The paradox of objectivity and subjectivity in photography

For a photograph to exist, a moment in time had to exist to be captured. Of course, a photograph can be manipulated to have details added or subtracted, or its properties can be altered and adjusted to make the image look or feel a certain way. But photography as a practice is rooted in reality, and therefore photography is objective. You can confidently point to a photograph and say, This is the way it was.

Paradoxically, though, photography is also extremely subjective. Who or what do you take a photo of? At what time? From which angle? Which details do you include in the frame, or exclude from it? What kind of camera do you use? Lens? Photoshop and Lightroom aside, a photograph might show the way things were, but it can’t show the full picture of what was going on.

I guess I would sum it up like this: a photograph portrays a brief moment of objective historical reality, albeit through the inherently subjective viewpoint of the photographer.

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