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This essay contributes to existing scholarly research on Truman Capote’s relationship with photography by exploring how Capote integrated the contemporary tension surrounding photography and photojournalism into his work In Cold Blood. The oxymoronic genre of this book, the “non-fiction novel” as he called it, is experimented with by combining two different dimensions of photography: factual reporting and expression as a fine art. Comparing two types of identifications through photography in the text, this essay examines how he adopted polarized language on photography to create a new literary genre. In doing so, referring to Walter Benjamin’s “unconscious optics” of photography, this essay discusses how Capote used “unconscious impulses” to portray the murderer Perry Smith as a victim of his traumatic past, reconstructing the cruel incidents as an American tragedy.