Media Manipulate Reality – Photographers Take Pictures Of People In Public From Two Different Perspectives

We all know that reality is subjective and that each person has his/her own perception of it. Depending on how much and what we really know, our perceptions of reality may change in a second. This concept has been taken to completely a new level by two Danishes photographers.  

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, maintaining a safe distance is of utter importance. Even if some of the counties are beginning to loosen some quarantine restrictions, the virus has not vanished yet. But, how do know that the people are behaving properly? The truth is that we can’t.  

Philip Davali and Olafur Steinar Gestsson, two Danish photographers, made an experiment for Ritzau Scanpix, a photo agency. The photographers took pictures of the same people in public. However, while taking the pictures, Olafur and Philips were using two different perspectives: a telephoto lens and a wide angle. The pictures demonstrated a staggering difference in the distance between the people. More info: Instagram | Twitter | Ritzau Scanpix

Thanks to these pictures, we should reconsider the things that we take for granted.  

Picture No.1 – Telephoto Lens

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

The editorial manager of the photo agency Ritzau Scanpix, Kristian Djurhuss, stated that the closeness of the people has been widely discussed for the last few weeks. Denmark’s authorities and politicians have already mentioned some pictures which they consider to show people in public acting in disagreement with the basic guidelines.  

Picture No.2 – Wide Angle Lens

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Ritzau Scanpix is a national agency that provides a complete coverage on the pandemic. Kristian said that they are aware that their contribution can be misinterpreted. Moreover, he explained that the coronavirus pandemic has given new meaning to some elementary technical facts, such as the choice of perspective and angle. These technical facts have been a debatable issue in the history of photography.  

Picture No.3 – Telephoto-Lens

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

As the concept of misleading photography is quite new, Kristian finds no reasons why it cannot be used for bad intents. As photographers, they need to be informed of it. Moreover, they are responsible for drawing attention to the fact that the pictures in some cases do not show the closeness of people as they seem to believe. According to him, the best solution would be to explain the situations with captions of the pictures. In this way, the pictures will not be misinterpreted.  

Picture No.4 – Wide Angle Lens

Image credits: EPA / Philip Davali / Olafur Steinar RyE

Wide angle lenses mimic the way we see things. One of the Danish photographers, Olafur Steinar Gestsson explained that they use the wide angle when they are close the object that they want to photograph. It takes wide images.  

On the other hand, the telephoto lens represents the largest lens, which is used for photographing football matches, press meetings, etc. Namely, photographers use the telephoto lens when the object they want to photograph is far away.  

Finally, in an interview with TV2, Olafur said that viewers should be aware of the fact that photographers use different equipment and lens while taking a certain picture. The editor would have the right to choose if there was an explanation in the caption of how the picture was taken. In addition, he said that photographers have to always keep in mind how they do their job, especially amid coronavirus pandemic.  

You can see all the photos and the full article at

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