Fauxtography

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Summary

"Fauxtography" is a term used to describe instances of photojournalism (most coming from sources in the Middle East) in which photos have been either misrepresented by staging or other means, or manipulated with computer software. Bloggers exposing instances of "fauxtography" led to Reuters firing Adnan Hajj, a freelance photographer, and implementing new internal guidelines.


Computer Altered Photographs

Hajj took the photograph below and Reuters distributed it worldwide in August 2006. The smoke seen billowing from what was described as an Israeli air raid on Beirut’s suburbs was digitally altered, as it appears were some of the buildings in the photo. Charles Johnson, of the blog Little Green Footballs, first noticed the suspicious smoke and later uncovered additional instances of "fauxtography" coming out of the Middle East.

20060805BeirutPhotoshop.jpg

Reuters Admits Altering Beirut Photo

Allan Detrich, The Toledo Blade (2007). Doctored photos. He submitted 79 photographs that were altered. “The changes Mr. Detrich made included erasing people, tree limbs, utility poles, electrical wires, electrical outlets, and other background elements from photographs. In other cases, he added elements such as tree branches and shrubbery.” He resigned.

Brian Walski, The Los Angeles Times (2003). Doctored photos. The LA Times admitted that it “published a front-page photograph that had been altered in violation of Times policy.”

Computer Enhanced Photographs

CBC enhances pollution over Toronto. After the original stock photo was discovered online, the corporation admitted the use of a "warming filter" to add "sepia tones", but maintained its use was accidental.

The head of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News faced questioning from Conservative MPs on Parliament Hill Tuesday about what they called a "doctored photo" that appeared in April on CBC's news website. The public broadcaster's news web site carried an altered stock photo of the Toronto skyline that was noticeably darkened and made the smog and atmospheric haze appear much worse than in the original photo.

Corrections Issued

Reuters Admits Altering Beirut Photo

Misidentified photos

Associated Press (AP) (2005). Fell for hoax and phony photo. The AP ran a story, with a photo, about a soldier held hostage in Iraq. The photo turned out to be that of an action figure doll; there was no such soldier.

Reuters Busted by a 13-Year Old Charles Johnson - Little Green Footballs - 08/10/2007

More Reuters photo fraud uncovered Editor: Thomas Lifson - American Thinker - 08/10/2007

The Boston Globe (2004). Fake photos, fake story. The Boston Globe published pictures alleging U.S. troops raped Iraqi women. The pictures turned out to be commercially available pornography.

The UK Daily Mirror published photos that appeared to show British soldiers torturing an Iraqi detainee.

At a news conference in Preston on Friday afternoon, the regiment demonstrated to reporters aspects of uniform and equipment which it said proved the photographs were fake. The regiment's Brigadier Geoff Sheldon said the vehicle featured in the photographs had been located in a Territorial Army base in Lancashire and had never been in Iraq. He said the QLR's reputation had been damaged by the Mirror and asked the newspaper to apologise because the evidence they were staged was "overwhelming". The Conservatives said they hoped lessons had been learned from the row. Deputy leader and foreign affairs spokesman, Michael Ancram, said: Looking at the facts objectively, this is the right thing for Piers Morgan to have done. "The photos that were published in the Daily Mirror have done great damage to the reputation of our troops, who are serving under some of the most difficult conditions in Iraq. 'Recruiting poster for al-Qaeda' The photos published in the Mirror on 1 May appeared to show British troops torturing an Iraqi detainee. In one picture a soldier is seen urinating on a hooded man while in another the hooded man is being hit with a rifle in the groin. Colonel Black, a former regiment commander of the QLR, said the pictures put lives in danger and acted as a "recruiting poster" for al-Qaeda.

Staged Photographs

AC Journal - Fauxtography of Lebanon War

EU Referendum - The Corruption of the Media

New York Times - Hezbollah Photo Fraud

Reuters - Honduras Photo Fraud

Fox News - Reuters Admits Cropping Photos of Ship Clash, Denies Political Motive

Big Journalism - UK Telegraph Tries its Hand At Anti-Israel Fauxtography

External Links

Little Green Footballs-Reuters Doctoring Photos from Beirut?

The Jawa Report-Fauxtography at the UN

Video: Green Helmet acting as cynical movie director in qana on July 30, 2006

Four forms of fauxtography

Reuters Doctoring Beirut Photos

Editor sacked over faux photos

Green Helmet admits to Staging Photos Little Green Footballs

More Reuters Photo Fraud Uncovered The American Thinker, 08/10/07

Footnotes

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