Queen Juliana Bridge, Curaçao 1980
You choose a lens, an angle to shoot from, a frame within which a selected part of what you see will be depicted, the items that will be juxtaposed. You decide what will happen in foreground and background and if you’re going to shoot black and white or color. Then you make up your mind if you are going to wait for the sun or that you’ll be using flash or tungsten, or maybe both. Or maybe a time exposure?
Slowly you’re getting the idea of what your picture – your ‘slice of reality’ – is going to look like. The final result will furthermore be influenced by your camera format and the filters you’re using, all of them adding extra subjectivity.
Finally, just before ‘the decisive moment’, your decisive moment, you ask your subject – in case you’re shooting people – to look a little to the left or right, and then you push the button. The shutter will be released and reality will be captured.
Then you start up your computer and use a raster graphics editing program to add the final touch. If you had chosen to work in the traditional, analogue way you’ll end up in the darkroom where you’re confronted with lots of hard to avoid, but fully accepted, chemical and printing effects.
One way or the other, you’re always dealing with a personal, subjective vision of reality, which means nothing in photography, staged or not, is ‘real’ or ‘true’. It only looks like it.
Just as Richard Avedon once said: “All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”