Does a Photograph Need a Caption

Bob Grundy-Leavers Lace
Bob Grundy-Leavers Lace

As a young photographer, I had foolishly decided that photographs should stand on their own and do not need descriptions, however as I got older I also got wiser. This is a portrait of Bob Grundy, Bob worked at Leavers Lace for over 25 years and he looks the part. One look and you know that he works on machines like this his whole life. Does the image become more important when you know that not only has Bob worked on this machine for over 35 years, but that his father worked on it for over 40 years, and that his grandfather worked on it for over 40 years? Does it change the image when you realize that Bob grew up literally in his father’s shadow, working on this machine since he was able to work and that his father did the same with his grandfather? Is the image more important when you realize that Bob and his ancestors have been on this machine since it was new in 1900? Does it change your perception when I tell you that Leavers Lace is finished and Bob no longer works there? It certainly changes the image for me, and I shot it. Bob and his ilk will be missed since this was the last lace manufacturer left in the United States. Do photographs need descriptions? You decide.

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