The art of seeing: Story as a perceptual lens

| Narrative, perception, and identity |

A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what’s in front of it. And that’s because we have our preconceived notions of who people are based on what we know about their past.

To prove this we invited six photographers to a portrait session with a twist.

How do the stories we tell about someone affect the way we perceive him? The meaning we ascribe to his words and behaviors? The internal and external filters through which we engage with him?

The Lab’s Decoy project, involving six photographers taking portraits of the same man, is an example of how easy it is for our conceptual narratives to influence our interpretations of physical reality.

But this isn’t only true for our narratives about others; it’s also true for the narratives we have about ourselves. On the other side of the lens, we are all performers, using the internal scripts we’ve memorized to interact with the world and bring our characters to life. Our embodiment of our own stories affects the everyday physical realities we experience and create, too.

The Lab: Decoy – A portrait session with a twist | World Village