What title?

What title?

April 12th, 2021

What title should I give this picture?

I normally have no problems with it. Titles come to me naturally and often it is that the title proceeds the image. Every now and then it is the case of ambiguity though – either in an image itself or in the process of constructing it. This is when giving it a name does not come easy. It happens rarely – one or twice a year only – but that is already often enough to make me contemplate what I normally take for granted – the truth universally acknowledged that an image properly executed must be in want of a title. 

To me, a title is an invitation for the viewer to travel in a specified direction, and to point him there. It may not suggest the end of that travel and leave an image open to interpretations but – equally so – it may just as well provide all the clues and answers. It all depends on a particular image.

It is exactly here where a discussion may begin – at the point of choosing to direct a viewer. As if the viewer needed to be directed. As if he or she were a little child that needs to be taken care of and have everything explained. As if the author did not trust his viewer.

This is why this month I am presenting exactly this image. A few-seconds exposure of a bunch of twigs protruding from underwater. An infrared image taken on a warm day with 720nm IR filter plus 10-stop IRND filter (hence the kind of blue registered). 

When I say those twigs I thought about drowning, and then I thought about persevering against all odds, about the eternal fight between life and death. I thought about loneliness everybody sooner or later experience in this fight. I also thought about beauty and calmness. In someone else the same scene might have triggered different thoughts, or even be completely ignored. Ignore it I could not but equally so I could not decide – though many weeks have passed since that day – what this image is finally about. Perhaps it is my problem – I side with ‘one image-one message’ approach. Here the message was a bit too broad for me (or there were more than one) and I found myself unable to opt for one only.

It may not be a bad idea to ask LEMAG readers if they would care to come up with a title for it, even if just for fun. I am sure I will eventually find my own answer – like all things left undecided it may come to me when least expected. Until then, it will remain untitled, which – for me – means unfinished. 

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DEREK MICHALSKI – Fine Art Photography

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