Photo Captions and You

Due to the nature of the work I do (and thankfully get paid for), I tend to spend a fair amount of time on social media. Translation: I get to spend all day on Facebook and Twitter, and every 27 and a half minutes I get to answer the question, “lol dude ur always on fb wtf man lol?”

What this also means is that I’m exposed (against my wishes) to a fair amount of photographs that have no business being on the internet. But I’ve made my peace with that. It’s a free world, people can express themselves via a medium of their choosing. I won’t really say anything against that otherwise the “Avtar = Stalin” posters will hit the printing machines again.

What I haven’t made my peace with is the kind of captions people think deserve to go with these photographs. Let me quickly plug in something very important, a life lesson for everyone: photo captions are optional. Always.

Since there are people out there who don’t believe in evolution (LOL BUT IF WE EVOLVED FROM MONKEYS EXPLAIN MONKEYS TO ME TODAY HAH GOTCHA!), I’m sure a few of you are skeptical about what sort of captions I’m talking about, or as they are more aptly called – craptions. Allow me to jog your memory and explain to you who these people are and what they do.

1. The Quote Junkies

“A woman should be two things, classy and fabulous” – Coco Chanel, reads a caption on a photo of a girl who just bought a new dress. Note: she may or may not be wearing the new dress, it might just be in a bag and she could be in the middle of a mall posing with it, the entire point of the photo now being that yes, I go to malls! I’M SUCH A SHOPAHOLIC LOL.

Or better yet, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” – Marilyn Monroe. I guess that’s what Hitler got wrong in World War 2, he wasn’t wearing the right loafers.

Great choice girls!

Good ol’ Marilyn Monroe.

I’ve seen these captions on at least 684 photos in the last year. It drives me absolutely fucking insane. Putting aside the fact that you’re quoting a Nazi spy (Coco Chanel) and Marilyn Monroe (explained above), you’re not being classy or fabulous by wearing a new dress, tilting your head to the side and smiling with one of your hands on your waist. It’s pretty much the same thing as me putting up a photo posing with a gun in it with the caption, “Where there is love, there is life.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

2. Hearts, Kisses and General Bullshitters

Last month, I removed someone from my friends list because of this. They uploaded an album with the title, “BEST DAY EVA ❤ ❤ <3”. Now if you went bungee jumping in New Zealand or if you cuddled puppies for the entire day at the pet shelter, I’d forgive you for your questionable grammar, spelling and album title, but you uploaded 184 photographs of you and your friends at Burger King and every photo had the caption, “besties 4 lyf ❤ <3”.

There were 36 close-up photographs of french fries for fuck’s sake.

I did the only thing I could do. I commented on one of the photos which had all of them in it saying, “Can’t believe you guys are still friends after what she said about you” and then removed the person from my friends list. That probably ruffled a few feathers and caused a fair amount of suspicion.

3. Those Damn Hashtags Addicts

Let’s get this straight, you shouldn’t be using hashtags on Facebook. Ever. Even if you get money for it. Even though Facebook now supports hashtags, you still shouldn’t do it, primarily because Zuckerberg doesn’t either and all of Facebook realized how fucking stupid it was to incorporate hashtags. Enter Instagram, the only place on the internet apart from Twitter where you should use hashtags. And under no circumstances should you be using #swag or #yolo.

You're doing YOLO right.

You’re doing YOLO right.

Here’s a general rule of thumb, if you’re going to use a hashtag on Instagram, use at the most: two or three. That is all. Do not take a picture of yourself getting coffee and use the caption: #coffee #earlybirdgetstheworm #latte #starbucks #omgcoffee #needtostayup #zombiemodedeactivate #cantgetenoughcoffee #firstoftheday #yolo #swaghat #getthisdaystarted #conquertheworld #liveyourdreams #firstactivityoftheday #kickstart #caffeine #shotshotshotshot #toomanyhashtagslol #latergram #swag #yolopuppies.

4. The Storytellers

Tell me something honestly, do you think it’s appropriate for you to type out five paragraphs as a caption for a photograph? STOP THINKING, THE ANSWER IS NO DAMMIT. Oh yes, we have those too. Picture of a birthday cake, and a massive 500 word caption associated with it, thanking everyone who was involved in the baking of the cake, delivering it to the house and finally eating it. It’s amazing how at moments like these you tend to see the best in people. Send a damn e-mail. Jesus.

“And a big hug to [censored] for organizing this amazing surprise! What would I do without people like you!”

Bitch, you told me last weekend you hate his guts. You ain’t fooling no one.

Okay, maybe if it’s a birthday surprise and you’re thanking all your friends for getting you a cake and making you feel special – I can understand that. You want all your friends to know they’re appreciated (even though it’s a massive inconvenience to the rest of us) and you want it to be publicly shown and what not. Fair enough.

But. Sunday lunch with a couple of friends who you caught up with after a long time? Please don’t go and put up 300 words about how much you missed them as a photo caption. “We should do this more often!” will suffice.

Basic message: When it comes to photo captions, less is more.




  1. Roshni Kaura · October 14, 2013

    And of course picture credits. They are very important. I am sure you’ve witnessed people beg for it. Tch Tch.

    • Avtar · October 15, 2013

      Oh, you mean “BLUE OCEAN PHOTOGRAPHY 2013”. That’s best reserved for another discussion.

  2. chana · October 15, 2013

    Haha.. funny and makes sense.
    “Giv a girl the right shoes..” ha ha ha
    I guess they’ll realise someday that fb in itself is such a waste of time and that uploading pics and updating ur status in every two mins is so wannabeish!

    • Avtar · October 15, 2013

      Baby pictures? Here are 500.

  3. Tanya · October 15, 2013

    Haha! Thanks for writing this. Truly second this.
    Gone are the good ol’ days of analogue cameras and photo albums for reminiscence. Suddenly everyone around is a photojournalist, posting their every move on war footing. You are exposed to a lot of mundane information only making you wonder ” Why am I even friends with this retard” ?
    Is it just me or FB isn’t fun anymore. 😦

    • Avtar · October 15, 2013

      The cool people are on Twitter.

  4. tanushree · October 15, 2013

    so funny avtar… and so true!

  5. raveena · October 16, 2013

    I’m sharing this to let everyone feel as guilty as i am for being a hashtag addict!

    And so aptly ended with that basic message (laughing)!

    You’re succha cool funny writer. When is a novel releasing ? *can’t wait*!

    • Avtar · October 21, 2013

      You are very good for my self-confidence Raveena, remind me to buy you a drink (or seven) the next time I’m in town.

  6. purva · October 17, 2013

    This right here is why I despise society.I too spend a lot of time online,not because I get paid or anything but simply because logging out on people in actual physical conversations makes me look like a lunatic. And number #1 happens to be my pet peeve,because people don’t seem to realize that everyone has access to What all of this actually is,is that its compensation for a complete lack of personality. Its also misguiding as for what pictures are actually about. When people upload pictures with the caption “besties 4 lyf ❤ <3″ at burger king,what they want to you to look at is all the weight they have lost recently. These are also the kind of people who try to learn a foreign language,fail miserably and use Google translate on the title of every selfie album they upload on facebook from then on.To them I say nobody on your friends list speaks Swahili,you pretentious douchebag,stop being a prick.

    • Avtar · October 21, 2013

      Hahahahah! Oh that last line is just gold. That’s a good point though, I think I might have to expand my friends list a little because I haven’t yet come across those foreign language album names as yet – I think I’m missing out! And you’ve got the rest absolutely spot on.

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