After the discussion a couple of weeks ago regarding Roger Fenton's Valley of the Shadow of Death I went on a wee mission to look at other staged photo's.
I found this link:
And watched this lecture:
This famous image Frances Griffiths with fairies. While by today's standards its pretty clear to see that they are unlikely real, at the time they caused quite the stir. I remember seeing these images years ago as a child and was convinced I too could see fairies at the bottom of the garden. I like the idea that an image can make you think, and question the possibility of the unknown. We hope that some of our legends are actually true when it's unlikely they would ever be! These photographers play with our emotions and give into that fantasy. Although today we are taught to question whether something is real or unreal very quickly. Every knows Photoshop exists.
In regards to my own practice, I don't think I'm interested in any kind of trickery so to speak. The images I will be taking for my portfolio will be staged but in a very obvious way. I intend to show this by being at vantage points not possible for candid images and by dressing my subjects thoughtfully but unrealistically.