I was thinking the other day about how a lot of the photos I like can be described in only a few words. To take a few examples from hearing my own work described: “The men on the girder” (Lunch Atop a Skyscraper), “Stormtrooper looking out of a window” (Autumnal), “Vader and fire” (Inferno). I give all of my photos a title, but they’re only loosely tied to the image once it starts its journey around the Internet. They’re not to be relied upon.

This “describablity” is quite a useful property when people find my images in the random nooks and crannies of the web and want to know about prints or licensing. It got me thinking, does the quality of a photo correlate to the ease of description?

My theory is that because I’m a big fan of minimalism and most of my images, at least the ones I’m most fond of, are quite focussed (in concept, rather than sharpness), they can be described quite succinctly.

There’s definitely an overlap with properties that allow you to easily describe a photograph and positive traits: a unique situation, a unique environment or character, a character doing something unexpected, and a single idea dominating the photo.

This may be something I’ve been subconsciously doing in my photos for a while, but perhaps I should be actively looking for “describability” in my photos.

How describable are your photos?


– Mike

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Stefan K
7 years ago

To be honest, I have never been thinking about that. I just get an image in my head and try to photograph it.

Shelly Corbett
7 years ago
Reply to  Stefan K

Stefan, if you’ve been reading the comments I think its safe to say you’re not alone there. We all have ideas that we get in our head and try to figure out the best way to shoot them. I think what Mike is saying here, as well as Kristina and I, is that there is more to photography than just taking a good photo. You need to know the why of the photo. What does the photo stand for, why did you take it and what reaction do you want from your audience. We all struggle with this and part… Read more »

Stefan K
7 years ago
Reply to  Shelly Corbett

This post made me think about it. I do have some shots where I been thinking of something I wanted to say with the shot. What I really ment to say is that I reflected over that I never give my shots a name, that I’ll just put the date on them. Sry if I misunderstud
/ Stefa K

7 years ago
Reply to  Stefan K

Dear Stefan, I don’t think you misunderstood. I really think it’s important to hear other photographers reflected on what we write and I think that is part of the reason why we write these blogpost. So keep reflecting. On the second matter: I think you should name your work, I always se the title as a key to what the photographer, writer, painter wanted to say. So start naming your pictures it’s fun an really hard. /kristina

Stefan K
7 years ago
Reply to  kalexanderson

I’ll take the challenge. This could be good for me :)
Thank you Kristina and Shelly for pushing me a little bit.
/ Stefan K

7 years ago
Reply to  Stefan K

Do you think you will try to title your images? Give the viewer a slightly different experience?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x