Do you feel like having your photographs staged makes them less personal or real?

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I learned that it doesn’t matter if images are staged or not. It doesn’t make them more or less truthful. We make unconscious decisions about how we want to be photographed. Sometimes I’ll look at my self-portraits and see that I presented something that is very true. And usually the ones that don’t work, it’s because they’re not honest; the light is beautiful, the colours are beautiful, but they’re not honest.

via Interview with Elinor Carucci | Greg Ceo Blog.

There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

  1. I see all images taken come from the photographer. So, in that sense they are personal even if they are staged as the image let’s us in the photographers mind.

  2. le cinémasagiste

    “I’ll look at my self-portraits and see that I presented something that is very true. And usually the ones that don’t work, it’s because they’re not honest; the light is beautiful, the colours are beautiful, but they’re not honest.”

    couldn’t agree more with that. I like to think my staged images come across more real and personal that any non-staged work I’ve ever done. There’s a delicate balance in staging images.

  3. I think that there is a fine line in the quality of a staged image, I have always liked the candid/intimate/photjournalistic approach to how I shoot. Which in part I am staging to a smaller or larger degree.

    I think it is true about Honesty in the results, it is what truely makes that special photo.

    Anyway, another great interview that helps in looking outside the box that we can trap ourselves in.

  4. The problem I have with staged photography is not its existence, but the fact that VERY few people do it well. That difficulty doesn’t make it a more noble pursuit, as it still does push the boundaries of what I consider the fundamental strength of photography (the ability to explore things that are real), just that very few people who choose that method have the strength of concept and ability to make it a reality. It’s probably closer to filmmaking. Some good ones: Helmut Newton and Paolo Roversi come to mind

  5. Honesty is the key here. Not only honesty as reflected by the subject, but honesty in the photographer’s intent.

    Rare is the occasion that a subject is completely unaware of the photographer’s presence. But you have to ask, is the photographer trying to represent an honest moment, one that unfolds before him or her? Or or is the photographer directing his subjects to capture something symbolic, which may reflect another kind of honesty? There are times, especially in portraiture, when a subject needs a little direction at times.

    But the photographer’s intent and approach should be clear to the audience. A posed portrait is one thing. But asking subjects to recreate a moment that the photographer initially missed is dishonest and lazy.

    Who is your audience and what are their expectations? Those are important questions to ask.

  6. I find it interesting the word ‘Honest’ is used in the above comment(s), but I think the word ‘Natural’ hits me closer.

    I took a photograph of an artist once, while he was looking at his computer screen, leaning back in his chair, glasses in the corner of his mouth in contemplation, other arm looped up, and hand relaxed over his head. It was a brief, simple portrait, but when he saw it later, he said, “That’s me!” interpretation meaning, this is a common sitting pose for him, and he recognized it within himself.

    I think he was so wrapped up in reviewing a (photographic) image on his screen, he didn’t realize I had snapped the photo. It was an “Honest” reflection of his daily routine, who he was as a person, moving through some of his more average, but necessary, daily routines. Free of the staged posing for impact shouting in the image ‘this is an artist at work’.

    I do believe this post is more focused on self portraiture, but I am not certain how one would accomplish this spontaneous capture of moment in ones own life. It is an interesting blog post question. It has made me think on the question. What is a natural self portrait which is an honest portrayal of ourselves?

    Regardless, I love our community of photographers, and photography enthusiasts. Cheers, DF