‘Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.’
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)
We’re photographers. We know images aren’t real. Don’t we?
I mean, we know the image at right by Jerry Uelsmann (Untitled, 1991) doesn’t capture “the real”… logic tells us such a bizarre and implausible juxtaposition of object and situation must be a construction, right?
But what about “straight” images? Do they capture the real?
All images, after all, are constructions resulting from a range of authorial choices – decisions about camera angle, framing, cropping, focus, film stock, lighting, background, proximity, facial expressions and clothing, for example, all add to the meaning of an image.
Yet, despite their lack of objectivity, photographs are seen to have a special connection with the real, and are the standard against which the realism of all other images is measured.