Constructed realities

Whether or not a constructed photographs is interpreted as a lie is dependent on how it is viewed by its individual, subjective viewers. If by ‘lie’ we mean that the image is not a factual representation of something, then yes – then staged photographs are not an objective depiction of something literal. However, this must be dependant on what or where the viewer knows, or imagines, reality to be. Similarly, it depends on what the artist’s intention was. It’s unlikely that Sandy Skoglund in his 1981 installation ‘Revenge of the Goldfish’ expected the viewer to read into it anything other than a provocative symbolic representation of something, such as an ideal, gesture, or consequence. In that respect, this image should not be interpreted as a lie, but a subjective highlighting of a particular, perhaps philosophical view.