Here’s my theory. We constantly make stuff up based on shaky assumptions and thin evidence. It even happens in photography.
Good images tell stories or that’s what I’ve been told. But I don’t think that’s the whole err … story
I often look at photos and imagine stories around them. With just a thin slice of the movie before me, all of us can get pretty adept at filling in the rest of the details. In fact, we are so good, that it is sometimes hard to separate the facts from all the crazy stuff we are pretty sure is true.
For example, the coyote above might look like it had been successful on a hunt. While the coyote thoroughly enjoyed the meal, the “kill” was actually some roadkill I watched the coyote pick up. Does that make the photo seem less worthy?
During the same encounter, I photographed this vicious snarl that had me scrambling for the safety of my truck. Except it wasn’t a snarl. It was a satisfied yawn after a nice meal of roadkill while I watched from a safe distance. Do those teeth look less impressive now that you know?
I am not a fan of intentionally deceiving people because I don’t like it when it happens to me. That’s why I won’t ever pretend a zoo animal was taken in the wild or add moons or backgrounds to my photos. But I will try to take photos that lend themselves to a story or let people imagine. Who am I to get in the way of that? Besides, it’s fun.
Even a simple photo of a buck elk could raise some questions. Was the photo taken in spring or fall, morning or evening – does any of that matter? Is he looking at me or the coyote off in the distance? That’s quite a difference! Or is it?
Now what if I made up the part of about the coyote eating roadkill and yawning? Would you be more interested if I scrambled back into the truck?
You may be confused about which descriptions of my photos in this post are actually true. That deception is entirely intentional on my part. Does it matter?