Thursday, November 5, 2015

What's In A Name (Naming My Photographs)

The Five Senses - Glendale, California
Yesterday's post included The Five Senses above. I received some feedback on the unusual name of the image, so I thought I'd explain what goes into naming my photographs.

Why do I even name my photographs? This is something that I've done for years and years--I've been naming my photographs for a long time. There are two main reasons that I do this: it is a part of the art of the image and it helps with the organization of the image.

The photograph itself is art. The name of the image is a part of that art and it can add context to the image. It can be used to explain further the image from the photographer's perspective. It can give a clue to the viewer a key piece within the image that they might otherwise overlook. The name of an image can impact the experience of the viewer.

The name also makes it easy to find an image or know what someone is talking about. It gives the image an identity that's more convenient than a number. Instead of "the seventh image down in that one post" or "that picture with the guy eating" it's The Five Senses.

Sometimes the name of an image pops into my mind right away and it is obvious. Sometimes it takes a little thinking to name a photograph. Occasionally I have even renamed an image after a little time has passed. I try not to name two different images the same name, although every now and then I discover that I accidentally gave two photographs the same title. In the case of The Five Senses I had three different names that I considered.

The first name that I thought of was Distracted. The lady is distracted by her phone. The man is distracted by the lady. I liked the name a lot but I wanted to save it for a stronger image.

The next name that I considered was Love At First Bite. What I didn't like about this name was that it's silly, and the feeling of the image didn't seem to me to match that title. However, I still almost went with this name.

Finally I decided on The Five Senses. The guy is touching and tasting his food, smelling the aroma of fresh coffee, hearing whatever is playing through his earphones, and looking at the girl. I think the title forces the viewer to look longer at the image to figure out what it means.

That's the story behind the photograph's name. Hopefully it makes sense to those wondering about this.

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