THE PINK JACKET
‘Untitled’ is a title. What does it mean? That the artist couldn’t think of a good enough title? Probably Yes.
So what’s a title for?
It states what the artist regards as the main focus of the picture or places the picture in some significant context: Cadell’s ‘The Orange Blind’ or Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ draws your attention to a focal point in the painting; Picasso’s title ‘Guernica’, on the other hand, guides the viewer to see the painting in the context of an exact place at an exact time.
The title ‘Sunset’ adds nothing to the painting of a sunset . ‘Sunset Over New York’ at least provides information which may give the painting more meaning to the viewer.
Man with Orange Cap
This title does not mean there is nothing else of importance in the picture but invites the viewer to start viewing at the unusual cap held by the otherwise very soberly dressed man.
On the wall behind him is Cadell’s ‘The Orange Blind’ so perhaps ‘The Orange Cap’ would be a better title for the photograph, providing a verbal as well as a visual link.
On a purely practical level, a title is obviously a handy way of referring to any painting or photograph – eg Picasso’s ‘Guernica”.(What would we make of ‘Guernica’ if it had been untitled? That it was Picasso’s protest against bull-fighting? Or something even darker and deeper? Perhaps the title limits rather than focuses the viewer’s response.)
Should you sign a photograph?
You certainly wouldn’t clutter a painting or a photograph (as above) with a title. So why put a signature on?
To establish copyright ownership?
In general photgraphs aren’t signed. Why sign paintings and not photographs? And if you do, how and where do you sign?
More questions than answers!
Titles of short stories, novels? Perhaps that needs a separate post.