Caption This

Caption This

Caption This


by Barbara Levine and Paige Ramey


176 pages with essays by Barbara Levine and Paige Ramey, Kim Beil and design by Martin Venezky. Published by Princeton Architectural Press

Whether it's words in pencil scrawled below an old Polaroid or a pithy caption on a social media photo today, we've all felt a pull to describe in words and sentences the pictures and moments of our lives. This celebration of a century of personal photo captions, in all their forms, themes, and voices, explores the captivating (and often contradictory) relationship between what we see in photos and what we say about them.

Through 150 color and black-and-white vintage photographs of everyday people dating back to the early twentieth century, arranged in nine thematic chapters (This is me groovingThis is my snarky sideThis is me in love, etc.), Caption This reveals the funny and surprising history of the captions emblazoned beneath, lurking behind, or even scrawled across the images.

“This book contains some of the best writing on photographs—literally on photographs!

The intimate inscriptions found on snapshots gathered here convey photography’s promise: the shared pleasures of viewing and naming everyday epiphanies.”

Brian Wallis, Executive Director
Center for Creative Photography at Woodstock

Barbara Levine and Paige Ramey are collectors, artists, and curators specializing in vernacular photography. Their photography collection, known as PhotoMania, was recently acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and their first collection of vintage photograph albums was acquired by the International Center of Photography in New York. They run Project B, an archive and collaborative curatorial venture. They live in Houston, Texas, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.