Such striking portraiture in documentary photography--well, except that girl over there with the two sets of butts.

Also here is some food for thought:

“Documentary, he says, is ‘stark record.’ Any alteration or manipulation of the facts, for propaganda or other reasons, he considers ‘a direct violation of our tenets.’ [Evans] was shocked when his FSA colleague Arthur Rothstein was found to have moved the cow’s skull, because ‘that’s where the word ‘documentary’ holds: you don’t touch a thing. You ‘manipulate,’ if you like, when you frame a picture-one foot one way or one foot another. But you’re not sticking anything in.’ For Evans, documentary is actuality untouched….” -Stott, William (Documentary Expression and Thirties America).


The issue of objectivity and subjectivity is constantly butting with the concept of documentary photography.

Subjective standpoints depend on the judgements of particular times, places and people, so it can’t be the same thing as objective truths—

circumstances are brought upon us and we encapture it through our own perceiving.

On the subject of objectivity in documentary photography, photojournalism was developed more keenly around the 1930s through the photographic unit of the FSA, depicting harsh visual truths of rural poverty.

The photographs are not a replication of experience. They only build a connection of awareness to the viewer. The viewer may be disturbed, but is the image understood? That is—can the image present itself to the viewer on a collective whole rather than something exclusive?

Isn’t the core of the image relevant, pertaining to reality and morality—whether it was manipulated or not? (In Rothstein’s case, it is difficult to avoid the fact that there was a drought occurring whether the cow’s skull was laying on a sparse grassy area or not.)

What is documentary truth?

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