If you were in one of my photography classes and, while we were reviewing your work, you were to state that “I want my pictures to look like the way things really are”, I would ask “the way things really are to who?”
My question is meant to spur a conversation about seeing and perception.
While we may first “see” a photograph with our eyes, we create a photograph with our mind. I think that the best part of us as photographers (and human beings) are not our eyes, it’s our mind. While my eyes are obviously important, the thing that really drives the creation of my photograph is the way my mind perceives whatever my eyes see.
I would suggest that the “way things really are” is our unique perception of whatever we are seeing. While both of us could be looking at the same thing, the way that thing “really is” would be different to each of us based in our own personal perception.
It’s our personal perception of “the way something is” that should drive our compositions. It’s our personal perception that makes us, and our photographs, unique among other photographers.