Sweaty Man on Metro in Color

Firewing Photography

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A man works on crossword puzzles during a hot metro ride, Washington, DC, August, 2016. With the choices we make, we photographers can decide how our subjects are seen. We hide being “high truth values,” but as Garry Winogrand or Joel Meyerowitz would attest, we are actually incapable of capturing truth. We shoot not what a thing is, but how it looked to our camera. I can shoot the same with balanced contrast (photo 1) and show what I saw, a man concentrating on a crossword on a train with no A/C. Or I can darken the contrast, hide his eyes (photo 2) and make him seem ominous, perhaps unstable. Or, I can add shots of his wiping his brow (bottom 2) and let you discern the scene for yourself.

A single shot does not create a narrative; it only shows an instant in time. Whether that…

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