Sometimes, of course, the answers to such questions will not be obvious. Indeed, we may use photography, or some interpretation of the enterprise, in conventional ways that make it difficult to ask, let alone answer them. And conventions often appear to simply be "natural," to reside in the make-up of things. Edwards is especially insightful on this. As he notes:
"At the heart of any criticisms of photographic realism is the idea that apparatus embodies conventions and assumptions about picturing. While the consequences of the staged, manipulated, or mocked up image are readily apparent, recognizing the deep conventions underpinning the apparatus can be less straightforward. However, these conventions are no less important for serious understanding of photographs; if anything, the relative invisibility of these determining assumptions makes them more worthy of attention and more insidious in their effects."
The "art" versus "documentary" dichotomy is an obvious example here. So too, as he points out, are assumptions about perspective and linearity, and natural vision and framing, and so forth. But there are other conventions underpinning photographic practice that he (unsurprisingly for an admittedly "very short" book) doesn't touch on namely aversions to aestheticizing pain and suffering, the more or less relentless pursuit of closeness, or focus on individuals. Each of these are entangled with the "picture" versus "document" dichotomy that Edwards works so hard to contextualize and thereby challenge.