Project 1 – Eyewitnesses?

Objective – Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
                     Unbiased, Impartial, Fair, Open-minded

Can photographs ever be objective?

Arguments for:

  • The photographer would not have time to ‘pose’ the subjects, or choose what as happening in the background
  • Image that are in the press, and used in documentary photograph is capturing ‘real life events’
  • The photographer would have only had a split second to capture the image that they wanted
  • Citizen journalists, and photographers, wouldn’t be thinking about composition, lighting, etc. therefore making it more believable and more authentic

Arguments against:

  • The photographer would have taken more than one image, and chosen the best to make the most impact and have the greatest ‘shock factor’
  • Although, the subject matter wouldn’t have been ‘posed’, the photographer, still would have been able to choose when exactly to take the image
  • They would have had an image in mind when they set out to take the photograph and would be able to ‘force’ the viewer to see what they want
  • Everyone that sees the image will take on their own interpretation of it, depending on their own personal experiences



‘Walter Lippmann wrote in 1922: “Photographs have the kind of authority over imagination today, which the printed word had yesterday, and the spoken word before that. They seem utterly real.”‘ (Sontag, 2004, p. 24)

This quote suggests that, what people see in images can, in a way, control their imagination. Just like stories from the past that have may have had the truth bent slightly depending on who was communicating it.

Daily Mail image 08.09.15

Daily Mail image 08.09.15

The Independent image 08.09.15

The Independent image 08.09.15










These two images from two different newspapers on 08.09.2015, portrait the atrocities of life in Syria.

Both images show children, in a distressed way.
The photographers of both of these images, have shot them from far away, and in a non-intrusive way.
Although, the photographers would not have necessarily posed the images; before they were to take the picture, they, presumably, knew what they were going to take photographs of to catch the most shocking, and heart-wrenching images they could.

The lighting and composition has not been taken into consideration here, but the agenda of the photographers was to capture the emotions of the subjects, and to give the viewer the impression that they were there.



Overall, I do not think that in the modern day world, photographs can ever be objective. They can easily be captured (with the era of digital photography) and can make the viewer see exactly what the photographer wants them to see without them even realising it.


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