Cameras make photos; humans make meaning

Exaggeration and accentuation. For example, let us see this photo below of myself.

In the far view, I look muscular and lean [low body fat percentage], but I don’t look that big or intimidating. But then look at the next photo– shooting 24mm lens very close from a low angle. Look how massive my bicep and body looks.

It is all about angle and perspective

Another example.

Look at the left photo and right photo. It is the same person [myself] and my body composition hasn’t changed, but the effect of the photo is different. Once again, in the right photo I look stronger and more ‘swole’, and left I look more like a ‘Bruce Lee’ physique:

Black and white lies.

Another problem: black and white lies.

We don’t see the world in black and white. Also, high contrast accentuates.

For example, I can see more muscle definition in myself with high contrast black and white than in color.

By shooting black and white, I EXAGGERATE reality. Color is technically more ‘accurate’ from an embodied reality perspective.

Where does the camera see you from?

Another thing:

Depending on the perspective of the camera and the focal length, the effect of the photo is different.

For example, the above video of myself is more head-on, at throat-level, with 24mm lens.

However this below video is shot from a lower angle [superman effect] which actually makes me look stronger and more ‘buff’:

Taking it back to Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon is probably one of my favorite photographers of all-time. Why? Avedon didn’t seek to make “truthful” photos. Avedon instead was an artist and thought and said:

This is what I consider beautiful in you. I will use my camera and lens to accentuate what I consider beautiful (or not) in you.

In this way, the photographer is cruel. But the photographer also has balls and huevos. As an artist, you MUST assert your own opinion of others in your images. Otherwise let the subject shoot a boring passport photo of themselves.

Taking it back to photo

This is where I find selfies interesting. Black and white selfies of myself and color selfies look TOTALLY DIFFERENT. And based on subtle differences in light and the angle of the camera, the photos look and feel different.

Smile or not?


The psychological difference of a photo in which you smile (versus NOT smiling).

Skin tone is never accurate

You will never get a 100% accurate skin tone in a photo. Why? The light will always affect and change it!


Who is to say one type of light is more ‘accurate’ than the other?

For example, even ‘natural light’ will ALWAYS have different temperatures and colors. Also, ALL CAMERAS [whether digital or film] will have different ways of rendering the light.

Even with your eyes– our eyes are never 100% accurate in depicting the “true” color of something.

Thus it seems as a photographer you truly are an artist. Your goal isn’t accuracy, it is beauty-enhancement and beauty-creation using your camera as your artistic tool.


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