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Thread: Do some pictures need a description?

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    Sponge's Avatar
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    Do some pictures need a description?

    Today I was looking at This week's photos in elmundo.es and I enjoyed some of them quite a bit and thought maybe others would too. The only problem is that the captions are in Spanish which means most of the people I share them with, won't understand the background to the photos without translating. I think the photos speak for themselves without a translation but it's hard to deny that some pics just make you wonder 'what is going on?' and do benefit from a description of sorts. How much does a photo need to say on it's own? (I know there's no concrete answer to this but, I'm still interested in the opinions of others).

    Here's the link for This week's photos which I think are worth checking out (I especially liked the latter half): http://www.elmundo.es/albumes/2012/1..._oc/index.html

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    Patrick,

    Some words are immediately recognized such as "rehabilitación" and names of countries are easy enough to recognize. What could be missing is the how, who, what of a story. For the language, just send your friends a link to a language translator or translate for them. Regarding a byline for every photograph, sometimes multiple interpretations allow for larger audiences, sometimes a straight forward message is totally missed. It is up to the author/artist to decide if enough information has been applied or implied.

  3. #3
    Sponge's Avatar
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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Patrick,

    Some words are immediately recognized such as "rehabilitación" and names of countries are easy enough to recognize. What could be missing is the how, who, what of a story. For the language, just send your friends a link to a language translator or translate for them. Regarding a byline for every photograph, sometimes multiple interpretations allow for larger audiences, sometimes a straight forward message is totally missed. It is up to the author/artist to decide if enough information has been applied or implied.
    I agree John, I just wasn't sure about how much translation was really needed since I can't be a judge seeing that I understand the captions. Overall, I don't think many of the photos really 'need' a description (though it doesn't hurt) but there are a few that are somewhat necessary to clarify the photo in a way (the panda researcher photo comes to mind).

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    wmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    I just use Google translator that turns the captions into English

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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    If the photo is purely pictorial or abstract I think the photo should generally not need a caption but for photojournalism, travel, natural history etc I think a caption often adds to the interest and sometimes is absolutely necessary. Occasionally I come across an image where the caption really adds to my enjoyment - especially if it adds a touch of humour.

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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    If the photo is purely pictorial or abstract I think the photo should generally not need a caption but for photojournalism, travel, natural history etc I think a caption often adds to the interest and sometimes is absolutely necessary. Occasionally I come across an image where the caption really adds to my enjoyment - especially if it adds a touch of humour.
    I very much agree with Paul. As it happens, I can speak Spanish so I could play the game of looking without reading and then reading. Most of these do need words IMHO, though some of the images can stand on their own. Thanks for the OP for the link - I'll browse it in future from time to time.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    The language translator works fine;El traductor trabaja muy bien. It is however a good idea to reverse translate for languages like Russian or Latin.

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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    The language translator works fine;El traductor trabaja muy bien. It is however a good idea to reverse translate for languages like Russian or Latin.
    I guess that not even reverse translation captures the above doubtful wording "el traductor trabaja muy bien" - the translator works very well (=is a good worker). I would rather say "el programa de traducción funciona bastante bien" in case I would think that it does work sufficiently well. There are scores of words that can mean different things that are differently expressed when you translate into another language. But anyway, if you don't know anything of the other language, Google translation may help you to get the gist.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkanyezi View Post
    I guess that not even reverse translation captures the above doubtful wording "el traductor trabaja muy bien" - the translator works very well (=is a good worker). I would rather say "el programa de traducción funciona bastante bien" in case I would think that it does work sufficiently well. There are scores of words that can mean different things that are differently expressed when you translate into another language. But anyway, if you don't know anything of the other language, Google translation may help you to get the gist.
    That is all I've got; I've been rather embarrassed by Russians who didn't get the idea, but I knew different kind of language in mathematics, not a universal language at all but universal languages; with lots of effort you can understand all of them.

    But I do not know intricacies in Spanish and I'm too old now anyway; so have to rely on google. But I've learned that however hard you try to be nice and explain yourself; if there is a problem with the translation you are in trouble.

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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    If the photo is purely pictorial or abstract I think the photo should generally not need a caption but for photojournalism, travel, natural history etc I think a caption often adds to the interest and sometimes is absolutely necessary. Occasionally I come across an image where the caption really adds to my enjoyment - especially if it adds a touch of humour.
    It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words [ or something like that] but I feel many picture need at least a few words to fully understand where the photographer is coming from ... but sadly there are some purists who believe in just the image itself.

    EDIT ...A great collection of images, thanks for link
    Last edited by jcuknz; 14th October 2012 at 09:28 PM.

  11. #11
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    Re: Do some pictures need a description?

    One of my friends, who is from a country where they put huge importance on folks being trained, refers to me as a "trained geographer" and, as a trained geographer, I am really impatient with people who present landscape and similar photographs without identifying the place represented in the picture. After thinking about it for a while, I finally decided it's because I grew up with a new National Geographic every month. In my view, both then and now, it was better than having an encyclopedia occupying a shelf in the living room. Consequently, I'm accustomed to knowing where in the world I'm visiting virtually.

    So, I come down on the side of a few words if only to identify the place for any image that is not iconic, such as places like Half Dome, El Capitan, Old Faithful, the Empire State Building, the Coliseum (the one in Rome), etc.

    The other situation which requires a few words is something that is both exceptionally ordinary and exceptionally striking. In these situations, I want to understand why the photographer was particularly struck by the image. One of the very best images I've seen documenting Endeavour's 12-mile trek across the Los Angeles Basin a few days ago is one in, I think, the LA Times website, is taken from the backyard of a house, apparently on Crenshaw Boulevard. The photographer aimed his camera down the driveway between that house and its neighbor with shuttle poking its nose into the middle of the scene.

    IJS....

    virginia

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