Photographs of of Syria these days are filled with grim sights of pain and suffering. One Austrian newspaper apparently decided that the photos weren’t grim enough. Kronen Zeitung, Austria’s largest newspaper boasting ~3 million readers, published a photo this past weekend (top) showing a couple stepping through the rubble of a destroyed building complex with their child wrapped in a blanket. A powerful image… but completely fabricated. The original photo (bottom) published by the European Pressphoto Agency two days earlier shows a completely different scene.
If you’ve ever watched a Japanese anime, or even American cartoons for that matter, you probably know that most of the characters have highly unrealistic body proportions — giant eyes and tiny noses are the norm. Ideal Species is a creepy set of images by photographer Chris Scarborough that imagines what these proportions would look like in the real world. Yup, it’s creepy. Read more…
Every year, graphic designer Everett Hiller and his wife throw a party during the holiday season. Afterwards, Hiller Photoshops the photographs captured at the gathering before sending them out to friends and family. He doesn’t just fix white balance and removed red eye, but instead sneakily Photoshops various celebrities into the shots. Hiller finds source images of celebrities by doing a search on Google Images for the name — ranging from presidents to movie stars — and uses certain keywords (e.g. “dinner” or “I met”) to find candid/amateur shots. Photoshopping the celebs into the photos takes about 45 minutes to do. Read more…
Here’s an awesome TED lecture in which digital artist Erik Johansson discusses creating realistic “photographs” of impossible scenes.
Erik Johansson creates realistic photos of impossible scenes — capturing ideas, not moments. In this witty how-to, the Photoshop wizard describes the principles he uses to make these fantastical scenarios come to life, while keeping them visually plausible.
Photography author Ben Long has a thought-provoking article over at CreativePro in which he argues that “all photos are manipulated” and that “there is no such thing as absolute truth in photography”:
All images are Photoshopped. Or Lightroomed, or iPhoto’d, or dodged, burned, re-touched, cross-processed, developed with more or less agitation in the tank, at warmer or cooler temperatures, and so on and so forth. This has been true since the beginning of photography.
Understanding the representational nature of photography will help you take better pictures because you’ll better understand how to exploit the strengths and weaknesses of the medium.
But perhaps more importantly, it’s important to understand that all images are manipulated. Still photos are the dominant communication medium used for everything from entertainment to artistic expression, journalism to sales. Becoming a more informed, understanding viewer will make it easier to understand when and whether there’s any “truth” in the images put before you.
After The Bee published a correction and apology online Wednesday and in print Thursday, editors reviewed a selection of Patrick’s work and found two additional digital alterations that violate The Bee’s standards.
[...] In a 2009 photograph of the Auburn wildfire that was published unaltered in the newspaper, Patrick subtly enlarged the flames in the photograph submitted for a winning entry to the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association annual contest. An anonymous email to The Bee late Thursday cast suspicion on that photograph.
NPPA president Sean Elliot wasn’t surprised by the firing, saying, “If he’s willing to move a couple of egrets around, if he’s willing to jazz up flames to make a photo more exciting, how do we know there aren’t more?… How do we trust the work?”
The Sacramento Bee has suspended award-winning staff photographer Bryan Patrick after it was discovered that he had Photoshopped two photographs of an egret eating a frog into a single photo. The newspaper, which is the 5th largest in California and the 25th largest in the US, says that the manipulation was done to make the frog more visible while still showing a second bird lunging for it. NPPA president Sean Elliot labeled the case a “betrayal”:
If this photographer in Sacramento can diddle around with a photograph of an egret, how can I know that any photograph I look at is trustworthy? It feels like a betrayal. [...] It violates a feeling of trust I think we have with all of our members.
News photo agencies EPA, AFP, and Reuters have all issued kill orders for a photo of Kim Jong-il’s funeral procession released by the Korean Central News Agency, the state news agency of North Korea. The photo (above at bottom) raised red flags after a comparison with a Kyodo News photo taken just seconds earlier revealed that a number of people had vanished from the scene. The New York Times writes,
A side-by-side comparison of the full images does point to a possibly banal explanation: totalitarian aesthetics. With the men straggling around the sidelines, a certain martial perfection is lost. Without the men, the tight black bands of the crowd on either side look railroad straight.
Perhaps it was a simple matter of one person gilding the lily.