Exploring the status of photography and the roles it played in the work of three prominent Nazi authors on race, I show that the photographs and the ways in which they are discussed in publications modify the subjects of the photographs and shape real-world encounters with their actual subjects. With Germany’s military expansion to the East, soldiers encountered, firsthand, “real” Jews. Photographs had prepared them for the encounter. This movement from seeing photographs of Jews to encountering actual Jews was the first arc of a circle that was completed by German rules and regulations prohibiting Jews from shaving, for instance, in effect conforming them to fit the way they were imagined in these photographic publications. The Nazi context is an extreme example of the way in which a photograph and its discussion can modify the perception of the subject of the photograph and, consequently, the encounter with its (actual) subject.