Well, some time ago I purchased a book titled “Truth in Photography” which reinforced my personal belief that there is no such thing as truth in a photograph regardless of whether or not any manipulation had been applied. It is a point that can be argued but not in a way that can persuade me differently.
My OPINION is that there is nothing about a photograph that is true. Certainly not the depth—the real world has that third dimension that simply does not exist in a photograph. Yes, you can give the illusion of depth but you cannot replicate depth in the two dimensional photograph.
Point of View or perspective can approximate human vision but human vision cannot approximate the photograph. We see very limited sharpness—the camera sees everything sharp. A good demonstration of this is to hold your hand at arm’s length with the fingers spread; focus on the thumb and you will be aware in your peripheral vision that the outer fingers are actually not sharp. You cannot even see the flat of your hand at arm’s length sharp from thumb to little finger. What does that say about how we see the rest of the world? The photograph that has very limited depth of field comes much closer to approximating the way we actually see but most photographers will argue that point. I am in agreement with Cartier-Bresson when he says that sharpness (in a photograph) is a bourgeois concept. Certainly it is a mistaken concept that we see that way.
Take a blond in a red sweater to a bar, to a sports arena, to lunch at high noon, dinner by candlelight or to the beach and you will see the same color blond hair and the same color red sweater. The camera would see the hair and the sweater very differently in each of these lighting situations. This is not to even consider the monochrome photograph—how’s that for truth?
Without belaboring the point, I simply do not believe that there is any truth in a photograph beyond verisimilitude—the appearance of being real. It is not real. It is not truth. It is simply a flattened, usually miniaturized and often discolored sliver grabbed from what is reality. The day you start seeing in squares and rectangles with borders please let me know.
All of which leads to one simple statement. Do not expect to see truth in my photographs.
There are lots of things like emotion, poignancy, beauty of form, a piece of me, chaos, fear, the past, the future or simply my little world that I snap into existance which I would like to make visible in my photographs. To do that I will and do take any liberties that I feel work. What a relief; now, it will never again be necessary for me to inform the viewer when I have cloned out an object, added an object, change the hue or intensity of a color or even used an action to enhance what is within the frame of any of my photographs… or suppose that my photographs possess any relationship to truth beyond the metaphorical.
Hence forward I am free to lie with my camera to my hearts content.