Pondering Photographic Perspective

Seeing is believing, pictures speak a thousand words, right? Not so fast – ponder photographic perspective. Swedish photographers Olafur Steinar Gestsson and Philip Davali conducted a little experiment for photo agency Ritzau Scanpix. The premise was simple, capture images of the same subject matter at the same time from two perspectives. One with telephoto, the other a wide angle camera lens.


Telephoto lens –

Wide angle lens –

Telephoto –

Wide angle –

Telephoto –

Wide angle –

For weeks my photographer husband has criticized headline images of irreverent social distancing. Not to say it doesn’t exist, far from it. That said,  it’s worth pondering how telephoto images are used to sway, reinforce or punctuate public perception. Now I get it.

5 thoughts on “Pondering Photographic Perspective

  1. That’s exactly what I was thinking before I got to your words … so your photos carried the message, which means they are art. Well done~!

  2. Why are people not aware of this?
    This is nothing new. There was a movie (similar in idea) a few years ago (Vantage Point) 2008
    It’s called manipulation (among other things) and has been going on forever.

  3. In our voyeuristic world a lot of people choose telephoto because it avoids getting close to the subject who may not be keen on being their free image. Not only do they distort perspective, they also impact that part of the image that stays in focus, further distorting the image’s message. Similarly, wide angle distorts. Close portraits with wide angle make the nose — the closest feature to the lens — look overly large. Wide angle also has it’s propaganda uses. On an old-fashioned 35mm camera a 55 mm lens is about as close to human vision as is achievable. Wide angle (14-40mm) and telephoto (60-1200) are just tools like paint brushes in an artist’s hand. Lenses know no conscience and never studied ethics.

  4. It’s the sign of a great photographer when they show you not what is, but what they want you to see. It proves that photography really is art.
    Sadly, people expect photos to show reality under the false illusion that there is such a thing.
    (Interesting to see the journalist and photographer couple produce a joint article!)

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