Photoshopped Campaign Banner Sparks Controversy

A banner on Andrew Romanoff’s Senate campaign website provoked a bit of an outrage from a minority group when people realized that it was digitally manipulated.

The original photo shows Romanoff, the Democratic candidate from Colorado, at a campaign kickoff.

The photo for the banner was tinted blue, and then had several people from other images spliced into it, presumably in order to make Romanoff look like he was surrounded by more followers. Some of the added people include an African American woman to the right of Romanoff, as well as a Latino American man towards the center of the banner. The photo changes caused some minorities to believe Romanoff was trying to appear like his supporters were more diverse.

The Photoshopped African American woman, Andrea Mosby, told reporters that she has no problem with the photo-tweak, since she supports Romanoff and was at the same rally.

Others disagree on principle. According to the Denver Post, Colorado minority leaders wrote to Romanoff’s campaign, expressing that they were “shocked, disturbed and outraged” that the campaign felt the need to manipulate an image to appear like he had more minority supporters. Some 25 people signed the letter that called the candidate’s integrity into question, saying:

“We are NOT random people to be moved around for aesthetic reasons…We are NOT political pawns to be used when convenient nor do we accept being manipulated and repositioned when it serves one’s political motives…The Photoshopping in of minorities is not acceptable and falls far short of the integrity we expect of candidates running for the US Senate.”

Romanoff’s campaign said that the banner was intended as a photo collage or montage of the event, designed by a volunteer to reflect the overall attendance at the campaign event.

Romanoff later removed the image from the site and issued an apology:

This decision and a description of it have caused offense. I regret that and have removed the montage from our website. I take offense at any suggestion that our campaign attempted to deceive anyone. That’s outrageous and false. I bring a lifetime of commitment to equality and opportunity, and I reject these attacks on my character. I am very proud of the diverse support we’ve already received and continue to earn every day.

(via Denver Post)

  • alexjohnston

    seriously? can we focus on the issues now? someone in his campaign art dept took the VERY common practice of crowd building in PS and applied it. does it have to be about race? does everything have be about race and attacks?

  • Shawn Parker

    Agreed. This shit is tiring.

  • jasonhodges

    I'm in Australia so I dont even know who this guy is but take another look at the images. They are two different photo's.
    Bearded Guy at right.Looking Left and looking straight.
    Guy directly above Romanoffs head, looking different directions and can see more of his white shirt/right shoulder.

    You do know that photographers don't need to wind the film forward nowdays so can take faster shots???

  • tadayoshi

    the biggest insult is how poorly the PS work was done…

  • aled

    totally agree with alex & shawn. this has nothing to do with race. wish people would get over themselves.

  • Meekohi

    Exactly. Who decided this was even photo-manipulated? Did Romanoff’s campaign actually concede it was, or is this just cruddy reporting based on 25 people's opinion?

  • alexjohnston

    It doesn't take a genius or admission to be absolutely sure this is photoshopped.

    Look at the lady in question to the left of the candidate. Seem a little odd to you? That's because she was extracted from another photo, distorted by making the image of her less wide, and placed on top of the base photo. However, the base photo used is not the photo below the banner on this page. The base photo is probably right before or after that photo on the “roll” or “in the series” depending on what terminology you decide to you use.

    All in all, though…the photoshopping is exactly on scale with how this banner image would be viewed if not for griping minority activists who desperately grasp at straws to play their trump race card. If you visited his website, you would hardly glance at it, rather than closely inspect it as you have done due to this shamelessly hyped baseless attack at a candidate that, after my research, looks like a reasonable and very upstanding candidate. Wish I had someone like him to vote for here, but it seems my district has long since been corrupted by this sort of politicking.