Questioning Truth in Photos

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Errol Morris, the truth-seeker/director of the documentary The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War is once again having us question the facts. His collection of essays, Believing is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography) considers our undiscerning trust in photos, though their reliability is as questionable as any story-telling medium. In his essays, Morris leads the reader through a series of photographs with subsequent doubt-inducing explanations. Readers and journalists inform and project their own narratives onto all forms of writing–and journalism is no exception. Laura Miller discusses the consequences of this blind trust:

“The idea that a photograph presents us with objective information about the world is delusional, partly because a photograph reflect the beliefs of the photographer, but mostly because until we surrender that delusion, we can’t stop the image from reflecting our own beliefs.”


Sam Riley is the Editorial Assistant at the Rumpus. Also, a humor enthusiast and science supporter. She currently resides in San Francisco, CA. More from this author →