Be Honest, Not Truthful

Photography may be at its most powerful when it tells a story. But is that story more powerful when it’s a truthful story? I think that’s a false pursuit.

Erin Feldman, of Write Right, quoted Jason Fried recently on Twitter from his Inc. column:

“It’s not about telling a story. It’s about telling a true story well.”

He’s talking about business writing, but a story is a story. And the truth is, in storytelling, there is no truth.

Art is the perception of an artist, usually objectified. That perception will not be the perception of the viewer. The more unique the art/artist, the further from the viewer’s perception the story will be; no matter how honest the artist is to their own vision. The story is not truthful. But that doesn’t mean it can’t reveal truth.

What’s required is vigilance in the consumer of art to either seek what’s real or decide not to seek what’s real and just enjoy the art for art’s sake.

Seth Godin had his own take on this today that may state it better than anyone:

“There’s no such thing as a true story.”