Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

The joy of pictures with descriptions


I'm a visual person, so I like pictures. But I'm also interested in descriptions. I've found that it's a difficult balance when I'm sharing photos of old-time Phoenix.

Speaking for myself, at the very least I'd like to see a caption. Just a couple of sentences would be nice. And not just "here's an old photo". On the other hand, I don't want to see paragraph after paragraph of description, going into tedious detail. When I see that, I immediately go into TLDR (Too Long, Didn't Read).

Of course everyone has a different opinion on this. I know a lot of people who just want to look at pictures with absolutely no description. I suppose it would be same as looking through old photos in a thrift store, which wouldn't really interest me. I always want to know a little bit. Just a little bit. And then just a little bit more.

I collect digital images of old Phoenix and have been posting them on the web for years. And I've tried to do the balance of enough information without "TLDR". It's tricky, and I've found that my descriptions seem to be fine for most people, but of course some people don't want any description at all, and some people want way more than I do. The greatest compliment I get is someone complaining that the post was too short, and then there are people who want me to explain something "in a sentence or two".

When I see a photo like the one at the top of this post, the description is fine, but it leads me to other questions, like where Echo Canyon is (it's in Camelback Mountain), and what exactly they meant by a "Bowl" (it's similar to the Hollywood Bowl, a natural amphitheater). And then I start researching amphitheaters, and start looking at Hollywood, and then I'm off trying to figure out something else, and every answered question opens up a thousand more unanswered ones.

For me, the best way to deal with this is to write a blog, which is what you're seeing here. I try to limit each blog post to a few paragraphs, and then set aside the other questions for later. As of this writing, I've written over 900 of these, and I see no end in sight. Writing this stuff down helps me understand it better, and it also gets it in front of people, like you, who can help me.

I like pictures, and I like descriptions. Thank you for your help!

Image at the top of this post: Plans for Echo Canyon in 1927.

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