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World Press Photo Winner Accused of Photoshopping

timothy posted about a year ago | from the stock-characters dept.

The Media 182

vikingpower writes "The winner of this year's World Press Photo award, Paul l Hanssen, is under fire for allegedly having photoshopped the winning picture. The Hacker Factor is detailing the reasons and technicalities for the accusations. ExtremeTech also runs an item about the possible faking. Upon questions by Australian news site news.com.au, Hanssen answers his photo is not a fake. The whole story, however, is based upon somewhat thin proof: three different times in the file's Adobe XMP block; this does not necessarily mean that more than one file was used in order to obtain a composite image." Update: 05/14 20:04 GMT by S : World Press Photo says the photo is genuine.

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I can tell from the pixels... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718843)

...and from having seen quitr a few shops in my time.

Re:I can tell from the pixels... (0)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43718949)

...and from having seen quitr a few shops in my time.

boat shops? been playing too much outrun?

Happens All the Time (1)

paysonwelch (2505012) | about a year ago | (#43718845)

This actually happens more often than you think. Usually the are found out. I remember seeing one example of a poorly clone stamped image where the photographer made the dark clouds from an explosion look bigger. And don't forget Martha-Gate, when they photoshopped her head onto a body model for the cover of Newsweek.

Typo (3, Funny)

drainbramage (588291) | about a year ago | (#43718893)

I believe the correct spelling would be Newsweak.
News for people who don't want to know but find People magazine too deep.

Re:Happens All the Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718897)

Yeah, but if all they have as evidence is an XMP block, that just means an Adobe product touched it in some manner. It could have been something nefarious, or he could have just used it to crop the photo. Whatever the truth, it's really hard to prove.

Re:Happens All the Time (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43718987)

Yeah, but if all they have as evidence is an XMP block, that just means an Adobe product touched it in some manner. It could have been something nefarious, or he could have just used it to crop the photo. Whatever the truth, it's really hard to prove.

there's more than just adobe product touching it.

also, just forgetting to bring the original to a place where many people had disbelief in the photo... how the fuck did he get the award without the original?

at the very least all the levels on the picture were adjusted severely to bring out the pop - at worst composited from entirely different pictures.

Re:Happens All the Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719021)

If you read the HackerFactor story, they also claim the shadows are incorrect and other pictures of the same people suggest that dirt may have been added to the face of one of the children. In addition they look at the ELA (apparently that means Error Level Analysis) and determined that it is inconsistent across the image.

Re:Happens All the Time (2)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#43719213)

ELA is complete and utter garbage, and can not be used to show anything at all. It's like looking at tea leaves.

Re: Happens All the Time (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43719831)

It looks like either its an HDR composition of several exposures, possibly with some dodging and burning, but the same effect could have been achieved with a flash.

I don't know the rules for this particular contest, but HDR wouldn't be contrary to many standards, although dodging and burning might be. Flashes aren't.

Re: Happens All the Time (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43720257)

Yes, HDR (High Dynamic Range) modifications to an image would be contrary to the Photojournalism standards in this particular contest. They are pretty strict. You're allowed to crop (sort of), mild modifications to levels and curves but nothing along the lines of what he purportedly did.

For the New York Daily News, El Reg or Slashdot - it's fine. Photojournalism, it's not.

Re: Happens All the Time (1)

ArTourter (991396) | about a year ago | (#43720347)

If there is enough dynamic range information in the original raw file (these days modern pro/semi pro easily do) , it is also very possible that this was an HDR style manipulation from a single exposure.

You are right though that this look very much like an HDR

Re:Happens All the Time (4, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43720229)

They draw some lines showing where the sun is. They then claim this means the illumination of the faces is wrong. Without any proof, and without allowing for the possibility that they are illuminated in some other way.

Why am I reminded of the moon landing conspiracy theorists?

As to Error Level Analysis, it can indeed show composites up. But there is nothing strong enough in the ELA they show to indicate compositing.

It's pretty obvious just looming at the photo that it's been enhanced. I don't see the problem with increasing contrast, even selectively, to make a better photo. It still shows exactly what was there, and nothing else.

A composite would be different, and that would indeed be a scandal. But there's no evidence of a composite here.

Re:Happens All the Time (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | about a year ago | (#43719093)

I thought the truth was pretty damn obvious myself, someones kids were killed. The tragedy for me is that they never got to experience life - very haunting, photoshopped or not. What sucks is that you get people (like this photographer) who go out of their way to use 'dead children' for propaganda, personal gain, or to push some agenda. Guy seems morally bankrupt, saw this as a money shot and used it as such.

Re:Happens All the Time (3, Interesting)

Loether (769074) | about a year ago | (#43719545)

I take your point, However, I don't see a better alternative. Without photojournalists showing the horrors of tragic events what does that leave, Only writers are allowed to tell the story's without photos? Or, perhaps discussing tragedies in any form is bad? I personally think we need more photo journalist willing to go to the battlefields and in the case of the photo Gaza city so that more civilized people like you and me can sit at our computers and have a debate about whether or not what they are doing (taking photos of emotional, bloody events) is worthy or not. That way I don't have to get physically dirty.

Re:Happens All the Time (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43720281)

If you would have looked at the links, you would have seen that, indeed, other photographers had taken pictures of those exact same people. This guy tarted up the photo in ways that are not considered appropriate for 'photojournalism' - a specific form of photography. It would be similar to someone trying to show a Kodachrome in a Black and White photo exhibition.

The big issue was why the editors let it get through without the RAW file. So sorry dude, you don't bring everything to the table, you don't get the prize.

Truth? (4, Informative)

pastafazou (648001) | about a year ago | (#43720447)

You really have no idea how badly you're being played. Please go to youtube and search for Pallywood. Also check out this article [frontpagemag.com]. The people of Gaza and the West Bank are being used as tools in an ongoing propaganda campaign aimed at turning public opinion worldwide against Israel. They fire rockets at Israel from locations that put their own innocent civilians in harms' way. The goal is to entice Israel into returning fire, and in doing so killing the innocent women and children nearby. Why is it that the palestinian refugees living in squalor across the border in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria are completely ignored? Israel actually provides humanitarian aid to the West Bank and Gaza, providing food and basic necessities. In fact, Israel regularly brings refugees from these two regions into Israel for medical treatment. This does not happen in the other refugee camps controlled by Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Where is the outcry when Syria drops bombs from a jet indiscriminately on the palestinian refugee camp inside it's border? Israel has agreed to numerous peace deals brokered by various world leaders. It is always the Palestinian leadership that fails to agree. And so they continue to launch rockets at Israel, and they continue to wage a war of propaganda.

Re:Happens All the Time (2)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about a year ago | (#43719309)

Whatever the truth, it's really hard to prove.

It would be easy if the photographer supplied the RAW image like he was supposed to. He conveniently "forgot" to bring it. Instant disqualification in my book.

Re:Happens All the Time (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43720079)

Why can't a RAW image be faked?

Re:Happens All the Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43720171)

They can (it is just a bunch of bytes like anything else), but it is more difficult as standard image editing programs don't save to the different raw formats.

Re:Happens All the Time (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43720297)

I see a market for a tool to convert pictures in other formats to RAW, if there isn't one already.

It's have to be a bit clever though as RAW stores more information than other standard formats.

Re:Happens All the Time (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43720345)

You can do it. It's just harder. Canon has a system that creates a digital provenance. It's used quite a bit in forensics. Nikon's system has been shown to be easily hacked.

It's a matter of degrees. These guys are running a photography contest, not a police department.

Re:Happens All the Time (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43720505)

well, it's not an _art_ contest.

I would just say that he selectively adjusted the levels. from quick glance, that could explain how there's more dirt on the face.

and well, generally that would explain how he "took" a photo that looks like airbrushed.

Re:Happens All the Time (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43718969)

This actually happens more often than you think.

I just assumed it was par for the course now. I thought that pretty much every newspaper and magazine photo was photoshopped at least some these days. I certainly haven't seen a magazine cover since the 80's that I didn't think was photoshopped to within an inch of its life.

Re:Happens All the Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719257)

They've been "photoshoping" long before there was such a thing as photoshop, in fact, as long as photography has existed. There are things you can do in the darkroom (google it) and things you can do with an airbrush to a finished print. I did a lot of this for fun as a teenager; I remember one picture I took of myself standing in front of a giant ham radio reciever, which was actually a photo of myself, cut out, and placed in front of the radio.

Seriously? Secretly photoshopping? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718865)

The "photo" looks like it was CGI'd from the ground up. It looks like it was meant to look that way.

It looks like a Final Fantasy cutscreen.

Re:Seriously? Secretly photoshopping? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43719829)

The "photo" looks like it was CGI'd from the ground up. It looks like it was meant to look that way.

Indeed. My first thought was "uncanny valley" [wikipedia.org]. The people don't even look real.

Re:Seriously? Secretly photoshopping? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43720397)

Right. But there's a big difference between enhancing the tones that are already there in a single shot, and compositing from more than one image, or other techniques such as shape distortion.

I have no problem with photo-journalists enhancing the tones of an image. The image still shows an actual scene. It might change the feel of an image but it doesn't change the facts that the image shows. I'd rather see an image where I can see the details than one where I can't because the exposure needed for different parts of the picture were different.

I'd have a big problem if they were compositing. But there's no evidence of that happening here.

CGI'd dead kids? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43720173)

WTF, seriously kids died in that Israeli attack, their grieving parents are carrying their dead bodies!

And you think its CGI'd??? Seriously?

When you hear the news about a shooting, do you think it's a Halo mission video!?

Re:CGI'd dead kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43720403)

When I see things that look like CGI and cartoonish, I tend to think they're not real or at least manipulated. This is independent of things that happened in real life.

Re:CGI'd dead kids? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43720579)

WTF, seriously kids died in that Israeli attack, their grieving parents are carrying their dead bodies!

And you think its CGI'd??? Seriously?

When you hear the news about a shooting, do you think it's a Halo mission video!?

the picture looks like it was repainted - it's practically ready for print, and not just for printing on a news story but as in ready to print to be glued on a wall as a mural - in that way it's nice.

the other pictures from the scene do not look like that, and thus look more real, and less like they're from a movie poster commemorating the tragedy.

anyhow.. the telltale is that the guy "forgot" the raw.

What isn't a lie anno 2013? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718879)

Can't even be bothered caring anymore.

Minor observations (5, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#43718921)

I am not agreeing with or denying what Hacker Factor is saying, but I would like to point out some minor issues with the analysis.

First, as to the lighting of the faces being brighter than in other pictures taken during the same procession, it is entirely possible there was a reflective surface to the crowd's right (picture left) which is making the faces appear brighter than one would think they should be in the alley way. Think of the reflective nature of the moon's surface which conspiracy theorists always ignore when talking about how bright things are in shadows. While the Photoshop effect could be the issue, note the wall to their right (picture left) which does have a reflective surface.

Note also the man on the far left, next to the wall. Note how there is sun shining on the white cloth directly below his face. As everyone knows, a white surface reflects large portions of light falling on it which would also produce the lighting effect seen on the man's face.

Second, as to the dirt on the girls face appearing differently in the photos, note the different angles of her head. In the winning photo the forehead is almost at a right angle to the picture taker whereas in the second photo it is pointing almost directly at the camera. The lighting in the second photo is much more diffuse than the first which could explain the difference.

Also note that in the winning photo, the crowd is in a part of the alley which has exposure to much more sunlight than in the second photo.

Again, I'm not saying the person didn't do what has been accused, I'm only pointing out possibilities to explain what is being shown.

Re: Minor observations (5, Informative)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year ago | (#43719097)

The photographer has already explained the lat the photos have been retouched to affect lighting and dynamic range, he just didn't do what he was accused of, which was splicing different images together.

Re: Minor observations (3, Interesting)

Zeromous (668365) | about a year ago | (#43720125)

I have to agree with this, I actually see VERY LITTLE evidence of a splice of three "different" images.

What is very possible, is three copies of the same image where spliced and lighting adjustment was performed on three splices separately. This is done for masking purposes, or situations of convenience.

I believe in fact, this is what the photographer claims and I find the analysis of the pixel changes and shadows consistent with this.

Re: Minor observations (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43720645)

I think that is what he did too, selectively enhancing different parts of the image each differently. it matters little if they were done in separate copies or on the same image just at different places of the image(technically it's the same anyhow).

however, I'm not so sure he would admit to that so directly on his own - because it's walking on a fine line what's acceptable and what's not. (since he could fade out entire persons with that technique, and it was supposed to be a photojournalism contest). because by selectively adjusting black levels you can in effect draw on the picture, fade things, make dirt appear as burnt skin...

Light Room 101 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719413)

It looks like it's be run through lightroom which is what he says he did to it!

If you're not familiar with lightroom, its what professional photographers use to get brightness and depth into photos. It's a set of filters coupled to some workflow and archiving tools. What it isn't is Photoshop editing. He didn't put the dead children into the shot, or composite two separate dead children into one shot.


Israel really did kill children, they really did die, they really were carried by grieving families along the street. It really is a tragedy, and pretending it's fake, and by implication that the dead children are also fake is a misleading argument.

Re:Light Room 101 (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43719551)

It really is a tragedy, and pretending it's fake, and by implication that the dead children are also fake is a misleading argument.

But it usually works. Resistance is diminished and discredited, and that's all that matters.

Re:Minor observations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43720449)

For a more in-depth technical analysis, we should consult the experts. I am, of course, referring to the esteemed commentators of Youtube fame.

A definitive statement from the likes of Dedp00lR0x or NowImABelieber - possibly along the lines of "lol, so fake, this foto sux" - would settle the matter once and for all.

It DOES look fake (0)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43718939)

If the photo is real, why did the photographer go through all the trouble with filters and all kinds of photo magic just to make it look like fake?

Re:It DOES look fake (2)

Alranor (472986) | about a year ago | (#43718993)

It looks to me as if he went for an HDR treatment of the image, which would also explain the alleged 3 RAW files in it - if he used the same RAW each time but with an altered exposure level to get the dynamic range he wanted.

as a professional photographer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719173)

this does look like HDR tonemapping. I'm very confident it's a composite of the same *one* RAW file use. It's very difficult to match position and angle between frames, especially if you're a photojournalist on the go. It's possible he's using a tripod, but it's very very unlikely since it's a crowd marching towards him in a narrow alley. As someone has said, the sun is to the right, and probably bouncing the light from the wall on the left, but the photog toned down the hue on the walls to the point that they look like dark brown and unable to reflect anything.

Furthermore, it's common practice for PJs to dodge/ burn photos. How much to dodge/burn is a point of contention among PJs. Personally, I think this HDR tonemapping goes way beyond what's acceptable by journalistic standards, since it removes the time of day regular people come to expect looks like.

That's one of the reasons I got out of PJ and went to commercial photography. More freedom to manipulate. And to earn more money.

Re:as a professional photographer (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43719747)

It's a well known fact that crowds of greiving Gazans will all simultaneously freeze in their funerals so that photographers can get three good separate exposures for HDR!!! ~

Re:as a professional photographer (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about a year ago | (#43720001)

that's why likely it's the same RAW file 'developed' in camera raw for shadows / midtones / highlights and merged in PS with layers/masking to create a good HDR composite.

It really depends from the rules of the contest if the above is acceptable or not, but I don't consider it more cheating than dodging & burning in the darkroom...

Re:It DOES look fake (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43719703)

He does indeed claim he did it with one raw file. "The Hacker" makes a lot of hay about it being loaded/converted three times on two separate dates. Which sorta sounds like the guy is saying "He didn't do it how I would have done it, I can't see a reason to do it how he did it, therefore it must be a fake. To prove it, LIGHTING! Which is based on stuff I can't see."

It reminds me of the people who make reasonable-sounding cases that 9/11 was an inside job. They make it sound questionable until your realize that there are hundreds of other explanations, they have no proof, and they want attention.

Re:It DOES look fake (1)

fazig (2909523) | about a year ago | (#43719081)

Most photographs I've seen in the recent years were digitally altered in some way.
Especially automatically applied High-dynamic-range Imaging [wikipedia.org] is a quite popular "effect" in current cameras. A side effect of this is that many hobby photographers don't know how to adjust this method properly, or their camera doesn't offer that much options and as a result the colours on their photos seem to be unreal.
But this doesn't mean that the photographs are photoshopped. Digitally altered, yes; photoshopped in the sense of altered content, no.

Re:It DOES look fake (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43719561)

Because no camera out there captures what your eyes see. Your eyes are the result of millions of years of evolution. DLSRs are the result of, what, 30 years of engineering? HDR was invented not to make unrealistic images but to make images that look like what you'd actually be able to see. It may look fake only because you're used to seeing images on the computer screen which have a "normal" compressed exposure range. Sorta like how when people watch high-framerate images on TV or movies, they complain it looks weird, because they're used to the slower framerate.

Granted, plenty of people go overboard with HDR, and I don't know if the actual scene looked that way.

not convinced (5, Insightful)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year ago | (#43718941)

I'm not an expert in photography and imaging, but upon reading the Extreme Tech article I wasn't impressed. Their stunning crescendo:

I think most of you will agree, though, that the photo simply feels fake

I was surprised they didn't simply go for "you can tell by the pixels."

Re:not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719025)

I'm not an expert in photography and imaging, but upon reading the Extreme Tech article I wasn't impressed.

The Hacker Factor blog post has a much better explanation and investigation into why the photo is a composite rather than a single original.

Re:not convinced (1)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#43719227)

No, that analysis uses ELA, which is completely unreliable and not proof of anything, in any direction. Anybody who uses ELA as a proof has no idea what they are doing.

Re:not convinced (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43720209)

That's what I came here to ask. It sounded like bullshit:

“Error level analysis (ELA) works by intentionally resaving the image at a known error rate, such as 95%, and then computing the difference between the images. If there is virtually no change, then the cell has reached its local minima for error at that quality level. However, if there is a large amount of change, then the pixels are not at their local minima and are effectively original.”

Re:not convinced (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719315)

Not really. He just establishes that the timestamp was likely wrong and shows us an ELA image with little commentary or explanation. And the metdata.
How he concludes that it's a composite is completely left out.

Re:not convinced (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43719565)

The bit with the shadow angles reminded me of those Apollo conspiracy sites. "The sun's on the right, nothing on the left can be illuminated at all!"

Like ambient light doesn't exist.

Re:not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719827)

Obligatory link [knowyourmeme.com].

zero evidence (5, Insightful)

Njovich (553857) | about a year ago | (#43718953)

The supposed proof of 'fakery' from the article seems entirely consistent with what the photographer says it is, different regions with different light intensities from the same raw file.The light angles seem entirely plausible, I guess the article writer hasn't heard of reflection. Even the moon landing nutters come up with better stuff than this.

The only true thing is that (as the photographer also says), the light intensities are differing.

Why wouldn't the photographer be allowed to change light intensities? Every single digital image, ever uses some kind of processing to turn photons into pixels on your screen, and there is always some level of subjectivity in how that is done, even if it's done right on the chip. Why is that an issue?

Re: zero evidence (2)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year ago | (#43719129)

"In the post-process toning and balancing of the uneven light in the alleyway, I developed the raw file with different density to use the natural light instead of dodging and burning. In effect to recreate what the eye sees and get a larger dynamic range"

From the contest: " The content of the image must not be altered. Only retouching which conforms to the currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed."

It seems lighting isn't the issue, so much as the accusation of image splicing.

Re: zero evidence (3, Insightful)

lahvak (69490) | about a year ago | (#43719595)

It seems lighting isn't the issue, so much as the accusation of image splicing.

Yes, but the image splicing accusation is largely based on the three conversions from raw. If he made a hdr image from a single raw, as he claims, he would obviously have to do several conversions of the same raw file. That would also explain different ELA brightness in different parts of the picture: they came from different conversions of the same raw file, so they were processed differently. Notice that there are several slight halos, for example on top of the building in the background, that would indicate a hdr from raw techique that the author claims he used. In fact, a single raw hdr was my first reaction when I saw the picture.

The only thing left that would support possible splicing is then the lighting itself: the light on the faces is not consistent with the location of the sun. That can easily be explained by an additional (weaker) light source on the left (most likely a reflective surface on the left wall). The hdr processing emphasizes this light in the otherwise dark areas of the picture, which makes it look strange and unnatural, but is still does not prove splicing of several images.

I don't know whether the single raw hdr techique "conforms to the currently accepted standards in the industry", but I am pretty sure I have seen it used in news images before. After all, it does not alter the actual scene in any way, it just emphasizes some parts of it differently.

Re: zero evidence (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year ago | (#43720443)

I'm more partial to think the lighting on the faces is more to do with a simple bounce from the sun. He assembled the image from three separate virtual exposures. It's likely he chose the brightest one to use for the faces, his normal exposure for the walls and stuff, and the darkest one for the sky. I don't think he assembled the "HDR" using some automated method. More likely he just used more traditional blending (overlay, etc) of the different exposures and some layer masks as photographers have been doing for long before it was labeled with the misnomer "HDR". The Palestinians fake and recycle a bunch of photos, but this doesn't seem to be one of them.

Re:zero evidence (2)

lurker412 (706164) | about a year ago | (#43720059)

There are many ways to lie with a camera, and most of them don't rely on Photoshop--framing, cropping, timing, staging or simple selection from a number of shots. Rules tend to be arbitrary--composites may be utter fictions, but they can also be stitched panoramas that provide a wider view and greater detail than the lens/camera combination could provide in a single frame. Film shots were dodged and burned in the darkroom long before digital photography was created. Digital has merely made manipulation easier than it used to be. The only meaningful question is, did the photographer stay within the bounds set by the rules of the competition? Producing the raw file should provide a conclusive answer.

the Holocaust (-1, Troll)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#43718991)

...was photoshopped too.

Sorry for being blunt, but I just wanted to get you attention.
To this:
Gaza is a death trap perpetrated by Israel, and we don't
need photo's to know this.

Re:the Holocaust (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#43719199)

If Israel started shooting hundreds of unguided rockets into Iran, how long do you think it would be before Iran retaliated? If South Korea shot hundreds of rockets into North Korea would they let it be? If we started shooting rockets into Canada what would happen?

The fake times are upon us (1, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43718997)

It's no longer really possible for "normal" people to tell apart real images from photoshopped or even completely CGI rendered ones. Computer imagining has become this good.

What's real? What's fake? Or rather, where does the fake start? Pretty much every ad picture is 'shopped. Models don't "grow" that way. A real human isn't pretty enough for us. And real reality isn't sensationalist enough either.

Get used to fake images being broadcast as news. Thinking about it, you probably already are, you just don't know it yet.

Re:The fake times are upon us (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43719071)

The news is almost already entirely lies. Adding fake images doesn't affect its trustworthiness at all.

Re:The fake times are upon us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719349)

What's more interesting is how this will play out in the courts. Sure, the first few thousand people who get convicted based on fake photos will do time, but as soon as one person with power or deep pockets gets convicted this way, we'll find ourselves in a world where photo and video evidence is simply not enough to convict someone of a crime.

And I have no idea what that's going to do to our criminal courts. It's going to turn them on their heads, however.

Re:The fake times are upon us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43720057)

Which is why a prestigious prize like the World Press Photo should at least require handing in the original RAW file.

It's still puzzles me how this went through.
"I forgot to bring it"?!? Well then go home and get it.
It's too far? It's the digital age, ask your SO to put it on Dropbox or something.

The accusations have been going on for days now and he's still not produced the RAW file. When it's that easy to dispel accusations and you don't do it, don't be surprised if people become suspicious.

Bit of retouching (4, Insightful)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year ago | (#43719005)

Looks brightened up a bit, but not other images thrown in. Can photographers not brighten/tweak contrast on a pic? Posting the original RAW file (if it still exists) would cover him for these sorts of accusations. Wouldn't it be prudent for a news agency to have a backup of the RAW files for A) these sorts of accusations B) their own tweaking of the pic for print/display?

Every photo is altered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719017)

All photos are photo shopped, (unless it's a raw which are very dull). Change of color levels, contrast, maybe some blur here or there, etc. What do they mean with what is real? That question is petty much lost these days. The question is not if, but by how much, and where we draw the line in this. Which might be different from contest to contest. ... Please turn down the contrast, things are not as black and white as they seem.

Re:Every photo is altered (1)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year ago | (#43719091)

I was going to say this. Show me a professional photographer who doesn't do at least basic post-production work on his/her pictures.

"supposed" to show (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719019)

This photo is supposed to show mourners in Gaza City carrying children who died in an Israeli air strike

No, it really does show mourners in Gaza City carrying children who died in an Israeli air strike. There's no dispute about the factual content. The only dispute is about dramatic enhancement. "Supposed" is an attempt to cast uncertainty about what happened on the ground, when the only uncertainty is how pretty the photographer made it look.

Re:"supposed" to show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719127)

The event was staged. I don't mean the photographers told people where to stand but the event only happened because there were photographers there.

The author has the RAW file. Case closed (5, Informative)

gaspyy (514539) | about a year ago | (#43719073)

The gritty look on the picture can be achieved with a local contrast filter. Combined with contrast and saturation manipulation, it's pretty easy to do. In Lightroom is just a matter of setting a few sliders - Darks, Highlights, Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation.

Furthermore, the author says he has the RAW file and it was examined by the jury. Personally I know of no software that can currently reverse a jpeg into raw. It should be possible in theory to fake a raw file, but I sincerely doubt it's the case.

Analyzing jpeg artifacts is snake oil. My photo workflow is this: shoot in RAW. Edit in Lightroom. Convert to ProPhoto 16bit/channel. Open in Photoshop, make any fine adjustments if needed. Output to jpeg. Only fools edit and re-save jpegs.

This is simply one of the "fake moon landings" conspiracies, started by people who don't understand photography.

Re:The author has the RAW file. Case closed (2)

Toonol (1057698) | about a year ago | (#43719249)

Personally I know of no software that can currently reverse a jpeg into raw.

Me neither, and now that I think of it, that's kind of a glaring hole. Somebody needs to write one, so that the entire chain of evidence can be faked. At this point, I think it's better to establish in everybody's mind that no photos can be trusted, rather than some notion that the fakes can still be distinguished from the real.

Re: The author has the RAW file. Case closed (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43720113)

You could create a RAW file easily enough, but it would be painfully evident that your 8 bit JPEG source data was not 10-16 bit RAW data. Not to mention the loss from the compression.

Re:The author has the RAW file. Case closed (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | about a year ago | (#43720423)

Somebody should write an algorithm that perfectly reverses lossy compression. Brilliant!

Re:The author has the RAW file. Case closed (1)

naroom (1560139) | about a year ago | (#43719251)

Personally I know of no software that can currently reverse a jpeg into raw.

Print at high res, then take a picture of the print!

Re:The author has the RAW file. Case closed (3, Interesting)

BetterSense (1398915) | about a year ago | (#43719873)

That's exactly what I always do to digitize my darkroom prints...I use a Nikon D70 on a copy stand, which is much much easier for me than using a flatbed scanner. When I post images of my prints online, the images say "Nikon D70" in the EXIF data, even for an image of a cyanotype. That's just how I digitize my prints for posting on the web. So I can show you plenty of "raw files" "proving" that my images were "unmanipulated"...and I guess you are supposed to believe me that I found an alternate universe that is bluish monochrome.

When I see any modern "photo contests" that require images to be "unmanipulated", I just shake my head. Not because I don't think that manipulation is good or bad, but because I don't think the idea of "manipulation" or "unmanipulation" is even a coherent concept in the context of what I call "information images", colloquially called "photographs(2)", which by their nature are manipulated and interpreted, and the authenticity of such information images has no meaning apart from the manipulative choices of the artist/programmer(s). A digital image can be considered no more or less authentic than a painting. They must always be considered interpretations because that's what they are, by their very nature; they have no nature apart from such interpretive manipulation; they must be interpreted to even be experienced. The common man only clings to the idea of an "unmanipulated image" because he thinks digital images are some different type of photograph(1), when in reality an "information image" (photograph(2)) is actually a fundamentally different (no matter how superficially similar) thing to a physical photograph(1). This is an example of the kind of "counterproductive metaphor or analogy" that Dijkstra talks about in one of his EWDs about radical innovations. The shift from photography to digital imaging is actually what EWD considers a "radical innovation" not some kind of evolution, and failure to understand this, evidenced by the fact that the common man thinks that digital images and photograph(1)s are similar things, is a tragic, limiting and counterproductive semiotic "false friend" that is only the more inevitable because the two things are so superficially similar.

Photographs(1) can be manipulated, and the extent to which their image can be said to represent reality is totally open (see Jerry Uelsmann) and I'm not talking about that kind of interpretation in the "viewing space". I'm just saying that in the objective space, the ideas of an "authentic" or "original" photograph(1) at least is a concept that can be understood, that COULD make sense, however useful or useless it may be. With digital photographs(2), the concept does not philosophically exist (in my opinion) and only exists as some kind of mass illusion, where people declare an photograph(2) "unauthentic" because "I know it when I see it" (except they demonstrably do not).

Re:The author has the RAW file. Case closed (2)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#43719261)

Analyzing jpeg artifacts is snake oil.

Exactly. The second I saw that the accusers were bringing out ELA, I lost all reason to believe anything they were saying. ELA is almost completely random, and will show you whatever you want to see.

Re:The author has the RAW file. Case closed (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719275)

A side by side comparison [flickr.com] of the photo that won the prize and the same photo published the day after it was taken.

There was a lot of work done on the light levels in the prize winner, but it is the same photo.

Re:The author has the RAW file. Case closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43720269)

The Flickr photo captions are currently interchanged. The image supposedly from November is the prize winner and the image they claim is the prize winner is apparently the image released in november.

Re:The author has the RAW file. Case closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719665)

You cannot convert back from JPEG to raw because JPEG compression is lossy. You can always find the compression pattern, or if somebody would try to remove it, the pattern of removed JPEG compression (e.g. smoothing).

The most funny thing about the fake moon landing discussion is that you would get the best non-faked pictures you can get if you do a fake landing on a proper stage.

Oh yeah, it's Photoshopped (2)

photosonic (830763) | about a year ago | (#43719099)

As a retoucher for 20 years, as soon as the image popped open on my screen it was yelling at me... "I've been retouched" The light and it's intensity is all over the place. It maybe the shot the photographer took, but he ruined it with terrible retouching.

Re:Oh yeah, it's Photoshopped (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#43719259)

You don't like the retouching, but given it won whatever the award in the title is clearly some other people did like it. So ruined from your perspective - made to appeal to the people judging that award in a less self centered perspective.

Re:Oh yeah, it's Photoshopped (2)

photosonic (830763) | about a year ago | (#43719385)

True. The award panel is looking at the emotional aspect of the shot. The visual colour/light aspect is what is terrible. There was no need to put a glossy magazine touch to a terrible situation other people are finding themselves dealing with.

Re:Oh yeah, it's Photoshopped (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719849)

It's too bad the photographer didn't bother to give the dead kids big tits, otherwise he could have gotten the photo on the cover of Sports Illustrated, too.

Re:Oh yeah, it's Photoshopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719659)

Well let's see the string of awards you have then!

Conspiracy theories abound! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719165)

The "fake photo" accusation is led by zionist sympathizers trying to detract from the horrific events the photo exposes!

Fake video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719229)

Want to see an example of a crude fake?

Israel attacked a UN school in reprisal for a missile launched from the school grounds that morning before dawn. There was an outcry, so they claimed the terrorist went back into the school after the launch, and did a bit of video editing to make it appear he did.

They took the video of him going in, firing a rocket and leaving and stuck the first part onto the end. So now, after the edit, it shows him go back into the school.
The shadows are problem, the moon was over the Med and heading west.

Israel is UT+3, on 29 Oct 2007, sunrise is 7.02am,

The recorded missile firing happened at about 5am:

The moon was West of Tel Aviv heading west and a nearly a full moon.

So, they simply pretended it was 9am day, even though its clearly a low light camera in moonlight, there's no traffic, no schoolkids and no people around, and the event had been reported already as 2 hours before sunrise!

I noticed that when people pointed out the problems with their claim, they went into astroturf mode, shouting down critics. I think there's a lot of that here, any image of what Israel does is claimed as a fake and shouted down. Yet nobody disputes Israel did that.

Bounce flash? (1)

Pigeon451 (958201) | about a year ago | (#43719245)

The strong light coming from the left-area is consistent with a bounce flash. The left-most person has a high amount of directed light, while the rightmost does not. The rightmost is also shielded from the potential flash behind the person carrying the right-most child. If a bounce flash wasn't used, then perhaps a strong reflection from the sunlight from an object. Also, if a remote flash unit was used, it may not show on the metadata.

The picture looks processed, but mostly to bring out the shadows and highlights. Not sure what the rules of the photography contest are, but not submitting the original raw is a little suspicious and this whole mess could be cleared up easily by the photographer.

Re:Bounce flash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719443)

He claims the light as natural.

Multiple photos (0)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#43719307)

In the future, submitters should be required to submit multiple photos of the scene as evidence that their photo is real. For instance, if the photographer could show a picture of the same group of people from a different angle (e.g., from behind), then that would add to the credibility of the photo.

Anyway, photoshop or not, it is still possible to "stage" a photo of course.

Enhanced or Fake? I say fake, because... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719359)

I tend to say it's ok to enhance a press photograph here and there to emphasize or improve the communicated image and message.
This already introduces "enough" bias in a photograph where the photographer decides how this type of postwork will affect the viewer.
The bias is already present as different people see the photographed situation differently and thus would also try to capture the moment differently, according to the way they perceive it. When post-processing their already subjective photograph, their memory serves them in deciding what the photograph still needs to make it fit their memory.
You can see that from the moment the scene is being observed by the photographer to the moment of saving the final press photograph for publication a lot of bias can be introduced.

For me the analysis shows pretty well that adding in different elements from different photos, resulting in normally inexplicable lighting of subjects etc. is crossing a line.

Therefore this photo (or collage, I should say?) should have been disqualified.

"Fake" is the new "real, but enhanced" (4, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year ago | (#43719727)

From the ExtremeTech [extremetech.com] headline:

How the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year was faked with Photoshop

OMG, it was faked! This is an outrage!

... but, from the ExtremeTech article:

When is an image fake, and when is it merely enhanced?

The bigger discussion, of course, is whether Gaza Burial is actually fake — or just enhanced to bring out important details. This is a question that has plagued photography since its inception. Should a photo, especially a press photo, be purely objective? Most people think the answer is an obvious “yes,” but it’s not quite that simple. What if a photo is perfect, except that it’s taken at an odd angle — can you digitally rotate it? What about cropping? What if there’s dust on the lens/sensor/film — can you digitally remove it?

Perhaps most importantly, though, cameras simply don’t capture the same gamut of color or dynamic range as human eyes — a photo never looks the same as the original image perceived by your brain. Is it okay for a photographer to modify a picture so that it looks exactly how he remembers the scene?

So, it wasn't faked, but rather cleaned up? All those people were in those positions at that time? The event was real?

The article uses the word "fake" to discredit the photographer, while at the same time admitting that that determination is really a subjective one having to do with how much enhancement is acceptable, and that the subject of the photo - which photojournalism is really about - is completely real.

Multiple process blend, nothing to see here. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719943)

Sorry for the AC, more of a lerker.

I've worked in this industry for a *long* time, I have very close personal ties to people who do post-processing for National Geographic.
If this image is faked, it isn't for the reasons listed in the 'analysis' of extremetech, which is clearly just trying to get traffic for their website full of poorly formed editorial.

It isn't uncommon at all to get the RAW file and process it for the highlights, then re-process it for the mid-tones and then re-process it for the shadows. Once you've got all 3 simply blending them together will achieve this result. Nothing more sophisticated than an old fashion darkroom print. It is a way of achieving additional dynamics, very common.

sidenote : I don't like the look of this type of processing as it 'feels' a bit CG, but my feelings don't give me the right to make uninformed slanderous comments about someone's work.

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