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Staged Photographs

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I may have mentioned this before, but I like to listen to Radiolab. It is one of the most interesting programs I know of, usually covering an eclectic array of topics with fantastic editing and sound design to boot. I hadn’t listened to it for a while so while the other night my wife was on nightshift I sat back and listened to one of their latest offerings. My interest was immediately engaged because they started a discussion surrounding a very famous photograph called “In the Valley of the Shadow of Death” taken in 1855 during the Crimean War by photographer Roger Fenton, and the search for the actual facts surrounding that photograph by a very determined man named Errol Morris. I won’t go into the whole story as it is so well narrated in the Radiolab episode, but it seems that (as we already know these days) even in the early days of photography, things are not always what they seem. The part I really liked was when the concept of truth as perceived by the photographer came up, albeit briefly. All very philosophical. You can listen to the podcast here

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