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Naming “The Cat”

What’s in a name? Many photographers (and painters) give a title to their images. Sometimes it is something meaningful, sometimes something pretentious, and sometime something self evident, like “Nude 3, October ’23”. In the image I chose here, I decided to call it “The cat” as it reminds me of a cat I used to know that frequently lay in this position and wanted to be stroked on the stomach. (I am not saying this model wanted the same!) And sometime she would reach out and scratch me. (Again, for clarity, I am referring to the cat!) So it seemed fitting.

But why do people name their images? Usually it is simply because people (mostly other people) like to cluster similar items together, and to do that, you need to have a shorthand for an image. Imagine a library full of books none of which had a title. In the same way, to catalogue (and cluster) images, you have to have some “handle” from which you can create a commonality, be it date, subject matter, genre or any other category. Of course, it could be you want to have a section in your portfolio (or gallery catalogue) called “Images shot at f/20 with a 31mm lens.” But that is not very helpful (thought I am sure somebody, somewhere must have done it just to create attention for an otherwise boring collection of images!)

On the subject matter, I also wanted to step outside my comfort zone and try something where I was not 100% sure of the outcome.

My biggest problem was size. The “studio” was relatively small. So the background paper is only just wide enough for this shot with me being as far back as possible. The softbox was as I high as I could put it, but given the light itself is around 80cms, the total height available is limited.

Naturally, I could have “extended” the background in post-production. But that is an area I continue to avoid. Why? In this case I enjoy the challenge of using what is available, creating something digitally that once existed in reality, rather than 50% of reality and 50% post-production.

I also looked closely at whether it should be in colour or black and white, and in the end chose the latter. However, I may revisit that later, as the colour version had an amazing richness.


Aperture: f/20

Exposure time: 1/160 sec.

Lens: 31 mm

ISO: 100