Photography represents an artist's interpretation of some portion of life. It never reflects some “true” collective reality, instead, it simply takes a part of life and frames it in a way that depends on the artist, equipment, and other outside details. These controlling factors are less qualities of truthfulness than they are of artistic expression. Reality is a starting point for photography, but it is rarely an ending point. The photographer always takes some instance of time and twists it into his or her own creation.
Photographs always start out with some elements of what really exist and are then shaped by the photographer's choices. This lends photography work to just as much interpretation as other art forms like painting, sculpting, music, and literature. Even though the viewer's interpretation may be different from the photographer's intention, it is not more right or wrong. At the moment that a photo is by someone else, its nature is up for interpretation and the photographer's intent for the image is no longer essential.
Photographers have a certain responsibility that not all artists have. They must use caution and transparency when using manipulation in some contexts. Permission from human subjects should always be obtained before publishing images, and captions should disclose the use of Photoshop or other software if an image has been modified. Photographers have a responsibility toward any human subject because photographs are always open to different interpretations. Photography is a unique art that is different from other modes of expression.