It’s strange that almost all people accept arranged still life as an uncontroversial subject for a photographer, but are angered when “real life” is arranged in a similar way. I suppose people get angry whenever they believe they’re being fooled or taken advantage of. I’m reminded of something I read on Amy Stein’s blog: A Few Questions For Graham Miller.
AS: Sometimes people are downright angry when they learn my Domesticated photos are staged. Do you feel any push back from people when they discover your images are constructed? Why do you think people have such a hard time allowing for the personal vision and imagination of a photographer compared to a painter, musician or writer?
GM: I’ve not got the downright angry reaction…more like a kind of knowing, dismissive sigh. I guess the reason people have such a hard time with the constructed image is that for them it somehow feels like cheating. They still believe that because the photograph so closely resembles reality that somehow it must also be “true”. For me photography is much like writing- in the sense that you can approach writing about a subject or photographing it as fiction or non-fiction. Both are equally valid, and both are able to speak of the human experience in a moving and profound way. It does puzzle me when people go on about it. It just doesn’t feel the right approach for me to work in a traditional photojournalistic sense.