Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/04/06

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Subject: [Leica] Alternate Whispering
From: bdcolen at (B. D. Colen)
Date: Thu Apr 6 20:06:59 2006

Sorry, Gary - if a photograph is presented as a photograph, that is,
presented on its own and not as an illustration for text, or as an excuse to
avoid writing text - a freestanding photo in a newspaper with explanatory
caption - then it should speak for itself, without explanatory footnotes.
Giving a photo a title - and that's really what we're talking about rather
than captions - is a copout.

Tina's photo is a lovely photo. As I said, I think it's one of the best
image's she presented. But by itself it says none of the things Tina says it
says. And if it is presented as a photo that supposedly says those things,
it fails. One of the things I tell students is that they have to remember
that what they saw, heard, smelled, perhaps touched, thought or otherwise
took in while they were photographing is utterly irrelevant to the viewer;
all that matters is what is captured in that 60th of a second - 8000th of a
second - in which the shutter opens and closes. All that the viewer can know
is what is printed on a single sheet of photographic paper, or projected
the screen. So if Tina was caught up in the ceremony she witnessed, by the
beauty, the warmth, the sounds of the father whispering the call to prayer
to the baby, and wanted to convey that in a photograph, she failed. Period.
And all writing the title does is admit that failure.

Again, all of that said, I am not saying that the photo in question is not a
wonderful photo - I love it. And I have great admiration for Tina as a
photographer. But that's not what we're talking about here; we're talking
about photography as a visual, rather than written, medium.

B. D.

On 4/6/06 9:40 PM, "Gary Todoroff" <> wrote:

> Oh boy, a chance to debate with both Ted and B.D. at the same time! 
> Although
> a great photo can indeed stand on its own, words along with a photo can
> provide a synergy that goes well beyond either.
> For me, the work of writing a good caption is usually more effort than the
> photograph, and I would love to agree with you both, just for the sake of
> eliminating all that work! However, communication is a commitment and
> obligation in which the extra effort of writing can often make a 
> difference.
> I will agree that it is important to let a photograph "speak" to you first.
> I have to remind myself to *look* at a photograph in order to *hear* the
> photograph, an oxymoron that becomes understandable with the lingering
> effort.
> However, depth of understanding can come with words that take you even
> further into the world of a photo. Tina's photograph, I think, is good
> example of that combination at work. Gents and lady - what a great time we
> could have on an evening over these ideas!
> In any case, the viewer can always choose to not read a caption. And
> "Alternate Whispering" makes for a perfect title for the direction of this
> thread within a thread!
> Best,
> Gary Todoroff
> Tree LUGger/Lympa Logger -
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:
>> []On
>> Behalf Of Ted Grant
>> Sent: Thursday, April 06, 2006 4:53 PM
>> To: Leica Users Group
>> Subject: Re: [Leica] Alternate Whispering
>> B. D. Colen offered:
>> Subject: Re: [Leica] Alternate Whispering
>>> Definitely the original, Tina- But this is a classic example of why
>>> photographers shouldn't put captions on photos, except where required in
>>> newspapers and magazines. Again, I don't see whispering; I don't see
>>> religion; I don't see call to prayer- I see father and child. Yes, in a
>>> photo story this image may say every one of those things - but you're
>>> showing an individual image. Just put it up, and let it tell it's own
>>> story.<<
>> Hi B. D.,
>> I'm with you when it comes to putting words to a photograph because quite
>> often the words don't do a thing and I've seen news-photos in our
>> National
>> Newspaper photographer awards judging lose because we the judges have
>> said... "What the heck does that have to do with what the picture is?"
>> Photography is visual and when it comes to individual photographs
>> most times
>> words are meaningless. I've always said, particularly when judging... "I
>> don't want to hear nor read what the picture is, I just want to make my
>> decision on what I look at, not words that are supposed to make a
>> difference
>> to the decision.
>> A photograph stands on it's own or it doesn't, look, enjoy or not, make
>> decision, then find out what it's about. Yes sometimes knowing what the
>> photograph is illustrating makes a difference. Sometimes before
>> the judges
>> give a  final marking often we ask for "word details" because
>> sometimes it
>> does make a major difference.
>> But in the case of Tina's photograph it gave off such a wealth of
>> emotion it
>> truly needed to stand without words. Quite an interesting
>> photograph to say
>> the least.
>> ted
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Replies: Reply from abridge at (Adam Bridge) ([Leica] Alternate Whispering)
Reply from datamaster at (Gary Todoroff) ([Leica] Alternate Whispering)
Reply from tedgrant at (Ted Grant) ([Leica] Alternate Whispering)
Reply from images at InfoAve.Net (Tina Manley) ([Leica] Alternate Whispering)
In reply to: Message from datamaster at (Gary Todoroff) ([Leica] Alternate Whispering)