We do it every day. It is often unconscious. We’d like to think we’re better than that, but still it happens every moment of every day. We judge people. We come up with stories of who people are based on what they look like. We assume, we judge before we’ve even spoken one word or looked someone in the eye.
Then, someone tells us something about themselves – they’re a doctor, or a server in a small restaurant, or a lover of animals. From that moment on, we see this person in a specific light. It frames the way they smile or the swagger in their step. We project archetypes on to others.
If you were asked to take a picture of a cop, what would you want to show people in the picture?
Or if you were asked to take a picture of a the owner of a hip café? Who would you want to show them as to the world?
When we only get one shot, it is expected that a cohesive idea is what we want others to see: a central idea, an emotion.
When it gets really interesting is when you put six people to the task of taking a picture of the same man, each of them with a preconceived notion of who this man is: A millionaire, a fisherman, an ex inmate, a psychic, someone who’s saved someone’s life, a former alcoholic. Six different pasts.
Who would you want to show these men as in a single photograph?