Documentary photographer by trade, I operate in a realm where truthfulness of a photographic image often comes before its artistic value. Yet can a photograph ever be true?
It fascinates me how an image continues to accumulate its meaning from the context of its presentation long after the exposure was made. We often take for granted that mass media presents us with facts, while the art world operates in a realm of fiction, and tend to view the same images differently, depending on a place we encounter the them in.
I was interested to explore the limits of this phenomenon and see if presenting a statement we know to be false in a context that we are accustomed to trust would shake our system of beliefs.
I chose the well-known case of Cottingley Fairies, where a set of photographic documentations of nature spirits that our visually-literate eye immediately identifies as fake were believed to be real by a number of highly-respected men, including writer Arthur Conan Doyle.
Through an extensive research, I collected a range of ‘written evidences’ describing origins, evolution, classification and lifestyle of nature spirits, which I now pair up with my own visual interpretations of the topic.
I intentionally create images that are obviously fake and present them in a context of books, newsprint publications, documents, scientific research and film, supported by strong statements intend to challenge the viewer’s system of beliefs.
Confronting with the fake facts, will we become more critical of the images around or consider believing in existence of fairies?