I didn't want to steal Ctein's thunder on Thursday, but it might be worth noting that the subject he wrote about is perhaps the clearest instance I can think of where his opinion and mine are more or less opposed. I've argued many times and sometimes at length that photographs differ from art in that they often have significance and meaning that goes beyond their visual content.
I'm sure I could deal with a visit to Pier 24 just fine; I usually don't have much problem getting with the program and going with the flow, experiencing things as they're presented. I will say that I would generally rather look at the kind of photographs that need words than those that don't. (My all-time favorite photography book is one which gives equal weight to words and pictures—meaning, far more weight to words than usual.) I more often have too little information about what I'm looking at than too much. Even, many times, with pictures the photographers want to present as wordless art. Photography isn't just art.
What it comes down to is perhaps that titles, captions, context and explication are just one more area of creative potential for any photographer, who can choose to utilize them or not depending on their own judgment, taste, and intentions. And whether you prefer to know the context or meaning of a photograph or not might merely depend on what kind of photograph you're looking at: some kinds of pictures don't require words; with others, it's a travesty to strip away the vital story of what the picture is a picture of. Many pictures alone are just mute illustrations of lost stories, silent witnesses, their significance buried and gone.
But that's just my opinion. The broader point is that every writer on this site is speaking for themselves. Including me. We often do have similar points of view. But sometimes we don't.
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