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Does documentary photography always depict the truth?

Documentary photography is regularly thought of to depict a true picture of what is going on. This is not always the case. People say that seeing is believing and I think in documentary photography that is true as the images shouldn’t be manipulated in a way that misinterpret the original picture, although the way the photographer takes the picture and selects what photographs go into the public eye doesn’t always depict the truth. A example of this is there could be someone in the street that is being mugged, they then try and protect their self by hitting out at the mugger. If someone was taking photographs of the whole ordeal happening they could easily just let the public see the picture of the person being mugged hitting out at the mugger. They would then look like they are the attacker but if the public were able to see the full story then they would soon realise that intact they are the victim of a mugging and are only acting in self defence. This example proves that you cannot always rely on documentary photographs to depict the truth as it is up to the photographer or the editor of the magazine/paper/website that the photos appear on to choose what photos they want to put on. There choice of images could be very one sided, if documenting a war and they are on a certain side they will most probably only document bad pictures of their opposition as they wouldn’t want the side they are on depicted in a bad way. Overall I do not feel that documentary photography depicts the truth.


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