I was reading a few articles on one of many news outlet pages I use in order to keep up with the world of photography and one article stood out from the others. It is about the famous portrait photographer Platon who took a photograph of a grieving mother at the Arlington National Cemetery in 2008 and how that picture of the war grave prompted Republican Colin Powell to call out the islamaphobia in his own party and back Barack Obama for President
The story itself is a wonderful explanation as to why photography is so important to us as humans, how it can connect us to other people without even meeting them, just by seeing a photograph we can almost touch that person and see a glimpse into their lives.
But without demeaning the point of the above story, something else in the video caught my eye. I took a screenshot of the frame in question and you can see it here below (click to see it bigger).
What I see here is the lies the camera can also be used to tell. Here we can see a “huge” gathering of people standing close to Trump, listening to his speech and so on. But I wonder if you notice what I see ? If you look closely at the person taking a photograph on his/her smartphone there in the foreground you’ll see how much empty space there is around Trump, but that’s not what you see from the screenshot itself is it ?
This is what is called controlled perspective and is done by using a longer lens to compress the foreground in comparison to the main subject. You can make a room look full just by strategically place people directly behind and in front of the subject, use a long focal length lens and shoot from far away but zoomed all the way in.
Does this make you think how many photographs are really doctored in the media ? If not, maybe you should start looking at the news and media outlets with a more critical eye 😉
Image by Platon, Video by Milk Gallery