The Nature of Truth, Art, and Propaganda in Photography

Here’s an interesting video in which acclaimed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (the guy who directed The Fog of War) talks about the issue of truth in photography, and how he thinks we’ve forgotten that there’s a connection between photos to the physical world.

Photographs are neither truth nor false. Talking about the truth or falsit of a photograph is nonsense talk […] All photographs are posed.

He also makes the point that sometimes photographs are posed by excluding things.

  • swankFoto

    Cool to see this mentioned.
    Errol is quite a bit more than just the guy who “directed” Fog of War.

  • Anita

    Thanks for posting this, Michael! I could watch Errol Morris talk about this stuff all day. And I need to get that book of his!

  • Robbie McCarthy

    I would HIGHLY recommend his book for anyone who is intrigued by this video. I can’t help but think about Errol when I hear anyone talking about ‘truth’ in media.

  • James Robinson

    good timing!! I’m currently writing a speech on the truth of war photography for university, this will help me out so so much cheers :)

  • Hrunga Zmuda

    A Specious argument that photos are posed by cropping. That’s lazy thinking, or an excuse to justify not working harder to make sure a photo or video looks like what it’s intended to convey. I’ve heard these arguments for 25 years, and they are no more original now than they were decades ago when Cliff Edom challenged photojournalist to stop posing the photos and start shooting like journalists equal to the writers photojournalists work with when he started the pj program at the Iniversity of Missouri-Colombia.

    Morris is right in the context of documentary video/movies. But please don’t use the same logic for every style of photography. As the wisest said once, “The camera never lies, but photographers do.” A camera shows what it sees from a two-dimensional point of view.