January 28, 2009

We Want…IN-for-MA-tion!

In the dim recesses of my mind there’s the memory of a Joan Collins made-for-TV movie that was every bit as bad as the proper noun promises. I’m judging the whole thing by the one scene I saw: it began with a classic establishing shot of the Eiffel Tower and then, helpfully, a caption faded in.

“PARIS.”

Yeah. I know.

Still — and here I’m gamely searching for something nice to say — it leaves absolutely no doubt as to where we are. In travel and tourist photography, that’s often pretty important.

Mind you, I’m not saying that Ansel Adams’ classic photos of Half Dome would have been better if he’d managed to frame it so that a “Welcome To Yellowstone…Please Dispose Of Litter Thoughtfully” trash barrel had been in the foreground somewhere. Heaven forfend.

But sometimes, it’s completely appropriate. It’s information that the viewer wants to have, whether it’s conveyed as explicitly as a street sign or as subtly as the type of bus in the background. Choose a slightly more thoughtful angle, and it’s no longer “a photo of two women having coffee at any coffeeshop anywhere in the world” but “…in London, somewhere in Soho.”

This delectable cut of beef had already been well-documented by the time I finally picked up my knife and prepared to dig in (like Ted Nugent, I believe that there’s a moral imperative to shooting everything you eat). When I spotted the name of the restaurant on the heel of the blade, I knew I’d be putting down the knife and picking up the camera again. It’s more information!

_______________
This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

Join the conversation! 0 Comments

  1. As the person sitting next to Andy while he was photographing this knife, I was very impressed at his ability to postpone the good part – eating it. I on the other hand was halfway finished before Andy had the first bite – but then again, I have no pictures of my plate either :)

    Reply
  2. As the person sitting next to Andy while he was photographing this knife, I was very impressed at his ability to postpone the good part – eating it. I on the other hand was halfway finished before Andy had the first bite – but then again, I have no pictures of my plate either :)

    Reply
  3. Half Dome…. Yellowstone???

    Reply
  4. Half Dome…. Yellowstone???

    Reply
  5. OK, I read this article a few times.

    Is the article trying to say that pictures of ordinary objects are improved by including information that provides context?

    http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

    Reply
  6. I agree with Dan’s comment. It would look bad it if had said Paris or France. It would have been real cheesy.

    http://www.anthonybaileyphotography.com

    Reply
  7. I agree with Dan’s comment. It would look bad it if had said Paris or France. It would have been real cheesy.

    http://www.anthonybaileyphotography.com

    Reply
  8. I liked your writing before Andy, after seeing the giant slab of meat on your plate and the fully loaded baked potato in the background I like ya even more!

    Reply
  9. All I see is a Damn fine looking baked potato…
    Is that a whole layer of bacon bits ?
    Ummm.

    Reply
  10. All I see is a Damn fine looking baked potato…
    Is that a whole layer of bacon bits ?
    Ummm.

    Reply
  11. Was that prepared rare or medium-rare?

    Reply
  12. Was that prepared rare or medium-rare?

    Reply
  13. I agree totally but I would take this one step forward. I have done a lot of traveling with my new camera in 2008 and have a total of over 10,000 for that year. I include a picture of a sign, garbage can, or map, etc… where ever I go so that later when I review a series of photographs I can answer the question “Was that Paris France or Paris Texas?”

    I cannot wait until I have a decent GPS set up to do away with this need. I have discovered a side benefit. I do end up photographing a lot of signs with information on them or scientific name of a tree or aboriginal name or just information I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. So that I can read them later. It keeps me from having to write things down and correlate them later with the photo

    Reply
  14. Never mind rare – that slab looks raw to me! I like mine shot AND cooked :-)

    Reply
  15. Oh man, they must have cooked that by only showing it a photo of an oven. :eek:
    :D

    Reply
  16. That could pass as a factor 15 sun tan! ;-)

    Reply
  17. When I was traveling across country I would take a photo of a license plate in each new state to identify the following series of photos. Not particularly clever but very effective. Thank God for GPS. When they come down in price I plan to get one. Great blog, Andy. Keep them coming!

    Reply
  18. When I was traveling across country I would take a photo of a license plate in each new state to identify the following series of photos. Not particularly clever but very effective. Thank God for GPS. When they come down in price I plan to get one. Great blog, Andy. Keep them coming!

    Reply
  19. I don’t mind if my steak if rare, I like it that way, but I was in Yellowstone last summer, and I must have totally missed Half Dome. When did they move it?

    Reply
  20. Anyone have the GPS coordinates of the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco?
    I’m so hungry! ;)

    Reply
  21. They probably placed their name on the knife was due to increase of theft. My cousin in the Azores has an espresso dish which reads right on the outer part of the cup plate “Stolen from restuarant xxx”. Can’t stop the thefts so why not at least advertise them.

    Reply
  22. They probably placed their name on the knife was due to increase of theft. My cousin in the Azores has an espresso dish which reads right on the outer part of the cup plate “Stolen from restuarant xxx”. Can’t stop the thefts so why not at least advertise them.

    Reply
  23. A Yellowstone sign would have been especially bad because Half Dome is NOT in Yellowstone.

    Reply
  24. At least that’s better than a shot of the Eiffel Tower, and a super that says: “Paris, France”.

    Reply
  25. At least that’s better than a shot of the Eiffel Tower, and a super that says: “Paris, France”.

    Reply
  26. … and not a vegetable in sight. How apologetically American.

    Reply
  27. … and not a vegetable in sight. How apologetically American.

    Reply

Let us know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

Category

Technique & Tutorials

Tags