A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what or who is in front of it.
To prove this notion, Canon Australia conducted an experiment with a twist, by the name of “Decoy.”
Six different photographers were invited to capture photographs of a man named Michael. Their twist was brilliant.
As the video shows, every photographer was given private time for a photoshoot with Michael. Michael was introduced differently to every photographer. The different “roles” he played were lifesaver, self-made millionaire, former alcoholic, fisherman, ex-inmate and psychic.
We can see how each photographer had prepared the ambiance of the studio according to the information they had been given about Michael.
When the results were revealed, all six of the photographers were startled. Bewildered, they noticed that each photograph differed significantly from the next. It seemed as if Michael was a different person in every picture.
This genius experiment aims at opening the eyes of artists and photographers alike. It explains how our perspective of the object we are shooting can significantly affect the final result.
Personally, “Decoy” inspired me in a different way—it gave me a clearer explanation of how our minds work subconsciously.
This experiment is palpable evidence for how the mind instantly creates an identity around a person from the very first moment we meet them.
Reflecting on my own life, I could relate the message of this experiment to interactions I’ve had with many people in my past. The first impression I had of these people was shaped by how they called themselves or thought of themselves. Thus, I treated them according to that image that they gave me.
If we take a closer look at how we meet people, we can catch these tendencies in our own behavior. The first question that we often ask someone we’ve just met is usually something like, “Where do you work?” or “What do you do in life?”
If they tell us that they were inmates for the past three years, we might judge them as criminals or otherwise bad people.
If they tell us that they own a company, we take them for billionaires who lead a happy, perfect life.
How we treat them next will be thoroughly dependent on who they told us they are and what they told us they do in life.
“Decoy” teaches us to look beyond titles and beyond what a person calls himself or herself.
With awareness, we can draw our own perspective once we truly get to know the people we have interactions with. If we put this to practice, I am sure that we can build more successful relationships that are less judgmental.
As for the straightforward message that this experiment sends us, maybe we can start interpreting images differently, based on the inner self of the person we are shooting. Perhaps we can make a plot twist and reshape the object in front of us.
Whether we are taking a photo of them or not, we can start with beholding the persona that lies inside of them, and not outside.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: YouTube still