Commenter JG raises an interesting point with regard to the work I put up in this blog post which I will interpret perhaps somewhat freely (don't ascribe anything I say to JG, especially not anything dumb that I say).
First let me make clear that I think I am on solid ethical ground with respect to the subjects. I made it painfully clear to all that they had the right to withdraw, demand edits or changes, and so on. Their approval, I said repeatedly, was mandatory, because I am attempting to in some sense tell a truth here. In all cases, the subjects at any rate had the opportunity to review the final picture, check the words, and so on. In a couple cases I got no reply, so I cannot swear that they looked, saw, and approved, but in most cases I got a clear thumbs up and in the others the opportunity was there. In all cases the subjects very much projected an attitude of "hey, you do what you feel is right, it's all good" from the very beginning.
I am very comfortable that I treated my subjects well.
This leads around to the viewers, however.
I elected to use handwriting rather than print for the quotations, primarily to lend a sense of veritas to the thing. There's also a stylistic element, there are a few other elements in the book that are also hand written, so the book has the main theme in print and the counterpoint in handwriting, but that is distinctly a secondary use.
I could weasel around and say that it's obvious that the people didn't write it themselves, Jackie and Clove mysteriously have the same handwriting and there are a few other tells, but that's bullshit. I mixed up the writing styles for visual interest, but also to lend a little weight to the notion that these at least could have been written by the subjects. I certainly, willfully, leave the door open for you to believe that. It wasn't a fully conscious choice, but it was without question a choice I made.
So while the pictures are of the real people, and the words are the words they spoke, I have not only selected a few of the words they spoke, and I have written them out in my own hand as a device. The result is a blend of truth and artifice, with the line between the two made vague, and made so on purpose. It isn't the main purpose, it wasn't a part of some nefarious master plan, but I made those choices, and there they are.
Still, there is always a lot of artifice in photography. There is the usual litany of elements: the pictures are not in color, they represent a slice of time, they are of a pose, they are cropped. The quotations are "cropped" as well, and I led the people through an interview which surely skewed their words, and anyways those words were spoken then at a specific moment in time. Those people are all slightly different today. Etcetera and so forth.
I can live with one more element of artifice, but as JG notes (I think), it is artifice, it is a falsehood, smuggled in somewhat under the cover of darkness.
How does it compare with, say, photoshopping out a lamppost? (something I would never do!)