Photography is selling us a lie

When it comes to what photography is predominantly used for in our society, documentation; or to put it simply to sell us a feeling or product. An extraordinary amount of advertisements focus on three emotional components to manipulate us. This idea is that whatever they are selling will bring us happiness, love, status or luxury. But advertisements wouldn’t work well if they focused on what we really need. Is advertisement or our focus photography selling us a lie?

Let’s say you stumbled, more accurately interrupted with an alcohol ad. Seeing people enjoy friendship, romance or relaxation lifestyle. Life of the party, a tropical branch or an extravagant environment is presented to you with a not-so-subtle suggestion that the alcoholic beverage creates this lifestyle. But in reality, they are just selling us alcohol, which we most likely will drink alone or use to escape and mask our current reality. It can’t actually give you what you want, happiness, love and/or status.

Photography is an escape and allusion to a falsehood. Even documentary photography is biest be it the intentions of the photographer, to the limitations of the frame. Making the photographer the director of a narrative they subcontrary intended. The act of photography is real, the image is just a representation. How that representation is used dictates its authenticity. That purpose be it to manipulate, reflect reality, sell or show a narrative.

My work is about escapism, to show you peace, stillness. My work can’t give you that, only show how I visual interpret charm. For me, the process of photography is meditative, which is a selfish act for my own well-being. If only my images could give you peace and stillness, but we can’t interact with a 2D world avoid of colour and movement. So my intent is pure, but the reality of it delivering my intent is a lie, even if I didn’t know it.

Photography is a lie in the sense that it’s a narrative made from a single point of view. Staged, framed and edited. That doesn’t make this art form ugly or any less important. But being self-aware of what this medium is, and how it can be used is a double-edged sword. The question is why are you taking that picture and what is your intent? Is it pure or is it for your own manipulative benefit? I hope it’s the prior.

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