The following is a quote from a great photographer and friend, Aaron Raymond:
Reality is personal, subjective, and fluid. It changes, as memory changes, with time and experience. Our perception of events and even our interpretation of color are altered by our environment and factors as arbitrary as our mood. The sensory data from which one’s personal reality is created is extremely limited and unreliable. We can see only a narrow band of the electro-magnetic spectrum. Worse, we are limited to only a single point of view. Even compared to senses found in the rest of the animal kingdom, ours are pathetic, limited, and incomplete…
Reality is a fluid thing. When I see and photograph an event, I may not see things that the camera does. From that point on, the event exists only in my memory and in the photograph. If they differ, our instinct is to say that the photograph must be the accurate representation of the event. By this logic there is no accurate reality without photography because our memory can obviously not be trusted and the event itself no longer exist.
It is a common misconception that photography accurately portrays reality. Photography utilizes only an even narrower band of the electro-magnetic spectrum than our eyes and completely eliminates all other sensory data we have available to us. As photographers we take the subject out of context by choosing a frame. We distort the spatial relationships by choosing a lens and we eliminate time all together. We choose how sharp or soft we want the images and completely change the contrast and color by choosing film, filters, and output method. Photography renders a 4d reality in 2d. I do not believe it is the purpose of photography to portray reality, for if that is its purpose photography is painfully ill-equipped to do so.