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Heroique
8-Jun-2014, 14:35
Just curious what people think is the "ideal" amount of information that should accompany a posted image here.

Not just technical details, or gear info, but more subjective information, too.

Based on the images I see, opinions seem to range evenly across the spectrum – but I'm curious if this perception is really true:

At one extreme are LFers – whose work I admire – who post nothing about their image. Nothing. I'll be quick to add, however, that many viewers forget to consult the poster's profile, which often addresses what the viewer might want to know, such as format, lens, film, scanning habits, etc. But too many times, I'll click a profile and it's blank – nothing there that might provide info about a lonely image. Perhaps the poster thinks it's best this way, and I've heard good reasons for this approach.

At the other extreme are people, just as talented, who give so much detail, it borders on what some might call superfluous, distracting viewers from the beauty or interest of an image. "Just the facts, Mr. Photographer," as the investigator might say, "just the facts."

That leaves many, many more – count me among them – who fall somewhere in the middle. They often rely on a "Goldilocks" method, providing a balance of basics they think the typical viewer will appreciate. Not too cold with details. Not too hot. Just right. Of course, not every perceptive viewer is satisfied by warm porridge. :D

So please tell us, what information should go w/ an image? Or be excluded?

And if you believe "it depends," please tell us when and why.

-----
Some ideas: Camera, Movements, Lens, Filtration, Film, Exposure, Zone values, Tripod type/position, Weather, Location, Info about the subject (portrait sitter's identity, type of rock or tree, history of area), Unique set-up requirements, Unusual challenges, Quality of the light, Personal/subjective aims, "Messages," Film processing, Scanning info.

Jim Jones
8-Jun-2014, 15:23
Images that exhibit unique characteristics of film, lens, or technique should be accompanied by appropriate information. Generic subjects need not be identified, but significant subjects or events should be. A title is handy when others discuss photos.

jnanian
8-Jun-2014, 16:52
i don't think it matters one bit what someone puts as the "details" ... i have never understood, or understand
why people put film, lens, developers, paper, camera, lightmeter, tripod, shoes, undergarments, deodorant &c
because no one can duplicate it anyways, and if someone just made random stuff up
or put the zodiacal information it would have more to do with the exposure than the information people usually post.

Michael E
8-Jun-2014, 17:43
I want to know why somebody took this particular image. What is their project? What made them stop and set up the camera? I don't need to know what lens they used and even less what developer or scanner.

Michael

ROL
8-Jun-2014, 17:52
i have never understood, or understand
why people put film, lens, developers, paper, camera, lightmeter, tripod, shoes, undergarments, deodorant &c
because no one can duplicate it anyways,...

Well, because this is a forum whose members are engaged in the shared information about an increasingly exceptional activity with diminishing resources. This forum, despite some members' leanings, is not entirely social. I get your point and agree with it as far as it goes in terms of general photography. The logistics of any particular image is not particularly relevant except to geeks, which we all may be to some extent. I don't offer them on my website or my books.

I resist over–declaring technical details here, simply posting a couple of notes on film, processing, and lens – when it seems appropriate to the discussion. What I do do (as it were ;)), as a matter of custom, is to title every image derived from an actual fine art print with italic and bold. Not that anyone has ever taken any notice of it, or had any reason to, but there it is.

lenser
8-Jun-2014, 18:02
I would also like to know where the image was made in the case of landscape photos. Many times there has just been a place title or maybe a nearby town name, but no state or country mentioned. A bit more detail such as that, plus the name of the park or other similar details would be helpful in case anyone would want to go there. Kind of like when the weather forecasters say there is a tornado warning in such and such a possibly unknown county instead of naming a major town that is nearby so it is easier to relate.

Ken Lee
8-Jun-2014, 18:45
When someone shares a photograph I admire, I appreciate it when they also share the basics: format/lens/film/developer.

This sort of information is no substitute for inspiration - and it becomes easier to predict over the years - but it's still helpful and occasionally surprising. For that reason I share it too, in case someone else will find it instructive and it can save them time or expense.

Darin Boville
9-Jun-2014, 00:05
Anything that will help me appreciate the image given the brief glance I give most web images. Rarely do technical details offer anything useful, unless the technique is unusual or especially striking. In fact, it might be fun to have a thread where people post photos and are required to say something, anything, interesting about the photo aside from technical details.

--Darin

Tim Meisburger
9-Jun-2014, 02:10
I include details when I think they are relevant. I take a lot of night shots and if I post those I usually include film, developer, aperture and time.

Brian C. Miller
9-Jun-2014, 11:57
How do you know if someone is being accurate or making it up? The film was probably correctly exposed and developed. After all, there's an image there. Usually, unless coordinates or directions were posted, there's no way to verify anything, anyways.

Now, imagine the post where there is just too much information. I've never read a post where I wanted to just kind of claw my eyes out, whining, "I didn't need to know, I just really didn't need to know!" Sometimes I feel that way about This American Life, but not any of the image posts.

NancyP
9-Jun-2014, 14:46
The photographer doesn't have to post anything other than the image, however, I welcome whatever information people care to provide for the image. The technical details, at least format and lens, preferably f stop and shutter speed, film type, developer type, can be helpful to beginners. If some exotic means of development was used, details of that would be worthwhile too. If there was an interesting screw-up, post it to the "oops" thread.

Aside from whatever technical info the photographer provides, a title, an approximate location (if landscape/architecture ), any reason why you wanted to get this image and show it to us - it's all good. If you want to play the "what is it" game with abstracts, that's fun too.

ROL
9-Jun-2014, 15:31
Regarding location info, that is normally included in my titles themselves, as except in rare circumstances I prefer not to engage in creative titling. Any further relevant location info is almost always addressed in the text posting – in fact, usually the main reason for posting an image at all. Any other circumstantial information can be traced back to the source of an image, my website galleries or books, where most images have brief descriptions, sans technical info.

However, one case surfaced a number of years back when a couple of members on this forum feigned appreciation of my work in order to get me to "divulge" a precise location of a photograph, ferreted out from my site. The locale was entirely unhidden, known to many and so easily visible from any normal vantage that I thought the request fairly odd. I'm not into keeping secrets, and this certainly wasn't one, but I was offended by their ingenuous tactics. I examined their site, found that they appeared to be copyists of well known photographs. I pretty much gave them everything any minimally curious photographer with any degree of artistic bent needed to find the spot so that they could use my tripod holes, except GPS coordinates, which I didn't have. Given the nature of their work, I felt I was doing them a service by allowing them the thrill of discovery, by encouraging them to work for the last 5% to make their wishes come true. Sad to say, I don't believe they ever got the point, or appreciated those who do.

Darin Boville
9-Jun-2014, 16:07
However, one case surfaced a number of years back when a couple of members on this forum feigned appreciation of my work in order to get me to "divulge" a precise location of a photograph, ferreted out from my site.

Multiple members of this site went to your personal web site and, either independently or in cahoots, decided to trick you into revealing the secret of your photographic locations?

Huh.

--Darin

ROL
9-Jun-2014, 16:10
Multipel members of this site went to your personal web site and, either independently or in cahoots, decided to trick you into revealing the secret of your photographic locations?

Huh.

--Darin

Their site. One (a) photo location. As in my post. I thought my description of the event was specific and accurate enough – or would you like GPS coordinates (and a spell checker)? :rolleyes:

Bob Sawin
10-Jun-2014, 11:33
I am fairly new to large format photography and find information accompanying a photo to be helpful. I think lens, film, format and location info would be a good "minimum". Processing info is helpful as well, especially if any special techniques were used.

Vaughn
10-Jun-2014, 11:51
My photographic life has always had an educational element to it, so I tend to err towards too much info rather than too little. It is easier to ignore excess information than it is to imagine what was left out.

Colin Robertson
10-Jun-2014, 14:58
Written information should offer the viewer of the photograph some additional benefit.
I post work on another forum in a variety of formats and a few different films. Since film/format can specifically influence the look of the image, and the members vary hugely in experience and knowledge, I will include technical details. Pretty much the essentials- Format, Film, dev and if the print was toned.
I don't get into dilution, temp, agitation . . . If someone wants to know they'll ask, and nobody ever has.
More interesting can be the extra dimension which comes from knowing about content. For example, does knowing the background to THIS
http://natedsanders.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/UPIs-Stan-Stearns-dies-photographed-JFK-funeral.jpg
Influence how we feel about it?
Here's a trick one since most of the users on this forum as US based. Popular, smiling celeb (a radio DJ, and tireless worker for charity) meets happy teen fan.
http://www.anorak.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/PA-14859267.jpg
These days this photograph comes with completely new information attached. I'll put it in a new post later for those who don't know who this is, and see if supporting information can change a picture.

Jac@stafford.net
10-Jun-2014, 15:05
A two-tier statement appeals to me. The first could the the artists/photographers impression or rationale which might, or not, relate to his other works. The very least significant would be the technical stuff

Maris Rusis
10-Jun-2014, 18:52
A bare picture unsupported by background information is at best entertainment for the eye. It is like chewing gum for the teeth: engages but does not nourish. The viewer of such a picture is limited to the thoughts they already carry in their heads. To go beyond this, to perhaps open new doors of perception, the appreciation of a photograph can be enhanced by descriptive words, lots of words.

First a picture. It's a screen-looker depicting a photograph I made last year:


https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8229/8573743198_5478489e48_c.jpg
Lake Jindabyne, Drowned Trees

Gelatin-silver photograph on Ultrafine Silver Eagle VC FB photographic paper, image size 16.3cm X 21.3cm, from a 4x5 Arista EDU Ultra 400 negative exposed in a Tachihara 45GF double extension field view camera fitted with a Schneider Super Angulon 75mm f5.6 lens and #25 red filter.Titled and signed recto, stamped verso.


The thing intended to be present here is not the screen-looker, an artifact of the internet, but the photograph behind it; a real thing. The word "image" for a photograph is dubious usage. An image is any representation of anything in any form. Even poets traffic in images via simile, metaphor, synecdoche, metonymy, and so on. The hazard of muddling photographs and images is that eventually the image on a monitor screen will, in the minds of some people, become indistinguishable from a photograph. Don't tell me this does not already happen!

The catalogue descriptions under my pictures are intended to affirm their physical reality. This form of words is offered as a contradiction to the millions of people in possession of millions of electronic files who say they have photographs and eventually come to believe they have photographs. The bluntest description of any picture starts off by saying what medium is on what substrate. My photographs are gelatin-silver emulsion on fibre base so that's what I say.

It seems to be be becoming odd that a photograph has size. No, not so many kilobytes or megabytes, that's a data file size, but actual centimetres of long measure. I put vertical dimension first and horizontal second. It's the international standard for art objects.

For those who think the surface of a picture is everything, that "looks like" incorporates the sum of "all there is", art theory affords a long history of formal analysis. It's amazing how an inspection of line, form, tone, mass, composition, etc can tweak the eye just like an elaborate Rorschach ink-blot. I go the other way. By declaring the physicality of the photograph, the reality of the work flow that made it, and its connection to real-world subject matter I try to offer entertainment for the mind not just retinal massage for the eye. The work flow is all mine. No part of it is down to hired minions in some workshop, somewhere, labouring to flatter my skills so I will feel good about paying their fee.

Putting a title on a photograph is important. The title is not an explanation or an anodyne for ambiguity. A caption can do that if needed. Rather a title distinguishes one photograph from another and gives each work its individuality.

Signing a photograph is also signing-off on it. There may be an element of moral courage in affixing one's name to an art-work. Everyone will know who the perpetrator is and acclaim or opprobrium will fall squarely where it is deserved. Think of the opposite: students or dilettantes who bring folios of photographs for critique or benediction and start by apologising for them. A photograph announced with an apology does not deserve to be shown or signed. Signatures can be forged but I'm the only one with my unique stamp so it goes on the back of every photograph I'm prepared to answer for.

Ok, I'll accept some descriptive data could be superfluous. For example the actual photograph Lake Jindabyne, Drowned Trees weighs 15.75g and is 0.3mm thick but including that data in the description is maybe going too far; even for me.

Darin Boville
10-Jun-2014, 19:33
A bare picture unsupported by background information is at best entertainment for the eye. It is like chewing gum for the teeth: engages but does not nourish. The viewer of such a picture is limited to the thoughts they already carry in their heads. To go beyond this, to perhaps open new doors of perception, the appreciation of a photograph can be enhanced by descriptive words, lots of words.

First a picture. It's a screen-looker depicting a photograph I made last year:


https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8229/8573743198_5478489e48_c.jpg
Lake Jindabyne, Drowned Trees

Gelatin-silver photograph on Ultrafine Silver Eagle VC FB photographic paper, image size 16.3cm X 21.3cm, from a 4x5 Arista EDU Ultra 400 negative exposed in a Tachihara 45GF double extension field view camera fitted with a Schneider Super Angulon 75mm f5.6 lens and #25 red filter.Titled and signed recto, stamped verso.



Hey Maris,

I'm not seeing it the same way. Maybe its it marginally useful to know that we are looking at a "screen looker" (and I'm not sure i want to go even that far) vs an actual print but the rest seems like a lot of noise. Look at the title--it sounds more than a little like you are curating your own work--mimicking the style of museum labels. The added value of all of this, in terms of reminding viewer's of the image's physicality, individuality, and the photographer's "moral courage," seems dubious. In fact, for me, it diminishes the image, suggesting you are in the advanced stages of Ansel-ape-ism and have nothing new to offer other than homage and eye-candy.

--Darin

ROL
10-Jun-2014, 20:38
Well, I like the image and the description – perhaps more than I would personally be comfortable with given a specific venue, but I respect lé differénce. It has become increasingly important, dare I say at this point, mandatory, to designate the image as an actual print of some kind. I guess, the more information the better in that regard.




Ok, I'll accept some descriptive data could be superfluous. For example the actual photograph Lake Jindabyne, Drowned Trees weighs 15.75g and is 0.3mm thick but including that data in the description is maybe going too far; even for me.

Certainly not in the company of avatsa (the video maker), where you might add that the photograph has a front and a back: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?113933-Can-t-Stop-shooting-film-3-minute-video ;)

Heroique
10-Jun-2014, 21:05
Lake Jindabyne, Drowned Trees

It's astonishing how two words – Drowned Trees – can affect the viewer's response.

How very different my response would be if the title were: "Lake Jindabyne."

Or – "Lake Jindabyne and Clouds"

Richard Johnson
10-Jun-2014, 23:09
You could download the image and read the properly key worded metadata that every responsible photographer inputs into every one of their images... sparing the irresponsible and unworthy from being graced with the technical minutia.

ROL
11-Jun-2014, 07:57
You could download the image and read the properly key worded metadata that every responsible photographer inputs into every one of their images... sparing the irresponsible and unworthy from being graced with the technical minutia.

Is that specific judgment of responsibility really within the spirit of this thread, or any of the posts?

Brian C. Miller
11-Jun-2014, 08:52
You could download the image and read the properly key worded metadata that every responsible photographer inputs into every one of their images... sparing the irresponsible and unworthy from being graced with the technical minutia.

I honestly have never filled out all of that stuff for a 640x480 image. And here I am, a master code monkey. Ook. Of course, I also don't keep extremely detailed notes on what I've photographed, either. I might remember the lens, and I do write down the developer and development time, but other than that, no. A lens got used (duh), the exposure was good enough (sunny f/16), and the print turned out well. Sure, I'll keep notes about how I did the print, but does the viewer need that?

I completely agree with Maris, "a title distinguishes one photograph from another and gives each work its individuality." A good title is what's really needed. Photographs are about emotion and feeling, and only a few words are needed to convey that with a good photograph.

Heroique
11-Jun-2014, 13:28
I completely agree with Maris, "a title distinguishes one photograph from another and gives each work its individuality." A good title is what's really needed. Photographs are about emotion and feeling, and only a few words are needed to convey that with a good photograph.

I agree with the power of a well chosen title – or even poorly considered ones.

However, the idea that a title "distinguishes" one photograph from another, and "gives" it its individuality, might raise some eyebrows.

If a good image is w/o a title, to what degree is its distinction, individuality, and emotional appeal lost?

Brian C. Miller
11-Jun-2014, 14:02
If a good image is w/o a title, to what degree is its distinction, individuality, and emotional appeal lost?

Or changed?

Moonrise
Fading Light upon Crosses
Sunset and Graves
Twilight
k3wl, d00dz! (actually, if that image had been a raw cell phone image, the reply would probably have been, "sucks! try again.")

Michael E
11-Jun-2014, 14:40
Here's a trick one since most of the users on this forum as US based. Popular, smiling celeb (a radio DJ, and tireless worker for charity) meets happy teen fan.
http://www.anorak.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/PA-14859267.jpg
These days this photograph comes with completely new information attached.

I'm sorry, but this photo doesn't make any sense without some information about the camera and lens being used.

8-)

Jac@stafford.net
11-Jun-2014, 15:04
I was, am, mainly a photojournalist so descriptions are usually necessary.

116562

Mother's Great Grand Daughter spreading Mothers ashes, Pikes Peak, Colorado, 2010.

ROL
11-Jun-2014, 15:53
I was, am, mainly a photojournalist so descriptions are usually necessary.

116562

Mother's Great Grand Daughter spreading Mothers ashes, Pikes Peak, Colorado, 2010.

Camera, film, lens, processing? :D

Jac@stafford.net
11-Jun-2014, 16:25
Camera, film, lens, processing? :D

Leica M9, first generation 35mm Summilux F:1.4 lens shot @1:4000th of a second.

I had to shoot at very high shutter speeds back then due to essential tremor, now defeated due to good medicine.

Are we good now?

Jac@stafford.net
11-Jun-2014, 17:01
Camera, film, lens, processing? :D

I do not know how we could make the same image in LF. I dearly hope I am not ostracized for posting a relevant example.

J

ROL
11-Jun-2014, 17:54
Leica M9, first generation 35mm Summilux F:1.4 lens shot @1:4000th of a second.

I had to shoot at very high shutter speeds back then due to essential tremor, now defeated due to good medicine.

Are we good now?

See the laughy face at the end of my sentence? That was supposed to obviate all of the following: It was pretty obvious the pic wasn't LF. I wasn't playing LF cop. You were the one stating, "I was, am, mainly a photojournalist so descriptions are usually necessary." It was a contextual joke*, bud.






Note to self: No more fooling around with Jac@. :(

Jac@stafford.net
12-Jun-2014, 05:00
See the laughy face at the end of my sentence? [...] It was a contextual joke*, bud.

Note to self: No more fooling around with Jac@. :(

Sorry that I misread. Thanks for explaining. It is good to learn more about individuals.

Brian C. Miller
12-Jun-2014, 07:01
I do not know how we could make the same image in LF. I dearly hope I am not ostracized for posting a relevant example.

J

Actually, it's fairly easy. After all, press photographers did it for, what, at least five decades?

If I wasn't using my Super Graphic with the sports finder, I could even do that with my 8x10. Just a little setup and direction, and you're ready.

Jac@stafford.net
12-Jun-2014, 07:29
Actually, it's fairly easy. After all, press photographers did it for, what, at least five decades?

If I wasn't using my Super Graphic with the sports finder, I could even do that with my 8x10. Just a little setup and direction, and you're ready.

The reason I think it unlikely in LF is that it was exposed at 1/4000th of a second without the benefit of electronic flash or setting up: it was necessarily spontaneous.

But I admit that I regret so very many pictures made early in my career with small formats - all of which could have been LF.

Jac@stafford.net
12-Jun-2014, 07:34
[...] And here I am, a master code monkey.

Wish I were so I could disassemble a particular camera's firmware. That stuff is so foreign to me, an old C programmer. Very old. :(

Stephen Willard
16-Jun-2014, 09:47
I am one of the extreme types that post everything about the photograph on my website. This includes location data, GPS coordinates, sit data, camera and tripod configuration, film type, all printing data, all masking data, and most importantly, a narrative of my experience in creating the photograph. This year I expect to get around 130,000 hits on my website, but it could be much higher considering I have already 85,000 hits. The demographics of my website are both photographers and customers.

My time to maintain this website is minimal. I maintain a database of my work and each photograph has its own record with 152 data fields that is kept current starting in the field at the very spot where the photograph was taken right through final printing information in my darkroom. Periodically, I upload my database to my website and when a web browser request a page from my website, my PHP code accesses the database, gathers all applicable data and writes an HTML file, and then sends it to the browser. The only work on my part is to keep my database current and periodically upload it to my website. Any changes made will automatically be uploaded to the website. The database resides on both my iPad and on my iMac through iCloud.

Close to 100% of my customers are NOT photographers or artist. My customers love story, and they love to hear my voice through my narratives. It riches their experience of buying my art. They love to share my stores with their friends as they show off their new art that they have just acquired. I have many emails from my customers stating how much fun it was to use the GPS coordinates and actually hike to the very spot where the photograph was taken.

I challenge and encourage other photographers to go the very places where I have taken my photographs and use all technical information provided on my website to replicate my work. However, I am confident they would be hard pressed to replicate my work because it is so much more than just the location and the craft. Perhaps you have heard of it. Its called art.:o