Media Manipulate Reality: Photographer Took Photos Of People In Public From 2 Perspectives

Media Manipulate Reality

You may know that reality is subjective. Our perception may change in a second depending on how much and what exactly we know. But two Danish photographers have taken the concept to a new level.

In this pandemic, keeping a safe distance is very important. Even if countries are starting to loosen restrictions on quarantine, it doesn’t mean it’s over. But how do we know, from the photos alone, that people are doing what’s right? It turns out, we will never can.

Photographers Ólafur Steinar Gestsson and Philip Davali carried out an experiment for the photo agency Ritzau Scanpix. The Copenhagen-based artists took photos of the same people sitting outside on the same day. Their trick was to use two different perspectives—a wide-angle and a telephoto lens. The pictures show a huge difference in the gap between these people and make us rethink the things we believe.

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Telephoto-lens

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Wide angle

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Kristian told Bored Panda how he came up with the idea: “The proximity of people has widely been debated in Denmark in the past weeks. Danish politicians and authorities have frequently referred to images which they believed to show members of the public behaving in disagreement with the general guidelines.”

Telephoto-lens

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Wide angle

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

As a national photo news agency that provides visual coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, “we became aware that our contribution could be misread,” said Kristian. This unique and critical situation has assigned a new meaning to basic technical facts like the choice of angle and perspective. “The technical choices have never been a debatable issue in the history of photography,” Kristian explained.

Telephoto-lens

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Since the effect of misreading photography is completely new, Kristian can’t see why it can be used with ill intention. And this is something we need to be informed of. “As producers of photography, we have a responsibility to draw attention to the fact that images in some cases do not show the proximity of objects as people seem to believe,” Kristian said that the right solution would be to explain the circumstances in the captions of the pictures so that they won’t be misread.

Wide angle

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Telephoto-lens

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Wide angle

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Telephoto-lens

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

The wide-angle is the same as the way our eyes see. Ólafur Steinar Gestsson explained to a local Danish website: “it takes wider pictures, and as a photographer, you use it when you are close to what you need to photograph.” Similar types of cameras are built into our iPhones.

The telephoto lens is the long lens used to shoot press meetings, matches, and any circumstance where the subject is far away. “It gets closer to what you are photographing, and in a way, it pulls the subject together,” he said.

Wide angle

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Ólafur told TV2 that viewers should be conscious of the lens and gear photographers used to take a precise picture. “If there was a description in the caption of how the image was taken, the editor would have the freedom to choose.” According to him, photographers “must always keep in mind how we do our job, especially in times of the corona crisis.”

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