From American Cinematographer, Wrap Shot (January 1998)
A true artist of the documentary film was Robert Flaherty, an Irish-American from Michigan, who earned fame the hard way by filming Eskimos in the Arctic. His first attempt in 1913-1916 ended disastrously when he made the mistake of smoking while editing the nitrate negative. After recovering from near fatal burns, Flaherty returned to the Arctic and photographed the great, harrowing Nanook of the North.
...Did Flaherty believe in staging scenes to add drama to a documentary? You be the judge:
"One often has to distort a thing to catch its true value." - Robert Flaherty