Amazing Reuters Photo of Rebel Firing RPG was Not Photoshopped

Earlier this week, a Reuters photograph showing a Libyan rebel firing an RPG caused a stir after people on a number of sites suggested that it might have been Photoshopped. Well, it turns out the photo is 100% real — not only did Reuters confirm this with us, but forensic expert Neal Krawetz arrived at the same conclusion after analyzing the image:

By using a suite of analysis methods, it becomes extremely difficult for a fake image to pass unnoticed. While an intentional forgery might pass one or two tests, it takes a level of skill that most photographers and amateur graphic artists lack. This picture easily passes every test (including a whole slew that I didn’t include here). I have no reason to question the authenticity of this picture.

Typically, amazing photos come about through digital modifications. However in this case, Anis Mili has truly captured an amazing photo. And he did it without using a crutch like Photoshop.

You should definitely give Krawetz’s blog post a read — it’s an interesting look at image forensics.

Without a Crutch [The Hacker Factor Blog]

  • Wing Wong

    Interesting… he’s using a crutch as an RPG stabilizer… wonder how well that would work with a long lens?

  • Henning Nilsen

    The only amazing thing about the picture is that it WASN’T photoshopped.

  • Jersey Shore Surfer

    But where’s the shadow of the RPG on the pavement? I don’t buy it!

  • Denis O’Donovan

    Hang on. The guy is actually on a pair of crutches (you can see both of them). WTF is a (presumably) injured man doing lugging around an RPG? He needs both hands to walk with the crutches!

  • Brunno

    i still believe it’s fake

  • Dennis Marciniak

    For all that uproar yesterday – this is really awesome news.

  • Amando96

    I’m guessing this is shot from behind the man, the projectile is still in the barrel, hence no shadow.

  • Handy Andy Buckley

    It still doesn’t look right. Anyway Reuters have had a couple of days to make it look real (they do have a reputation to keep). If you can use software to prove something then the flipside is that you can also disprove something (it depends on the software code and how you interpret the result). Also you cannot tell me that the CIA etc don’t have software to produce fake images that would pass forensic analysis (NOT that I am saying that any sort of spy network is involved, all I am saying is that certain things that have been viewed in the past as spy equipment but are now readily available e.g miniature HD video cameras). Its like statistics, it all depends on the question asked, 2 very similarly worded questions can produce 2 completely different answers. For example someone has just claimed that eating more than 3 eggs a week can increase the risk of prostate cancer. What they failed to do in their claim was talk about other risk factors that men who eat 3 or more eggs a week may or may not have (eg smoking, alcohol consumption etc). The only way to end this is to produce a before and after image. You cannot tell me that the photographer didn’t have his camera set on continuous so there should be other images of the man with the RPG ie before and after images. If the image was actually a photograph (i.e. captured on film) then yes it is remarkable and I take my hat off to the photographer as its a shot of a lifetime. Unfortunately I live by the idea that if something sounds (or looks) too good to be true, it probably is. Sorry

  • Anonymous

    Hahaha. Did you read the analysis? It makes sense when you read it and examine it. No body else with their “It’s a CIA fake!” bothered to actually break down the image and examine it. The guy tears everyone claiming it a fake, including you, a new one through pure deduction and actual program analysis. And it was done by an independent hacker-blogger. Reading your shit is even more laughable than the rest of the whiners on Reddit, especially seeing someone intelligent (not just loud) prove it’s a real un-shopped image.

  • Anonymous

    There is a tiny shadow of the rear of the launcher behind the man’s shadow. Read the blog, it’s quite an interesting deduction and analysis.

  • Anonymous

    and I still believe in santa.

  • Stephen Oravec

    I agree No RPG shadow on the pavement.

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    Being at the right place at the right time with the right equipment is what good photographers do. The only reason this is amazing is because today there are a zillion BAD photographers out there so people accuse the good ones of cheating.

    There were amazing photos before photoshop existed, and people just had to accept that there were very talented and very lucky photographers in the world. Now they can just whine and shout “cheater!”

  • Anonymous

    Thankfully your opinion doesn’t matter.  While I have no reason to doubt Reuters’ claims, photographs have never depicted reality.  Film went through all kinds of modifications (more?) before it hit the printed page, including in the camera.  Photojournalism is about enhancing a written/visual story, not about documenting “reality” piece by piece.  Artistic license has always gone part and parcel with photojournalism and it wasn’t until tech fanboy wankers got bored of computers and hi-fi and headed over to cameras and decided to make up “photography rules” that it started to be a problem (since they cannot think artistically, only scientifically, or in your case statistically)   
    On another note, I would suggest you try it yourself sometime.  Though when you do, do it from the other side of the RPG.

  • Anonymous

    Hah, gotta love all the haters.

  • Anonymous


  • Jason Heilig

    Ahem, firstly your view on ethics in photojournalism is, to quote Lex Luthor…


    Secondly, you come off as an asshole when you insult somebodies view by telling them to stand in front of an RPG. You might want to grow up a touch.

  • Guest

    Where is the RPG ? hahahaha the shadow ? and where are shotting ? to nothing ?

    look what really do an RPG

    or this

    fake fake….

  • Joker23

    “Behind the tube, for about 30 meters, there is a 70 degree danger zone. 
    Close to the tube is a kill zone.  The operator and his A-gunner should
    always be ensuring that there are no obstacles, walls, etc within 2
    meters behind the RPG.  Good advice would be to make that at least 3
    meters.  Back-blast can be quite deadly.” nothing more to say… Photographer is not dead or injured and his camera is ok, so we must assume, it’s a fake!

  • Darren Ward79

    who gives a fuck its not a photo its propaganda!! keep it real!!

  • Omasback

    why do you believe Neal Krawetz? Why do you believe Reuters? Why are there no other pictures of this guy with the RPG?

  • Guest

    All I read was “CIA software to make fake images pass forensic analysis”–thanks for the laugh, seriously.

  • Analyst

    … and those close up pictures of your NASCAR races are all fakes because the cameraman isn’t getting run over each lap.  And obviously baseball games are fake, because you can’t see the cameraman on the field in those pictures of the batter…

    Its called a telephoto lens.  It would not even take a very powerful telephoto lens to take this shot standing behind the RPG beyond the danger zone.  

  • Qwestar

    I’m not sure what the fuss is. I don’t think it is that insteresting a photo. Good timing yes, but good photo? Not so much. Do you think it would get much attention? Has it been run on any major papers apart from the PS controversy?

  • Makofoto

    As an ex-pro sports shooter, typically one doesn’t use a “motor drive” setting to capture peak action photos. Great action photos come about from Anticipation … although of course there are always lucky accidents.

  • Guest

    My question is…why would you piss away valuable ordnance by letting some crippled bastard on crutches shoot it off erroneously down the street at no obvious target?