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What’s In A Name? Volume 2 curated by Todd Leban

Whether you are aiming to be creative, clever, humorous, emotional, or are simply identifying the parts of your shot, the title for your image is an important element that deserves some thought. In the second installment of this series, I have again asked a handful of mobile photographers to select one of their photographs, and share their process of selecting its title. Please join me in discovering more about these artists and their images from around the globe.

Tim McCaff Image 1

Tim McCaff

Title/Caption of Image:

You can look inside of me

but the answers that you seek

and everything you need

is all inside of you

– Goo Goo Dolls

Every post I share has a personal meaning to me. When I choose a photo to post, I think about what I see. I like details… particularly something that a person may not see at first glance. This is usually what I choose to be my focus. I usually have a pretty good idea about what I want to say, based on subject matter or how I’ve chosen to crop or edit. I then search for the right words, something that relates well to the photo. I want to create an emotional connection between the photo and words… a story, my own story, and leave it all up to interpretation of the viewer. I love hearing how people translate my posts and form their own stories.

This is a story about self confidence. The latch, the closed doors, represents me. I am rusted, well worn, a sign that I’ve been around the block. You seek answers… I’m giving you a glance, a hint to an answer, but you already know the answer. Be strong, be confident. I’m going to help you, but I won’t give it to you.

Instagram // Website

Stefanie LePape Image

Stefanie Le Pape

Title of Image: How to disappear: A Long exposure of bathroom selfie.

Self portraits were a therapeutic medium for me when I first started using photography as an art form. As I have gotten older I’ve come to realize how vain I can be. My own aesthetics find me disliking the image of my self. Yet- I still find moments that I find myself. Working with long exposures has allowed me to both paint with light as well as obscure my image while still making it about me.

The title says it all. Although – I have to wonder whether or not that too is vague? The title a question is answered in the portrait. Most of my work is titled. Titles come to me randomly and are often inspired by associated thoughts from the visuals. Photography can be like poetry in motion.

Title triggers can come by way of mood as well. I read somewhere that any work we produce left unnamed discredits it. I gave that much thought and found that discipline as direction and purging in narrow down pixel stockpiles.

Flickr // Website

Marita Hodges Image

Marita Hodges

Title/Caption of Image:

I see skies of blue,

And clouds of white.

The bright blessed day,

The dark sacred night.

And I think to myself,

What a wonderful world.

 -Louis Armstrong

My process for naming an image is as random as my musical taste. I may be listening to a song and it sparks an edit or it may be the music I’m listening to while shooting or editing. Other times, like with this image, a song jumps out of my extensive mental song catalog.

I’ve always been a ‘little obsessed’ with music. At some point over the last couple years I started using lyrics to caption my photos on IG. It’s part to enhance the image and part the social aspect on IG. The feedback I get is amazing: from new band recommendations to sharing deeply personal life stories.

Jeffrey Simpson Image

Jeffrey Simpson

Title of Image: Unity

My love of photography + my wife’s love of words =  most titles for my work.  Usually starts with a shout from the office, ‘hey babe…I need a title for this!’  We ping pong back and forth a bit, until we hit that ‘oh yeah that’s it‘  Mostly, it’s more of a subtle feeling than an exact or obvious definition.

My work is ultimately about getting under the mask to reveal what is real, raw, and of soul essence in my subjects.  I think a great title enhances an image in that it draws the viewer in deeper to the image and ignites a spark of recognition of their own story, not just my story; connecting us all and weaving us together in that beautiful way that art does.

Facebook // Selfie Love // Website

Devin Graf Image

Devin Graf

Title of Image: The world was spinning too fast.

I’ve always been very off and on when it comes to captioning my photos. It’s sometimes hard for me to find the right words to describe what I’m thinking when I’m looking at my photos or I just think my title is corny. But when I do, I try to think of a caption that provokes emotion because I want viewers to feel something when they see my images. I’ll look closely at details in the photos. The surroundings or certain objects in the image that I feel make it stand out. If it’s a self portrait I’ll try to focus more on how I think I’m feeling in the certain photo. It’s never been one of my strong points to caption a photo because I want the title to be original and there are so many artists out there that I feel might have used a certain title already. Recently, for the last couple months, my good friend Alex Wisner has been captioning my photos. She usually sees my photos before anyone else and has always had such nice things to say, so I decided hey why not let her title my photos. She is a talented writer and musician, so it just seemed like a wonderful idea to have her caption my photos and she hasn’t let me down yet!

Facebook // Instagram // Tumblr

Alex Wisner:
The way it began was that Devin had sent me an image and asked if I could help caption it because he couldn’t seem to think of one. The first photograph he sent me was of a friend of his, standing in a doorway after having tripped on a cord that had fallen from the ceiling. He had told me the backstory of it, and the first thing that came to mind was “break everything” because that’s the sort of angry reaction you would typically feel when an inanimate object attacks you. Since then, I not only try to find the humor but also validate the beauty. So, I guess that would be my answer. I look for the most humorous yet beautiful message for each shot.

Instagram // Website