Constructed Realities

When considering whether constructed realities in images are a "lie" I think context is important. As I have mentioned in this post, it is often believed that an image presented as news or photojournalism has an ethical responsibility to be truthful and therefore not constructed.  In this context the viewer will trust the image and the image maker to show reality. 

Take the work of Giovanni Troilo, who initially won the World press photo for his project "The Dark Heart of Europe" before being stripped of the award after it was found that he had fabricated parts of the project. It is interesting, however, on this occasion the fact that Troilo staged some of the images was dismissed as “The contest requires photojournalists do not stage pictures to show something that would otherwise have not taken place,” (Zhang, 2018).  

 Photo Giovanni Troilo from "The Dark Heart of Europe"

Photo Giovanni Troilo from "The Dark Heart of Europe"

Constructing Realities within photography could be compared to the written art form. Newspaper journalism would be perceived as being truthful where as a fictional novel would be given freedom to explore narratives and ideas regardless of how fantastical. In this regard I think readers of fiction are acclimatised to decipher whether a book is fictional or real life. By its very nature painting provides a disconnect to allow the viewer to think that they may not be seeing an exact replica of the scene the artist was working with. Photography is still seen through the eye of truth, unless we are forewarned.  

In my own practice I tend to shy away from constructing an image, other than deciding what to include within the scene, however my work for the photo agency does require a certain amount of construction similar to Trolio's work, creating a scene that could have happened organically. 

One area that interests me is the use of constructed narratives.  I am particularly interest in the work of David Alan Harvey. 

 Photo by David Alan Harvey from "Based on a True Story" (https://www.davidalanharvey.com/basedonatruestory/

Photo by David Alan Harvey from "Based on a True Story" (https://www.davidalanharvey.com/basedonatruestory/

Harvey's work has come from photojournalism and documentary, but he has now started to create fictional bodies of work. This is something I am interested to explore through my work. Although his images are staged, or at least created with the use of a central "Actor", they resemble documentary images, but are in some way controlled and set up.  The narrative of the project is also Fictional. I find it interesting that if one looked at the project without knowing it was a work of fiction would it become confusing. Does knowing that it is a work of fiction mean that it is read and thus, experienced, differently. This is something I am looking to research through the MA.

 

References

References

Harvey, D. (2018). (based on a true story). [online] David Alan Harvey. Available at: https://www.davidalanharvey.com/basedonatruestory/ [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].

Zhang, M. (2018). World Press Photo Strips Giovanni Troilo of His First Prize Win for Misrepresenting Photo. [online] PetaPixel. Available at: https://petapixel.com/2015/03/04/world-press-photo-strips-giovanni-troilo-of-his-first-prize-win-for-misrepresenting-photo/ [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].