A quote I just read (re-blogged here by Lensblr) has me thinking, and I’d like to share my thoughts on why I have descriptions accompanying most of my photos.
A photo presented without any description can be an extremely, undeniably powerful entity, in part because of the freedom of interpretation that is granted to the viewer. I myself have posted many photos sans titles and explanations, leaving the meaning to be construed however one sees fit.
However, I’m also a firm believer that visual arts and the written word have the potential to intertwine very beautifully. I enjoy a type of transparency within my work, meaning I will tell you how and why I took a shot so that the journey is no longer mine alone. You can experience the process, and the result of that process, right along with me. People may not care exactly where I was or how I felt when I took a particular photo, but I put that information out there for those who may find some kind of solace in that knowledge, in knowing who the person is behind each shot.
When a photographer talks about their work, I am very hesitant to think it’s because they are trying to make up for something that is otherwise lacking in the image. I think some of us are content with saying all we need to say through our photos alone, and that is completely acceptable; others of us enjoy a blend of mediums, and that is completely acceptable, too.
If I can add anything at all to Taylor’s thoughtful response, it’s to reiterate that art comes in all sorts of shapes and forms. Personally, I find the fusion of visual arts and written language to be one of the most powerful and exciting ways to transfer ideas (HONY is a great example).
Photos can, but don’t have to, stand alone. That’s a made-up rule that we don’t have to follow. In trying to understand what Mr. Koudelka was attempting to say, I also came upon this quote by him: “It’s good to set limits for oneself, but there comes a moment when we must destroy what we have constructed.” That seems like better advice to be reblogging.