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Published:May 2nd, 2008 04:31 EST
Media Is The Masses: More than meets the eye

Media Is The Masses: More than meets the eye

By Sean Stubblefield

Content is defined by context "both in the viewed and the viewing.

In photography, for a photographer as artist, there is always a consideration of art and artifice. (what) Does a picture reveal and/ or conceal? What doesn`t the picture tell us?

A picture doesn`t show what it does not show. Photos are always, in some degree, disconnected from the real world. A frame out of frame, out of sequence-- a slice of pie.

It is like focusing on a particular puzzle piece, removed from the big picture. A world within a world ? and yet, outside our world. An altered and alternate reality, a photograph is a slight of hand prestidigitation. What you see is not exactly what is there.

Beyond whatever biased interpretations we imbue pictures with.

A kind of mask, disguising/distracting from whatever is happening off camera. As well as on camera. In posing for a photograph, we don a mask; we pretend for a moment, we are not quite ourselves ? becoming surreal representations of ourselves. In framing a photo "before and after the shot "we are manufacturing and manipulating reality. Photos are windows into worlds that don`t really or fully exist.

In our attempts to capture truths, we ironically and consequently catch lies. Lies that tell truths and truths telling lies. What isn`t said may be as pertinent as what is said-- even more so. To some extent, every photo is an illusion; primarily in the sense that a photo is not the things being photographed. Not only photos, but any visual media representation.

Photography is either about replicating the existing world, or creating a new one.

The photographic edge separates the real world ? from the photographed world.

What if, in our attempt to capture something meaningful, we miss it somewhere else, just outside the frame? A photographer is a part of a photo, existing invisibly in the fourth wall of a scene. The existence, the presence, of the photographer is always implied.

A camera is also an extension of the photographer, just as much as subject is an extension. A photo can tell you as much about the subject of a picture as the photographer ? assuming you know and understand their context.

By proxy, the viewer is also a disembodied extra in the scene, just behind the photographer, or metaphysically possessing the body of the photographer and seeing vicariously.


We perceive so much of our world in boxes: TV, movies, computers, books, photos.

In seeking to bring us closer to the subject, photography simultaneously takes us away from it. As a photographer, I choose to be an artist, not a tourist.

I do not want to live my experience as a series of potential frames. You miss the experience of an experience if you are preoccupied with striving to photograph it.

Viewing one`s world through a camera lens is a distortion of reality in a too narrowing of focus " limiting both in terms of what we can see and what we aim to see.


Currently based in Houston Texas, Sean Stubblefield graduated Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Television Production. A philosopher poet, Stubblefield has been writing non-fiction for 15 years, and has penned eight books to date. His first book, Paradox: A Journey Inside Out is available today at

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