Signing and titling prints

August 21, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Like all photographers I hate signing prints.  It’s not modesty it’s just that once a print is made why disfigure it with a signature?  What happens if I mess up my signature and ruin an expensive print? What ink doesn’t smear when used on photographic paper? (A very fine “Sharpie” works on most but my current favorite is a three color ballpoint we received as a free gift from Jerry’s Artarama.)  

Signing the matte is silly as the matte can easily be changed and therefore doesn’t prove authenticity.  My latest solution is to leave a wide white margin around the print and to sign and number the print in that margin.  A buyer can mask it out with a matte but it is still there.

Giving titles to pictures is even more frustrating.  Just how exciting is “Winter Snow 2”? Probably a little more exciting than “Untitled 2”. 

I love language and wish I could invent short descriptive titles for every picture but so far I’m failing miserably. Ice on Alders is evocative and Abandoned Chair works but other subjects have no easily named feature   I often search a thesaurus and try to get get closer to a memorable and descriptive title. Which would you choose for an early morning photo? Daybreak? First Light? Crack of Dawn? Cock Crow? Sun Up? And then what happens when you make another print of a similar subject? Daybreak 2.  

Unfortunately, if names are not particularly memorable then even I can’t remember what I called them, so that if someone says “Where did you take Winter Snow 2? I have no clue what Winter Snow 2 looks like.  

My only conclusion - Anything is better than Untitled.

February Snow 2

February Snow 2

Brinsley Burbidge, 2013


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