Assignment 2: title?

“Titles are important. They affect the way people read the work.” (Alec Soth 2007)

This is something on which I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Soth.

On past assignments, I haven’t felt like the project really took shape and really worked until it had a title that I felt fit it well.

Previous OCA assignment titles of mine:

  • A Life in Places
  • Old Town Glory
  • Look Closer
  • Surface Tension
  • Two Ways of (Still) Life
  • A Church is Not a Building

In each case I felt that that exact combination of words helped the work, in as much as it gave the viewer enough of a hint about what I thought was important without spelling it out. It gave some kind of framework, a set of bumper rails to avoid the work getting too widely (mis-)interpreted.

On the Food Poverty Project I haven’t yet hit upon the right title, which is bothering me slightly. I’m hoping that once I’ve got the shots in the bag (tomorrow) then either one of the candidates below will feel like a good fit, or inspiration will strike anew:

  • Skint
    • blunt and to the point
    • quite a striking word with a couple of good hard consonants
  • Broke
    • similar, less sonically abrasive, but has dual meaning…
    • broke as in poor
    • broke as in the system is broken
  • Add To Basket
    • ironic
    • associated with online shopping / modern society
  • Cause and Effect
    • political
    • if I juxtapose statistics with images, which I might
  • Stuck on Level 1
    • reference to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
    • maybe too obscure
  • Treasure Hunt
    • ironic

Let’s see if I have a breakthrough once I have the shots taken…!


I went for none of the above. During the processing and write-up stage I decided on:

“Running on Empty”


The Ballad of Good and Bad Titles (accessed 25/04/2016)

3 thoughts on “Assignment 2: title?

  1. Judy Bach 27 April 2016 / 21:58

    I often find the title comes to me as I am working towards an assignment and agree it is an integral part of a body of work . I usually give all my individual photographs a title too .


    • Rob Townsend 28 April 2016 / 09:34

      Thanks. I usually have the title already in mind while shooting – I’ve traditionally been more of a wordsmith than a visual thinker but that’s gradually changing… but in this case the title didn’t present itself until I had finished and was writing the assignment up! And I agree that individual image titles are important (but also sometimes trickier…)


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