This photo series reveals how easily it is for the media to manipulate perspective with different lenses, in particular when reporting on social distancing during the current pandemic. By placing images side-by-side, the pictures show how, with the right angles, people respecting the rules can be made to appear as if huddled together.
The series stems from many of the current images we’ve been seeing of late in the media, particularly those showing the population flocking to beaches and other hotspots. Danish photo news agency Ritzau Scanpix assigned two of their photographers, Philip Davali and Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson, the task of capturing the images. Based in Copenhagen, the pair took images of groups of people with both a wide angle and a telephoto lens, so as to demonstrate how the same scene can look entirely different.
Kristian Djurhuus, the editorial manager at Ritzau Scanpix, told Bored Panda:
The proximity of people has widely been debated in Denmark in the past weeks. Danish politicians and authorities have frequently referred to images which they believed to show members of the public behaving in disagreement with the general guidelines.
He says he became aware that the agency’s contribution – that being, photo coverage of the general public – “could be misread,” and that they have a responsibility “to draw attention to the fact that images in some cases does not show the proximity of objects as people seem to believe.”
A telephoto lens, as many photographers know but the general public may not, has a tendency to give the illusion that subjects are closer together than they are in reality.
This is not an issue of right lenses versus wrong lenses. The effect that we show could also easily have been achieved using the same lens working with different angles or perspectives. But these times has made it obvious that we somehow need to make users and readers of images aware of something that only photographers used to care about. Our images featured here is one attempt at this. Another initiative is that we clarify circumstances in the accompanying captions of the images if they could be misread and thereby unconsciously misused.
All images by Philip Davali and Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson, courtesy of Ritzau Scanpix, and used with permission.