When looking at news stories one realizes that there isn’t such a thing as a “true story”. All parties involved in a story have their own truth. We as the observer have our own truth as well and we all together can maybe agree on an essential truth like, yes the car crashed into a tree. But that might be already all we can agree on, probably only because there is a photo showing a car crashed into a tree. About the whys and hows we have our own ideas. Yet there is something more in the image.
There is always the truth of the moment the photo was taken in an image and even this truth differs. The reason is the photographer. In the example of the car crash one image might have been taken by a bystander with the cell phone, another image by a police photographer and another image by a relative of the driver. All three images of the same car crash will show a different truth, because each photographer looks at it with different eyes. The bystander probably wanted to be the first to post the image to the internet. The police photographer will try to photograph the crash in a way that all technical details are in the image for further investigation. The relative most likely will photograph with great compassion, shock and grief. That means that three different truths happened. For the bystander the crash was a sensation, for the police photographer a case and for the relative a disaster. When putting all three photos in the newspaper the reader will see and feel all three truths of the same event.
That means photographing the truth happens by pressing the shutter. It’s the truth of the moment the photographer connects with in his/her personal way.
Ute Sonnenberg, www.rohoyachui.com