with.  (yes I know but "with which many of us are familiar" sounds pretentious now doesn't it.)

Discussing the subject of photography as art, or different from art,  he touches on an area I know I've wrestled with, do words enhance photographs?  If a picture is worth a thousand words then how many more could it need?  Yet, how many of us appreciate a caption?  I know personally I like having a bit of the photographer's personal voice added to an image...I always look for a caption.  Or is the mystery worth something more?

It would be interesting to hear other's opinions.

Speaking of opinions, I have followed TOP for years and enjoy it very much.  I do recognize that some of my "life" opinions are rather different from Mike's.  Comments in the past have started a stream of personal e-mails between us voicing that disagreement.  Regardless I value his opinions and expect that if we ever did meet I would like him very much.


  1. well I often like to couch images in some sort of context. I printed this one for my mum while I was in Japan. Even though I know she didn't know Japanese I entitled it with a little story written on the paper in silver pen explaining the name, the meaning and why I liked it.

    Being a 4x5 sourced image I had printed it to 50cm wide and posted it to her.

    So yes, I think many shots deserve a title. Not all maybe

  2. I often view an image and wonder what the artist had in mind when snapping the shutter. In those instances certainly a caption would be appreciated. While it is true that most images speak for themselves, IMHO I don't think a caption would be distracting.

  3. My favorite photo teacher and Mentor at the San Francisco Art Institute was/is Jack Fulton. He actually taught a class called Words and Pictures. He always said that words can elevate a good photo but they can't help a mediocre one. I believe he's right.