Lens Compression and Social Distance’

This article shows some example of how photographs can distort our impressions of space, important at a time when social distancing’ is a matter of general concern

Image showing effects of lens compressionImage showing effects of lens compression

These Photos Show How Easy it is to Create Fake News’ with Photography

A Danish photo news agency recently tasked two of its photog[raphers]s with creating a series that shows how easy it is to lie through photography. By shooting before and after photos of the same scene, they showed how angle and perspective can, consciously or not, manipulate viewers and lead to accusations of fake news.

Personally, I would take exception to the use of the word lie’ in this paragraph, perhaps create a misleading impression designed to fit the particular agenda of the story the organisation wants to tell’ would be more appropriate but this is from an online photography site so they’re probably not over-concerned with using moderate language! Also, the photos aren’t really before and after’, they’re just different photos of the same scene, taken with different lenses, from different angles and at different distances. Anyway, have a look at these photographs and be aware that just as images can’t lie’, neither are they necessarily the truth’.

If you’re interested in reading an academic consideration of whether images can lie, and indeed, what images can say’, try the link below, it’s one of my favourite pieces of writing on images and truth’.

Sol Worth (1981) Images Can’t Say Ain’t”: ↗️ View PDF

Also, I would add that when I worked as a news video cameraman, one of the things I learned was how to make a place look more crowded that it is (alternatively, how to create an image that expresses accurately that a place was crowded, when simply pointing the camera and shooting doesn’t give that impression) - raise the camera and shoot with a long zoom, this compresses space and captures the feeling of a place being crowded (whether it really’ is or not). Ultimately it’s not the camera that lies’ but the person using the camera who decides to use it in a manipulative way or not.

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