In this article I want to talk about a subject which might not seem specifically connected to landscape photography, but which in my opinion is very relevant to this field, and indeed all types of photography.
Naming artworks has always been important, not only because it's useful to have a way to refer to the piece, but also, and much more importantly, to present a window to the creator's vision and ideas, to clarify his intentions when creating the piece and to provide additional content to the visual. In 'artistic' photography it seems that the situation is similar, and an image's title sometimes holds much more than can be seen in the image itself, insinuate as to the photographer's motives and feelings and hint at things which can be missed otherwise. Even 'Untitled' images are often left untitled for a good reason. The title, or lack thereof, is a critical part of the art.
'Canary Cave', Katla Glacier, Iceland, January 2014.
It appears to me that nature and landscape photographers often neglect giving attention to naming their images. It might be because they produce too many images to come up with original names for each of them (unless you count 'Crater Lake Sunset XVIII'), or it may be due to lack of a deep connection to the art they produce. In any case, I think it's a shame.
Titles can add a whole lot to a landscape image. Take for example the first image shown here, 'Canary Cave', shot in Katla Glacier, Iceland, on a beautiful winter day. The vast majority of responses I got to the image were from people who were delighted to have discovered the canary-shaped contour. They told me they had liked the image for its overall appearance, for the colors in the ice and for the top-view of the mountains in the background, but once they read the title and saw the canary, a whole new dimension opened up, they could better share my views and most importantly, understand the art is it was supposed to be understood.
One of my most successful shots, 'Spot the Shark', is perhaps the best example from my portfolio. What could contribute more to an image than a hint to the very thing which I think makes it so special? I've had people go crazy over the 'shark', debating where it is and enjoying the revelation. This most definitely made people more exposed to the image, and it even appeared in a National Geographic book, dare I say due, in part, to its title.
|'Spot the Shark', Breiðamerkursandur, Iceland, January 2013|
A deeper meaning is carried in the title of the following image, 'The Harp of Kleifarvatn'. It is very poetic to cross-attribute natural phenomena, and a beautiful display of Aurora Borealis can be seen as music to the eyes. In this particular shot, the aurora created a shape that to my eye looked like a harp – what could be more fitting than naming it accordingly, connecting the visual impact with the sensation of heavenly music?
|'The Harp of Kleifarvatn', Kleifarvatn, Iceland, January 2014|
Let's move on. How about film references? I'm not a huge film buff, but I know what I like, and I love incorporating movie quotes in my daily life and in my art. How about Star Wars for starters? The beautiful dunes of Sossusvlei, shrouded in mist, immediately reminded me of Cloud City, the floating metropolis from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
|'Cloud City', Sossusvlei, Namib Naukluft Park, Namibia, May 2014|
What about TV series? Comic books?
And it goes on and on. Music has always been a big part of my life. I have very eclectic tastes and I listen to many musicians from very different fields. I just love referencing album names, song titles and even lyrics in the titles of my images.
Finally, there are subjects which look too much like other places to pass mentioning them in the title.
There can be even more kinds of contribution a proper title can supply. Don't ignore its importance to your art, give it the respect it deserves and your photography will benefit greatly, not only in terms of its visual content but in the amount of connection both you and the viewers feel toward it.
Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on Instagram, Facebook and 500px, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates.
If you'd like to experience and shoot some of the most fascinating landscapes on earth with Erez as your guide, you're welcome to take a look at his unique photography workshops around the world:
Land of Ice - Southern Iceland
Winter Paradise - Northern Iceland
Northern Spirits - The Lofoten Islands
Giants of the Andes and Fitz Roy Hiking Annex - Patagonia
Tales of Arctic Nights - Greenland
Saga of the Seas and The Far Reaches Annex - The Faroe Islands
Desert Storm - Namibia
Selected articles by Erez Marom:
- Behind the Shot: Dark Matter
- Mountain Magic: Shooting in the Lofoten Islands
- Behind the Shot: Nautilus
- Behind the Shot: Lost in Space
- Behind the Shot: Spot the Shark
- Quick Look: The Art of the Unforeground
- Behind the Shot: Watery Grave
- Whatever it Doesn't Take
- Winds of Change: Shooting changing landscapes
|Hot Air Balloons Over Bagan by User9320321874|
|Yellow Warbler by LeeS|
from A Big Year - birds
|Waiting for the Parade by tcoker1103|
from - La Vida Loca - (Black and White Street Photography+ A Border)
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not known as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you know where to look. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday article, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.