Sunday, September 10, 2017

Can You Believe This? (Authenticity Matters)

Today, I ran across an article depicting a photo series about waste and recycling. You can read the article and see the photos here.

The photographer was trying to make a point, but the point was lost on many people because the photography wasn't authentic. The photographer claimed he did not throw away any trash for 4 years and the containers which held his consumable products were evidence of this.

Some clever readers did the math and commented on how this was staged...that even a family of five would not consume as much toilet paper as was represented here by empty rolls. They also observed that the stacks of newspapers contained still-bundled papers that a regular, household consumer would not buy.

So, clearly, this was not simply 4 years of consumption for one person; this photo series was staged. The photographer did not give a disclaimer, however, and say the photos were staged with much more than was actually used. Some also noticed and commented that the game being played in one picture is a one-person game, yet the photographer set up two people operating gaming devices.

He deceived his audience. He deceived his audience in many ways.

Some comments slammed those who did the math. They thought those people missed the point, the point being that we all consume too much. But the point will remain lost to many of us because if a person has to lie to people to get some point across, their point is clearly not as important to them as they want it to be to us.

Get real in your writing. In a world of fake news, why would someone think it's okay to deceive people just because they think their point is so important?

They are wrong; the truth is more important than anything.

Smart readers can spot your deception and will not trust your work.

Write well.
Write often.
Write honestly.
Just write.