Monday, June 25, 2012

SNEAK PEEK #4: Captioning!

Writing captions for Imagining Winnipeg - the book's proper title, as opposed to my usual "Foote book" - was a two week project.

UMP Director David Carr and I split up the 150+ images and set out to write comprehensive captions for each of them.

Most - but not all - of the images came with captions, written either by Foote himself or by an Archives of Manitoba staff person.

In some cases, the captions were cursory, likely intended to jog Foote's memory when he searched his extensive library of images.

We were after captions that more closely resembled those in a newspaper: at the very least, they had to provide a where and a what.

And so, we tried to attach proper names to the photos if possible, which meant names and/or affiliations for the subjects of photos. We also tried to pinpoint the location of each photo.

The goal was to provide enough information to readers that if they wanted to, they could easily do further research on the person/place/thing.

Sometimes, it was a matter of removing incorrect information from the captions. Foote was human and so made human errors over the course of his long career.

We consulted Google maps, archival maps and the Winnipeg Free Press well as authorities in a variety of fields.

There were also often subtle clues in the photos themselves - such as the shingle of a small business that included its address - all of which meant we were able to add more information to the images.

When we'd made radical changes to the Foote/Archives captions, we printed out evidence to support the changes to share with author Esyllt Jones.

She spent several long stretches with us, verifying the captions, which were then copy-edited for consistency's sake and sent to the graphic designer.

We expect to edit them a final time, depending on how the captions fit on the page...

Next comes a compiling of all the people who contributed photos to the book and/or contributions to this blog.

It's a big list, let me tell you...for which we are immensely grateful.

Ariel Gordon
UMP Promotions/Editorial Assistant 

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