The ramblings of a stark raving lunatic follow...

Monday, August 07, 2006

"Improper" photomanipulation?

Saw this on Yahoo News before they took it down, supposedly showing the aftermath of an air strike on Beirut. Talk about some blatant and shitty manipulation. Someone went a little triggerhappy with the clone stamp. Anyways, it was taken down shortly after, with the following statement issued:

A Reuters photograph of smoke rising from buildings in Beirut has been withdrawn after coming under attack by American web logs. The blogs accused Reuters of distorting the photograph to include more smoke and damage.

The photograph showed two very heavy plumes of black smoke billowing from buildings in Beirut after an Air Force attack on the Lebanese capital. Reuters has since withdrawn the photograph from its website, along a message admitting that the image was distorted, and an apology to editors.

In the message, Reuters said that “photo editing software was improperly used on this image. A corrected version will immediately follow this advisory. We are sorry for any inconvience.”

Reuters’ head of PR Moira Whittle said in response: “Reuters has suspended a photographer until investigations are completed into changes made to a photograph showing smoke billowing from buildings following an air strike on Beirut. Reuters takes such matters extremely seriously as it is strictly against company editorial policy to alter pictures.”

“As soon as the allegation came to light, the photograph, filed on Saturday 5 August, was removed from the file and a replacement, showing the same scene, was sent. The explanation for the removal was the improper use of photo-editing software,” she added.

Earlier, Charles Johnson, of the Little Green Footballs blog , which has exposed a previous attempt at fraud by a major American news corporation, wrote : “This Reuters photograph shows blatant evidence of manipulation. Notice the repeating patterns in the smoke; this is almost certainly caused by using the Photoshop “clone” tool to add more smoke to the image.”

Let's backtrack a second:
The explanation for the removal was the improper use of photo-editing software

So what's proper, then? When we're unable to tell it's been altered? It gets better, too:

“The photographer has denied deliberately attempting to manipulate the image, saying that he was trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under,” said Moira Whittle, the head of public relations for Reuters.


Anyways, here's a before-and-after gif of the offending photo:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


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