Documentaries are a representational medium: They record and occasionally reconstruct the everyday reality viewers typically cannot experience themselves. Because photography is an indexical sign signifying truth, audiences understand the documentary, a moving photograph, to signify truth also. However, they are able to make the distinction between the everyday reality presented by documentaries and the fictive reality of cinematic films.
But the documentarys version of reality is not as innocent as it presents itself to be. Because of the perceived indexical truth-value of the film, the audience is drawn into an everyday reality that seemingly does not need questioning. There is a sense of co-presence between creator and viewer that gives the viewer the sensation of being both here, now, looking at the image and there, then, looking at what the image represents or evokes.
There are a variety of different ways specific subject areas are shown within a documentary. For example; I will be focusing on how different audiences are represented.
Below is an example to how 2 different styled documentaries can show homosexuality in a completely different representations, the first one is shown through a short film whilst the other is an interview: