Ryenke, is photography a visual medium? Why do we attach so much importance to words? What if this snapshot had a different title - say, its title were Train Crash or Cocaine or Motherly Love or Bloody Murder or Condom Dispenser or Beer or Volkswagen Beetle or Rum and Coke, how would you have judged this image then, would you have judged it differently?
Ryenke, if art photography is a visual medium (unlike cinema, which in its contemporary form is not a purely visual medium), then words can be either distractive or are even pointless, some very good photographers, a few Americans but also quite a few others, complained that they do not understand Russian comments or that they cannot see the title of the photo they`re viewing (it appears as "untitled" photo). I am also using the English version of this site just to see those untitled photos, but sometimes I switch to Russian to discover what did photographer mean or what did he or she want to say, and results are frankly quite disappointing, titles are often meaningless. Besides I think a good photograph does not need a long narration to accompany it with. Think of it in terms of music, do Beethoven`s symphonies become any better or worse just because they are nameless or are marked with numbers instead of titles, does the 9th Symphony, late called the choral symphony (I guess for those who can`t remember numbers), and probably most popular piece of classical music in the world, get any worse of better from the fact that it has no name and that most people don`t know what it is about, have no idea of political context in which it was made, are clueless of the author`s personal circumstances or his sickness - and don`t care about those things because music, by itself, is magnificent and does not have to be accompanied by an explanatory narrative.
To Eugene: I think, that title of the picture should suplement visual contents of picture, but not repeate it. Using different titles you can discribe your picture and yourself, as well, differently. Choosing the right title is not an easy task. And the right title means a LOT. Words are very powerful. Beleave me.
Oh yeah, Eugene, you are trying to see if anyone here realizes Beethoven was deaf? So here we are, once again....he never heard the magnificent sonatas he wrote...or the symphonies....wonder who named "Moonlight Sonata"? Must have been someone who had creative titling in their blood....or maybe it was Beethoven, I don`t really know. What a moody, awesome wonderful composition. By the way, Alex, I really DO like this image, may it be old or overdone, it`s new to me...I would have liked the chairs in red and purple, as in MAD or MADDER. All the same, very interesting, and I relate...
LOL - no I didn`t even think of Beethoven`s hearing problems:), I wanted to say that no one cares whether Beethoven dedicated a piece of music to Napoleon or that he became inspired by some event which has lost all the meaning to the modern person. The only thing that matters is the music not the dedication or description this music was originally accompanied with. My point was that we, myself included, get affected by the way photographs are titled and by descriptions that accompany them. I think it is not always right, and that the viewer should get the opportunity to make up his or her own mind as of to what an image is actually about. I am grading this thing as five, because it is a very nice combination of two forms, but I would have made the background a bit darker and more neutral to make the viewer concentrate on the shapes of the object and on the drama of the bitter "quarrel" or "dispute" between those two chairs:)
Melanie, I never said that this picture would be better (or worse) if it had no title. I made a comment to Ryenke because the way people perceive images and judge them by their titles and descriptions struck me as very odd. The term "people" includes me, because I also make decisions of what a picture is about by reading the title and, quite often, I judge the photograph by its description. I just speculated that if images had no titles (or were written in foreign language we don`t understand, in Japanese for example:), we would have looked at them from an entirely different perspective.
To Eugene and Ryenke: I think it`s great that you introduce this kind of debate. Personally, I think it makes the site better. And I don`t think it`s any reason to feel sorry for Aleksandr! Posting a picture is asking for feedback (let`s ignore the ego-boosters).
I think you both have some valid points. I don`t think that a photography should come with a explanation how to look at it or whatever. (Whether a picture was difficult to take or not is also irrelevant) The photograph should be able to stand on its own. I don`t think it`s problematic that a photograph is untitled. The title, if anything, can be a supplement, a hint (this title is very clear) of the photographer`s idea. To me, this photograph is about contrasts and not necessarily only visual. The title reveals the photographer`s vision and exactly what kind of contrasts he`s thinking of, i.e. the contrasts of different opinions. For me, the photograph remains to be about contrasts in general and not a quarrel in particular, regardless of what the photographer called it. As I said, the photograph stands on its own and even though the photographer intend for it to symbolize a quarrel, I don`t feel the same way because this is not the interpretation I have of the photograph. Maybe this differ in interpretation is actually a weakness in the photograph? Or a weakness with my interpretation?
Eugene; As for comments written in Russian: I can`t speak for others, but for me being unable to read some comments has nothing to do with understanding the photograph or not. It`s a lot simpler; I just want to read whatever is being written, regardless of whether it "explains" the photograph or not.
Most titles are meaningless. This title is not meaningless and hence I think it`s a good title. But the title does not change my view of the photograph, it only explains what the photographer thinks of it.
As for the photograph: It`s clever and creative. It actually has meaning and being so simple, I think it really begs for the viewer to think. I think that is very good in itself and definitely refreshing. But does it work? To me, the idea the photograph tries to say is a little simple. The photograph, as I see it, remains fairly simple regardless of its message. That`s at least my initial impression. I`m going to leave it unrated for now.