Tuesday, August 2, 2011


This pic, titled "Ready for Company," was taken on the grounds of the retirement community where I live. It's another of my favorite sights around here, as I wait (and wait and wait) for our faithful and over-worked elevator. Yes, we have only one elevator for a busy community of well over 200 residents, plus staff, visitors, deliveries, movings in and out, etc. It's rather a miracle it keeps on keepin' on. LOL, like many of us living here.

A word (and probably more :-D) on titling pix. I just spent quite some time last night titling all those without one that were in my recent exhibit. One of the orders made that day was for a considerable number of those pix, with the request that I title all of them. It's not a bad idea practically speaking, as I will recall a title rather readily but never remember the number given a pic by my computer program. So a title makes locating a photo for printing a great deal easier.

However, I've also had discussions with a fellow resident about whether one should title a photo. If in doing so we aren't attempting to control the viewer's reactions, or to explain the photo. I've come across this latter in various artists I knew in New York City. As if to explain any art is to somehow demean it. Whether it's even possible to explain some art is another question. I find it challenging to say the least to explain metaphorical/imagistic poetry to most non-poetry folk.

Suffice it to say titles for pix were a definite "no-no" in my fellow resident's eyes. Well, my reaction to that suggestion was that we are attempting to "control" a viewer's responses from the moment we pick up our camera. From that second we start mentally framing a shot, we've made a choice about what to share. If we never showed anyone our pix, well, then this whole discussion would be moot. But we do share them and are aware we do even if we don't think about sharing when snapping pix. And we in turn are "controlled" (read: influenced) by others beforehand and after -- by their artistic values and their responses.

Then I made the point that my titles simply highlight something particular about the shot I would like noticed, or share a joke. That I do not believe I can determine a person's total response, even if I tried. No way. Especially as my pix, just like my poems, keep unfolding for me, too. In fact, I'm delighted when someone expresses a view on a pic I'd not noted. (I have this same feeling about my poetry.) And added that titles offer people a way into the picture and where they go then is up to them. None of these responses helped. I could tell I'd been titled "Controlling." LOL!

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‘til next take, may you enjoy life in the ever changing light,

[aka: Patricia Kelly] **** If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or photos, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****


Blogger LGD said...

Hi Patricia:

I understand the controversy over naming any art work. Many we know of by name were named by someone other than the creator. Whistler's Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist's Mother is merely given a simpler name to remember :)

You notice that the rename suppresses what the artist wanted to convey-- not his mother, but the colors and how they worked together.

An artist naming a work forces the viewer/listener into a pre-arranged pattern of reaction. That can be a bad and a good. once I know your name for something, I will never have another chance to view it on my terms-- your interpretation will now always be there.

On the plus side, I see what you were drawing attention to in the photo-- here, the chair inviting a visitor to sit-- or at least what I now think you wanted me to see, since I am now looking for meaning in the name :)

Anyway, I grok your poetical names, so I like them :)

August 7, 2011 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Roswila said...


Oh my, I certainly hope my title didn't "lock" you in. :-) Just as with poetry, I intend a title to be suggestive. And my point still stands I think: that we all are constantly influencing each other's awarenesses of anything, art or otherwise. Should I not offer my observation about something -- say a rock that looks like a bird -- because it might "lock" the other person's view of that rock in? And to think that we can come to even an untitled art work and view it without all sorts of influences already in our minds, is not realistic IMHO. A title is just one more of many memories, opinions, tastes, experiences, etc. that influence our reactions.

I myself don't get locked in by someone's title. Nor do I get caught up in trying to figure out a photographer's or poet's or artist's intention. If I feel that I get it, fine. If I don't, equally fine. The work is still there to be appreciated.

If someone wants to recall a photo or poem of mine by some other name, fine, too. I wrote a poem about a long sweaty walk through a New York City park, decades back. Folk never asked for it by it's name -- which I can't even recall now LOL! -- but always requested "Trudge." Any creative effort I share with the world is like a child that's grown up and now has it's own life to live, separate from me which includes what it may be called. (Though of course I'm still very emotionally invested in it, just as a parent is. :-D)

I think what I'm trying to share here is that we can choose to have our vision of anything narrowed by what someone else calls it. Or we can note and maybe even enjoy their naming and then look further to see what we may find for ourselves.

Thanks for visiting and commenting. I enjoy discussing things with you!

August 7, 2011 at 5:45 PM  

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