Part Of The Role Of Photography Is To Exaggerate

- - Blog News

‘Most of the photographs in your paper, unless they are hard news, are lies,” says Martin Parr. “Fashion pictures show people looking glamorous. Travel pictures show a place looking at its best, nothing to do with the reality. In the cookery pages, the food always looks amazing, right? Most of the pictures we consume are propaganda.”

— Martin Parr

via Telegraph.

There Are 14 Comments On This Article.

  1. Agree with Jeremy. Parr says all that like it’s a bad thing. One of the main reasons I decided to become a photographer was the ability to alter reality in a sometimes fantastical way. To elevate my imagery above the mundaneness of ordinary “real” life. “Color my world” so to speak, much like a painter would. Besides, even in smoothing out the rough edges of reality, one can still express every conceivable emotion in their work if they so choose…

  2. Kind of a straw man argument, mostly because it implies that people don’t realize advertising and marketing don’t tell the full truth. Anyone with much of a brain knows it’s intentionally all fantasy, and some go ahead and buy a particular fantasy anyway, while others don’t. And some of his assertions are just wrong. Fashion can often be far from glamorous, and sometimes travel destinations are far, far more beautiful than a photograph could ever capture. As for food, well, you sell the sizzle not the steak.

  3. “It takes a genius to recognize the obvious” said Oscar Wilde. By that definition Martin Parr (who also makes entertaining photos is a Snooki find of way) clearly is angling for a Nobel Prize and possibly a MacArthur grant.

  4. “…unless they are hard news” ? That is very often propaganda too. Often the photographer is aligned with the side he is shooting. Take Libya: many images show the rebels as epic Mad-Max-Freedom-Fighters, shot from the ground, using wide angles while shooting rockets in the desert. Both photographer and fighter know what they are doing and what kind of impact it will have on the reader.

  5. Ahhh…. no shit. How many portrait/wedding photographers have had less than photogenic clients walk in their studio and thought, “Oh, crap.” It’s always been the photographer’s job to make the model look gorgeous; the food look delicious; the product look immaculate; the location look exotic. If the camera never lies, then the truth must be that photographers are notorious, pathological liars.

  6. I get that…but in a certain internal sense, particularly with regard to places, but also people, the memory and the feeling of the place – in other words the imprint that they make on the experiencer’s brain – is as real as the place or moment itself. For the person, what they will possess for far longer a time than their actual experience of a place or moment is the memory of the place or moment. But that’s not a static thing. Memories morph and becomes steeped in layers of context and distance and nostalgia.

    So, certainly, photos that show up in a magazine or newspaper are propaganda in that they wouldn’t be there unless they were trying to sell something. But the stylization, the selective crop, the improved lighting…I find my brain does that with memories anyway. The photograph is just a shortcut to seeing not necessarily what I WILL experience if I were to travel to that place, but what the memories will look like to me after I have.

    Insofar as that is at least partially true, I don’t think such photograph’s should be considered lies.

  7. Mischa Gawronski

    The problem ist not the photography. Its the people, that dont understand that photography isnt reality.

  8. the world is my world….

    so said Wittgenstein….

    and for a photographer, that’s very, very true…. your job is to make others see what you see…. no more, no less… and of course, it’s a better-than-reality “reality”, or sometimes a worse-than-reality “reality”

    of course, with photoshop, the “reality” bit is more and more questionable… hence the central reality-mind-trick of photography may be retreating….

  9. Photography and Music are lies . The Digital era has brought in fraud to the masses. Artifical Flavor etc the processed food suck also. That just me.