Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Photojournalism Gone Wrong

There's been quite a bit of controversy about a photograph released purporting to show the launching of four missiles by Iran last week and news agencies have been tripping all over themselves to show that the image was actually doctored, as evidenced in the side-by-side photographs here:

As a photographer with a lot of years of experience, the first thing I've noticed is that the two photographs were not taken from the same location (look at the mountain ridge in the background) and that the missiles in one are not in the same position in the air as the missiles in the other. It doesn't take any effort to notice that the missile that is missing in the picture on the right has a strange color patch of sky behind it. This might not show up in newsprint, but it is incredibly evident in pixels.

These guys may have Photoshop, but they don't have a lot of skill with it.

Pictures do lie. They lied before the digital age, but they lie even more now. This is not good photojournalism, it is propaganda. I just wonder whose propaganda it is. Without access to the metadata on each of the frames, I don't have much opportunity to figure it out.