Cindy Sherman is a good example of fiction in still images. Jeff Wall would be another example, though perhaps we should just include nearly all advertising photography of the last several decades.

There is a believability of photography, something about an anticipated truthfulness, or honest accuracy. Much as Cindy Sherman stated "I learned that photographs lie". Thomas Demand is another example, constructing models of scenes reminding us of news events, or social commentary, made mostly out of cardboard.

I would state more of divisions being realistic, representational, surrealistic, or abstract. While maybe photojournalism could be realistic, many images would probably fit more easily into being representational. A good example is any B/W image; unless you have some unusual form of colour blindness it is likely most people see the world in colour. Longer time exposures are another easy example, since our eyes cannot see what takes place over that period of time in the same way as film.

To compare with painting, it might be easy to think of the detail information, though it is not necessary for photographs to have detail. Even in painting, when you provide enough information (detail), then the minds eye of the viewer fills in the rest. I approach large format photography in this manner, more with the idea of enough information, and letting the viewer imagine the rest. I only mention this in regard to large format due to my slower approach and the usage of selective focus, though that is not all I do, nor my only method.

It can be fun to show people something unexpected, that is a photograph. The expectation of reality is strong enough that only something a little bit different can change perception. Of course there are historians and photojournalists who want the most realistic view possible, though even then the camera points both ways. We might have a view of a scene, though in reality we have a view of the photographer.


Gordon Moat
A G Studio