Not brand new, but another "extra treat" for this weekend.
Marguerite, shot August 2004 in Lexington, with the 10D and 50mm f1.4 lens, 1/60th at f/4 and ISO 200. 24" print.
A draft of this has been up at OMP for years, but it languished for a title until it finally occurred to me last year. (More about this title, and my titles in general, below the fold.) Entered a web-ready version in a dGrin contest last November, and then finally tweaked it for print a couple of weeks ago. (A couple of hairs needed softening for print at 24", but you can't see them at this size.)
Now, before I get to the title, I should mention that this is exactly the image referred to in my Canon 50mm f1.4 lens review at Amazon, when I mention "specks of mascara" sharpness. Check out the detail that I didn't have to enhance at all.
I've joked for years, "that if I could take my 50 to dinner, I'd wine it, I'd dine it, I'd light candles and serenade it..." It's absolutely my essential lens (though I'm on my third one now), both because of its performance and its perspective. More about that another time.
But for now, the challenge of this title, and all my titles...
I don't normally care to explain my images, but the challenge of titling this one (which took me four years?) bears describing, for its implications toward all my work.
When an image inspires me, it's not only because I "see what it means" (or "feel what it means"), but because I see multiple and sometimes even contradictory stories within. The challenge of my titles is to evoke that whole range without ruling any of them out. Ideally, a viewer familiar with my work would always wonder how much more there is to it (rather than simply settle for their first impression).
In this case, the photo spoke volumes to me right away, many of which I'll leave to you to ponder as you please. But in particular, I was intrigued by the role of the viewer.
On one hand, the viewer is not at all necessary. She's got a complete "story" in her own expression and gaze. (And thus, my title had to reflect that.) But on the other hand, I imagined very much that someone is trying to reach her or get into her attention, and that she is distinctly looking beyond him. Perhaps it's only a guy hitting on her in a bar, or perhaps it's a long-time lover trying to find out what's wrong, or maybe it's YOU. But in any case, she is preoccupied with something much more important or obvious to her. (That she's looking rightward into the future is key too.) Thus, the viewer is rebuffed, inconsequential, and meant to understand that, lest he waste any more of his time.
That, I knew way back when I first saw the shot in 2004. Thus, no other title could do until it could include the viewer interpretation as well.
And thus, you may get a better idea what I go through, to give each of my images a true name, far beyond merely labeling them or settling for a simple one-dimensional encapsulation.
In my (possibly delusional) vision of a viewer's experience with one of my prints, he might find himself surprised, years after hanging it, to suddenly realize a whole new dimension of the work, and see in the title that I felt it too.
And now maybe, from time to time, you'll find some new surprises in my work as well.