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Pictures + Words ?

Pictures + Words ?

I have been thinking about some conversations I’ve had recently with other photographers about the idea of titles and captions. The idea that my audience will  be able to fully know what I am thinking about in making a particular picture feels like a big ask to me. 


There are more than a few ways artists speak about pictures + words. “ A picture is worth a thousand words” comes to mind.  More importantly to me is the suggestion that the artist does not necessarily want to guide the viewer, but rather let the viewer make up a narrative of their own. This has been a mantra of mine in the past, now I am revisiting my feelings about it all. 


Speed dating has come to photography. Audiences have access to a vast amount of visual stimulation and we have become good at the quick look out of necessity. 


In the last few years as I’ve learned printmaking I also began writing narratives to go along with my pictures, and I am trying to expand my titles beyond “ Trees in fog Sauvie Island”. A title my children suggest I call half of my pictures. My goal? As I connect more deeply with my work, I would love to have my audience along for the ride and slightly in the same direction my horse is running. 


As always I am looking for a conversation in these blog posts so please, if you have some thoughts on this subject I would love to hear from you.



Hi Ray! I’m a fan of simple descriptive titles. I don’t want to bias the viewer. I see so many images with obtuse or vague titles, I get distracted trying to figure out why they picked the title, and then it gets in my way of enjoying the image. But titles certainly affect the viewer’s outlook on the image, either way.

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