in Honor of
Art Kane & John G. Morris
Taken in part from my forthcoming artists’ book:
Presenting Photography to Curators and Museums
I never used to name my photos until I started to deal with museums. When you are discussing museum acquisitions, it is much easier to relate to photographs that have a name that means something as opposed to photos that are named Untitled #1, Untitled #2, Untitled #3, Untitled #6, Untitled #9, Untitled #11….Untitled #37. My advice…make it easy for the Curator, Head Curator, Deputy Director, Director, Acquisition Committee, Board of Directors and Registrar to deal with the acquisition and execute a purchase agreement or deed of gift.
I do have a few untitled photos, but only about 3 of them.
Los Angeles, CA 1971 Untitled No.1 by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
Beside museums placements, there is another benefit of naming you photographs if you use your work is on the net. Now, the anal, stingy photogs that are soooo worried someone will download a low-res image of there pix and maybe make a 5 x 7 print without paying them will never go for my technique.
Well, let me tell you something. In 2001 a flood destroyed over 2 decades of my work…all gone.
I wish some of the destroyed photos were spread around the internet so I could recover something now. I would tell the stingy, anal photogs to be more worried about their photos dying with them than being worried that their photos are being enjoyed by others. Of course, this is all a matter of personal opinion – we are all free to do as we like…be stingy, tight and anal or be open and relaxed.
I discuss two ways artists are gratified here:
If you are of a less anal nature and like your work used wherever it can be usefully used and enjoyed, then what I will present here will help you out with getting credit where credit is due.
It is important that you name the files in a way that identifies you if when someone wants to find out who shot the picture. As an added benefit, naming your files help with image searches related to your name.
If you can’t come up with individual names, you can use the image serial number and project name such as
DSCF4184 Selection from De Wallen 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
Names can also explain a photograph or give some added details to it.
Display of Postcards Amsterdam 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
Download this photo and what do you get for a file name?
Here is a photo by Michel Folco called Friday, 31 August 1979.
The title of the pix tells you no backstory. I think a better title to follow the image could have been:
‘He bought the shotgun with his first paycheck and was showing off to his friends.’
If you can use Lightroom you can imbed copyright information, tags and all the details you like. Bottom line, if someone wants to strip the information they will. I prefer to use the ‘shotgun approach’ I have developed for ID’ing my photos. I found it works fine for me so I don’t have to depend on just LR’s metadata.
If the photo in question has been around the web for a while there are always a few copies of the photo that retains the file name and information. And if all copies on the net are stripped of identifying information, a Google image search will still bring the investigator back to one of my websites.
Now, I don’t have one website…I have a number of websites. Each of my websites do not use the same photos. But there are cases where the same photos are used on 8 to 10 of the websites.
Google – Hakenkreuz in a Dress
My photo pops up first thing.
An American Nazi in her bedroom Los Angeles, 1973
If you download the photo here you will get hakenkreuz-in-a-dress-copyright-1973-daniel-d-teoli-jr. as the file name. If you download the same image on Tumblr you get tumblr_n52kxgOhye1tampwso1_540 as the file name.