Faking It at the Met

“The camera never lies” is

photography’s supreme fiction.

Faking It Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

A conspiratorial grin came over me reading the quote above from the intro to Faking It:  Manipulated Photography before Photoshop, a current exhibit at the Met.   I prefer a natural look in my portraits so Photoshop is not a big love.  Even then, between styling and lighting choices, how I coach posing, and the angles from which I photograph, the camera becomes a tool for telling my version of a truth.  So, yes, Edward Steichen may be right is saying “Every photo is a fake from start to finish” considering how each of us chooses what truth we want to believe in to cope, flourish or dominate.

You’re not likely to catch me cutting and pasting multiple negatives to get a woman to sit in a champagne glass, superimpose a figure on a lamp, or create a fantastic cat woman’s face.  I’d sooner use a fan to simulate the vision of gusty winds though I’m not beneath tying strings to pull the seams of a kimono.  Yet who knows?  One day, my curiosity may lead me to investigate how Avedon created his simple Audrey Hepburn collage.

We all enjoy a creative trick that enthralls and keeps us guessing, be it a tall tale or a political statement using humorous juxtapositions, tweaked photojournalism or clever photomontages.  When we choose the wrinkle free and less pudgy images of ourselves, what does this say about our love affair with denial?   Having to endure  the harsh critic in our mirror everyday, a portrait of ourselves in our best light can be a treasured reprieve, if not a siren call from our true greatness.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how fantasy has opened doors of possibility for you. xoxox

Sharon Birke



Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Photos on this page are selections from Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, exhibit on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City through Jan. 27, 2013.


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