Separate Backstories Given to Photographers Result in VERY Different Images

When it comes to capturing images of people, is the intrigue of the photograph the result of the person behind the camera or what’s in front of it?

Canon Australia set out to answer that question.

The brand invited six photographers to a portrait session with a unique twist: the subject was an actor who gave a different backstory about his life to each photographer. His story ranged from him being a self-made millionaire to an ex-convict, a recovering alcoholic, and even a psychic. Each photographer was asked to capture the essence of him in their shots.


The MO was to reveal how a photographer’s vision, perception, and personal biases can shape the outcome of an image, and how media can frame a story with a certain angle.

It also demonstrates how differently each photographer can capture the exact same physical subject but use their own lighting and perspective to frame the subject and instil it with their unique creative style and vision.

As you’ll see, each scenario produces some very different results. In the finished images, he looks like six very different people.

‘Decoy’ is one of six experiments from Canon Australia’s The Lab, an initiative that’s designed to shift creative thinking behind the lens.