Lies (...and why they're just fine)

A while back I was asked to summarize picture taking into one word. Without giving it a lot of thought the first phrase that came to mind is "lies." I could instantly tell my answer was disappointing and though I stood by it I couldn't help but feel a little like a jaded artist, begrudging my own craft, and a non-believer in what photography can be.

Fast forward about a year and that moment came floating back into my head when another photographer whispered to me with a smile while pondering art and life, "lies can be a powerful thing."

I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief. I wasn't the only one partaking in and loving the lie of photography. I wasn't the only one willing to embrace a deception, find meaning in it, care for it, and love it. 

Maybe the only problem is using the word "lies" is too harsh. After all, photography is my version of the truth. It's my version boxed into a little frame compacted down to a tiny minuscule moment in time. However, my truth is nobody else's truth nor should it be. My truth is someone else's lie. My truth is even a lie to myself a few seconds before I click the shutter and the infinite number of seconds after. There is no harm in that though, provided we all recognize a photograph for what it is, learn from it, and accept it.

Lies can indeed be powerful things.