Image titles: Bad Trip – Sad Trip

Roadside Cross and Snow Field

Roadside Cross and Snow Field  (from the project In Passing)

For the image titles in my series Bad Trip – Sad Trip (In Passing), I had first started using a more documentary form of naming convention with the titles, esentially “what it is” or “where it is”. After a number of emial exchanges with Colin Jago (blog: Photostream) about images that describe or suggest, I decided to change my naming convention for this series to try to be more “suggestive”.

I had used this type of a naming convention with my abstract paintings in the late 1980’s and it probably made more sense, as they were not very literally. I had not used this type of a naming convention with my photographs much before, so this was a bit of a stretch for me. It was forcing me to try to understand the emotional content of the image or better yet, for me to express my feelings. (I know, guys don’t usually express their feelings, and normally, me included)

To be honest, I have not been 100% behind why I was going with the suggestive titles but to trust that taking a (bold) step forward, I would either become more comfortable and explore this side of me, or I would become less comfortable and this figurative “door would close”. Might be called faith.

Then two recent occurances have given me a stronger sense of direction, a email exchange with Simon Denison (author: Quarry Land)  and a recent comment by Kjell Andersen (Blog: the lentic blog).

I had previously written about Simon and his book Quarry Land, as having a great Introduction to his series and how he was able to write about it in a way that almost had a direct correlation to the my feelings about my series; “inexorable passage of time and the brevity of human life, we become more intensely aware of the wonder of human exsistance and its fragility.” In his own way, Simon has challenged me to rethink the naming of my images, to perhaps reconsider the more documentary naming convention that I had started with. Okay, I did…..and you may have noticed a slight difference in the titles to the recent images in this series that I have posted…

Then the recent comment by Kjell to my post a couple of days ago, when he writes: “I don’t look at “Bad trip – Sad trip” as a record of different road side memorials, but rather a documentary of the phenomena, and how people keeps the memory of their loved ones alive with. The state of the memorial is maybe a direct representation of how the memory is kept by those left behind. Sooner or later the memory gets weaker, and the memorial whithers, and eventually disappears. Life goes on, as it should.”

That is when it struck me that with my “suggestive titles” I was trying to force the image’s emtional content with the title, rather than having the confidence of letting the image speak for itself. Well, that settled it, I am now in the process of renaming my images (again), but with a lot more conviction and purpose.

As to this image, it was made the late afternoon driving East on Indiana Route 30 heading towards Warsaw, Indiana. This cross was just the other side of the roadside drainage ditch, but in front of the corn field that was cut and slightly covered with snow. It was a retty desolate looking scene. I was struck by the moody sky and the expanse of cut field, perhaps symbolizing death & decay, but with a pending rebirth with the Spring replanting. And it actually looks more like I intended after going through a re-development of the RAW image with my CS3 B&W workflow.

Best regards, Doug

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