Never Presume 2

January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann

Canon 20D with 17-85mm f/5.6 IS lens at ISO 3200

The old saying has it that pictures don’t lie. Well, of course they do. They have ever since the invention of photography. Today’s digital technology just makes it easier.

But I’m not thinking about darkroom or Photoshop trickery this time. Instead, just an illustration of how ones presumptions can be just as misleading.

Look at the above photograph, including an enlarged version, which can be seen by clicking on it.

Who are these people, and what are they doing? Are they prisoners? Are they refugees? Why and where are they being detained?

Think about if for a few minutes, and then click here for the answer.


The Reality

This photograph was taken just outside the arrivals area of the international airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The people are waiting behind a barrier for their friends and relatives to get off the pre-dawn dailyBritish Airwaysflight from London.

Nothing sinister, just ordinary folks waiting.

My point? Just that we each bring to the images that we see our own preconceptions, and we need be cautious about the presumptions that we may make. A photograph may be an unmanipulated record of a particular place and moment in time, but we all still bring our own particular baggage along when we view it.

Michael Reichmann

Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape. Michael passed away in May 2016. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Each month more than one million people from every country on the globe visit LuLa.

You May Also Enjoy...

Sony A7RII ISO Invariance

November 18, 2015 ·

Michael Reichmann

Sony A7RII ISO Invariance Should You Underexpose, or Use High ISO? A Story Back in the early days of digital photography – around 2001 /

Video Clips

January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann

This Page Contains Links to a Few SelectedPreview Video Clips From The Current Issue ofThe Luminous Landscape Video Journal. These low-resolution video clips are in QuickTime