Paul Howard Photography | It's All in How You See It. Innit?

It's All in How You See It. Innit?

April 17, 2017  •  3 Comments

Perception is truth, or so I've heard. That seems to be so more and more. Mark Twain said, "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." But we don't do that. We see something or hear something and we say that it must be so. Actually a much more contemporary figure than Twain, Stephen Colbert, summarized it well. He said, "It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything." 

We shape a lot of perception through our photography. I recently shot the image above and it garnered a lot of response, which I truly appreciated. Many of the comments mentioned what a beautiful spot this was, asked how I found it, or how far I had to go to get to it. 

In fact, it's right across the road from my workplace. Here's a wider shot of the same spot. 


Not quite the same thing, doesn't quite stir the same feeling, does it? 

Here's the thing though. In photography, unless you're a documentary journalist, it doesn't matter. We're trying to tell a story, evoke a response, create a feeling. This same shot could make you happy, sad, wondering, bored..... all depending on how it's cropped, how it's processed, how it's ultimately dealt with and presented to you. That's how art works. It's not about statistics, numbers, or other "facts". Somebody else, who I can't recall at the moment, said, "Photography owes nothing to reality". Yup.

Reality works a little differently. 2+3=5 isn't really negotiable, although I'm sure I can find you someone who doesn't believe it and refuses to accept it. In fact, I know a fellow who does not believe that what we see in the night sky really exists. It's an illusion. So the moon landing, the Hubble telescope images, the space station, all propaganda to keep us believing this "cosmos" thing. Ummmmm, sure. Ok. 

Bottom line is, photography is art, it's subject to interpretation, and don't mistake it for reality. Enjoy it for what it is. And when you're presented with real facts, try to accept them, whether you like them or not. 

More later. 


  • “The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.”
    — Scott Lorenzo


Christina Lihani(non-registered)
Such a beautiful photo of something otherwise so ordinary! I love the lesson here too.
Lauri Novak(non-registered)
Beautifully said and illustrated Paul!!
Doug Alder(non-registered)
You mean this whole time you've been nothing but an illusion - oh noes :)
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