The purpose of photography is to tell a story through a still image. The goal is to capture as much drama, happiness, sadness, or whatever emotion is appropriate for that situation. Don McCullin said something at the end of the video that stuck with me. He said, “I don’t want my photographs to look like chocolate pots covered. I want my photos to have… (lasting impressions) I don’t want you to forget them.” Photography is the memory we cannot form. When a photo is taken it is a tangible memory, a story or feeling not easily forgotten.
In regards to the question of whether photographs reflect reality or create it I honestly believe it can do either one, but not both. An image captured of a soldier coming home and surprising his wife on Christmas, how could that photo be anything but raw emotion, also known as, reality. That is a non-staged moment, or memory captured with the click of a camera.
Photography also, and more frequently than not, creates reality. McCullin even said about 4 minutes into the short film that he staged the one photo. “I most certainly did.” It’s a picture of a North Vietnamese soldier lying on the ground, dead. His “pathetic” possessions kicked and thrown down to the ground. McCullin felt so strongly about it being so wrong and disgraceful that he wanted to stage it to make it as dramatic and haunting as possible.
Duffy argues in her poem that the war photographer is the middle man between those that experience war, and those that like to be updated at long distance, to know what is going on but not want to be bothered with the time and emotional expenses of it. “They are glad to distance themselves,” says Duffy. She also states that the poet like the war photographer has a job to do. Which is to connect those people who are so distant, so they must “create” this reality to have a lasting impact.