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Captions

I’m going to plagiarize myself here. This is reposted from the body of a reply I made to a comment over at 1/125.

In theory, I respect the principle that an image should stand on its own, without a title or a caption or any information at all — just itself.

In practice, however, I almost always associate the lack of caption with “picture puzzles” and “fuzzygrams” — photographs that are basically about hiding something from the viewer and daring them to figure it out. If I show someone a photograph, I usually don’t want them wondering what it is, or where it is, or whether I shot it on film or digital, or analyzing the lighting — all the things I do when I look at an image that doesn’t have any information associated with it. That wondering gets in the way of just looking, and just looking is what I want the viewer to be able to do.

In other words, even though putting in a bunch of data makes for visual clutter and complications, it (in my experience as a viewer) makes the experience of seeing the photograph simpler.

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