Photo tampering history



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April 2007: The New York Times published this digitally altered photograph. In a correction, the Times' editor said "The wood siding at the far left of the building was out of alignment because the picture was retouched by a Times staff member who took the picture, but who is not a staff photographer. He altered it because a flash created a white spot on the picture when he shot it through the window of a train. Also, the retouching tool left a round circle on the building's window at the right". The Editor's note concludes with "Times policy forbids the manipulation of any photograph. Had editors been aware of the manipulation and seen the original picture, they would have either published the picture with the blemish or not used it."



May 2007: In an advertisement for IMAX 3D theaters promoting the latest Harry Potter movie, the bust of actress Emma Watson was digitally enlarged. A similar advertisement in regular theaters was unaltered. Warner Brothers Pictures released a statement that said "This is not an official poster. Unfortunately this image was accidentally posted on the IMAX website. The mistake was promptly rectified and the image taken down."



May 2007: The biceps of tennis player Andy Roddick were conspicuously enlarged on the cover of Men's Fitness magazine. Roddick commented that he was "pretty sure I'm not as fit as the Men's Fitness cover suggests". He also noted that a prominent birthmark on his right arm had been erased. Richard Valvo, a spokesman for Men's Fitness, said, "We wouldn't comment on any type of production issue." Adding, "I don't see what the big issue is here."



July 2007: This cover of Redbook magazine shows a heavily re-touched (and thinner) image of singer and actress Faith Hill. Redbook was accused of contributing to the unattainable body image created by digital re-touching. In response, Redbook's editor in chief Stacy Morrison said, "The retouching we did on Faith Hill's photo for the July cover of Redbook is completely in line with industry standards."



July 2007: Missouri University professor R. Michael Roberts and co-authors retracted their paper (Cdx2 Gene Expression and Trophectoderm Lineage Specification in Mouse Embryos) published in Science after an investigation revealed that accompanying images were doctored. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the published research presented evidence that the first two cells of mouse embryos possess markers that indicate from a very early stage whether they will grow into a fetus or placenta. An investigating university committee found that lead author and post-doctoral researcher Kaushik Deb deliberately altered images of the embryos. Deb abruptly resigned his position and moved with no forwarding address or explanation. The committee said Roberts was cleared of wrongdoing by the committee, but that there was some concern over "whether he had acted appropriately at all times" during the research period. "Since he addressed that in the letter he sent to Science, we had no reason to suspect anything other than that he had been tricked."



August 2007: The Kentucky state Republican Party distributed campaign flyers that depict Steve Beshear, the Democratic nominee for Governor, as a high-roller leaning on a casino table. "Don't gamble on Steve Beshear and his fool's gold casino plan," says the campaign material. State Republican party chairman Steve Robertson said the photo is of Beshear's head but someone else's body. "It is a humorous way to communicate the message", Robertson said.



August 2007: The French Magazine Paris Match altered this photograph of French President Nicolas Sarkozy by removing some body fat. The magazine said it had tried adjusting the lighting on the picture. "The correction was exaggerated during the printing process," the magazine said.



September 2007: British Culture Secretary James Purnell (far right) was digitally inserted into this photo at the opening of Tameside hospital in Lancashire. Purnell arrived late to the opening and the hospital asked if it could add his image to their record of the event. The hospital said in a statement: "As we would not be able to stage a repeat of this historic day for the hospital, we decided to take a photograph of Mr Purnell in the same spot very shortly after and merge it with the earlier photograph, to which Mr. Purnell kindly consented." A Purnell spokeswoman denied that he agreed to the picture being doctored. "He was assured they would show the three MPs in one picture and have him separately in the corner."



September 2007: Mikhail Delyagin was (mostly) digitally removed from a video after he made remarks critical of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Shown here is a still frame from video of the television show "The People Want to Know". Only part of Delyagin was completely removed -- his leg and hand remain visible to the right of the man holding the microphone.



November 2007: Zhou Zhenglong from Shaanxi China claimed to have taken 71 photographs of the almost extinct South China tiger. Shown here is one image that was released to the public. Shortly after its release, it was determined that this image was a fake -- the most likely scenario is that the photograph is that of a life-size poster. This animation shows that the poster and photograph are nearly identical.



November 2007: A study by Dario Sacchi, Franca Agnoli and Elizabeth Loftus, published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, shows that people's memories of events can be altered by viewing doctored images. For example, when presented with doctored images of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest participants recalled the event as larger and more violent (shown in the lower panel is the doctored image in which the crowd was added).



November 2007: Artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese created the exhibit "Line Up" depicting doctored photographs of George W. Bush and members of his administration. The exhibit, being shown at the New York City Public Library, is critical of the war in Iraq. "It is simply inappropriate to have political attack art, in the form of egregious doctored photographs of the President and other high-ranking officials who have dedicated their lives to public service, in a taxpayer-funded building frequented by schoolchildren and the general public," said Matthew Walter, director of communications for the state GOP. In response, Roberta Waddell, curator of the library's print collection, said the exhibit was in keeping with a historical tradition, calling the exhibit a relevant example of political commentary.



December 2007: The Asbury Park Press published this doctored photo of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine as part of a story critical of Corzine's financial restructuring plans. In a letter to the Press, Corzine's chief of staff, wrote, in part, "Images that are nothing more than editorial cartoons morphed into photographs are fine -- for the editorial page. But placement of such images on the front page of the Sunday edition demonstrates a disregard for objective reporting." The Press's executive editor said that the photo did not blur the line between news reporting and editorial commentary. "That wasn't what we were trying to do," he said. "We were just trying to frame the story for readers. We were doing it in a way that was a little edgy, and in a way that would grab your attention."



January 2008: Taiwan's newspaper Liberty Times published this doctored photo of a delegation, led by the chairman of the Franz Collection, being met by the Pope. In the original photo, Wang Shaw-lan, a publisher of competing newspaper United Daily News, was removed. A Liberty Times reporter said that she removed Wang whom she said was "not an essential presence" and in order to shrink the picture for "better display". Later, Liberty Times said that the doctored picture came from the Franz Collection, but a Franz Collection spokesman said the newspaper had asked it to airbrush out Wang.



January 2008: This brochure of Texas Republican Congressional candidate Dean Hrbacek was mailed to voters. The photograph is a composite of Hrbacek's head and another person's (slimmer) body. Campaign manager Scott Broschart acknowledged that the image is a composite. Hrbacek has been so busy that he had no time to pose for a full-length photo for the mailing, Broschart said. "He may appreciate that we took a few pounds off him," Broschart said. "I think the voters ... are more concerned with the issues as opposed to pretty photo shoots."



January 2008: This magazine cover featuring pop star Britney Spears is a composite of her head and a model's body. The magazine cover states "Truthiness Alert: This cover image is a composite photo. Britney did not pose for this picture. That, sadly, is not her body."



February 2008: This photograph, by Liu Weiqiang of the Daqing Evening News, won an award for "one of the ten most impressive news photos of 2006". This photograph was recently revealed to be a composite of two separate photographs: the antelopes and the train. Weiqiang says that he never published the picture as a news photograph. Weiqiang also wrote in his blog, "I admit it's unfaithful, as well as immoral for a photographer to present a fabricated picture. I'm truly sorry."



July 2008: In response to a New York Times story that suggested the FOX network’s ratings might be slipping, the co-hosts of “Fox & Friends” broadcasted photos of Times reporter Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe. The photos were doctored to make the journalist appear less attractive. A FOX spokeswoman said the executive in charge of “Fox and Friends” is on vacation and not available for comment but added that altering photos for humorous effect is a common practice on cable news stations.



July 2008: This image of an Iranian missile test appeared on the front page of many major newspapers. The image is from the web site of Sepah News, the media arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. After the publication of this photo, it was revealed that the second missile from the right was digitally added to the image in order to conceal a missile on the ground that did not fire.



July 2008: This photo of Britian's Prince William appeared on the pages of The Sun. A person in the back of the boat was digitally removed from this photo (except for their knee). The Metro ran the unaltered photo, as did the on-line version of The Sun.



August 2008: Chris Myers, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, is criticizing his opponent, John Adler, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for a doctored photo that appeared on a campaign mailer produced by the DCCC. The mailer includes a photo that appears to show Myers walking with President George W. Bush. Myers said he has never met the President.



September 2008: This photo of Governor Sarah Palin was widely distributed across the Internet shortly after Palin was announced as the vice presidential nominee for the Republican ticket. Shortly after its release the photo was revealed to be a composite of Palin's head, and somebody else's body.



September 2008: After publishing photos of two deceased United States soldiers, the Associated Press retracted the photos after learning that one of the photos was digitally altered. Shown here are the photos, where the photo on the left is a composite of this soldier's head and the body of the soldier on the right. The photos were released by the U.S. Army at Fort Stewart in Georgia.



November 2008: This cover of Time Magazine shows an electronic voting machine with an incongruous shadow that was digitally inserted into the photo (notice that the shadow from the two front legs emerge directly from underneath the legs, while the shadow for the wide back leg is floating between the front and back legs).



October 2008: This front-page photo of Justice Minister Rachida Dati appeared in the French newspaper Le Figaro in June of 2008. A large diamond ring on Dati's hand was digitally removed. This photo editing caused controversy regarding the alleged influence that the Sarkozy administration wields over the French press. The head of Le Figaro's photo department defended the editorial decision saying that the newspaper did not want to distract readers from the content of its interview with Dati.



February 2009: This photo of Heath Ledger and Christopher Nolan of "The Dark Knight" appeared in Vanity Fair as part of a series of photographs of acclaimed actors and directors. The photo of Ledger, who died in 2008, is from 2005 as he was promoting the film "Brokeback Mountain". Nolan (shown on the left) was digitally inserted into this photo.



March 2009: A ceremony on March 7th in Taiwan was held to honor Chinese soldiers who died in Papua, New Guinea during World War II. This photo shows a "spirit tablet" used as part of the ceremony. When the photo appeared on Sina, a Chinese website, the text which read "The army of Republic of China" was digitally removed. In Taiwan, the government uses the phrase The Republic of China, while the Chinese government uses the phrase The People's Republic of China.



April 2009: This photo shows Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center left), President Shimon Peres (center right), along with members of the Cabinet. The Israeli newspaper Yated Neeman digitally removed two female Cabinet members from the photo and replaced them with male members. The newspaper Yated Neeman is considered to be ultra-orthodox and not supportive of females in the cabinet.



June 2009: This cover of Toronto's summer edition of Fun Guide was digitally altered to be more inclusive, keeping with an editorial policy to reflect diversity. "He superimposed the African-Canadian person onto the family cluster in the original photo," said communications director John Gosgnach. The original image was of a family of indeterminate ethnic background. "When you're publishing something with the deadlines and you don't have the right photo, the objective is to communicate the service," Mr. Sack, director of strategic communications, said.



June 2009: This photo of a group of members of the Scottish National Party (SNP) appeard in a SNP newsletter. The two photos in the background of Scottish legends William Wallace and Robert the Bruce were digitally inserted, replacing royal portraits of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Local SNP councillor Cecil Meiklejohn blamed an "overly enthusiastic" local party member for removing the royal portraits.



July 2009: A picture essay in The New York Times Sunday Magazine entitled "Ruins of the Second Gilded Age", by Edgar Martins, showed large housing construction projects that were halted due to the housing market collapse. The introduction said that the photographer "creates his images with long exposures but without digital manipulation." After discovering the photo manipulations, the Times posted the following on their website. "After a reader discovered that the photos were digitally altered, Editors later confronted the photographer and determined that most of the images did not wholly reflect the reality they purported to show. Had the editors known that the photographs had been digitally manipulated, they would not have published the picture essay, which has been removed from NYTimes.com."



August 2009: This photo from the web site of Microsoft's Polish subsidiary was doctored to change the race of one of the people. The original photo appeared on Microsoft's U.S. web site. "We are looking into the details of this situation. We apologize and are in the process of pulling down the image", said a Microsoft representative. The doctored photo on the Polish was removed and replaced with the original photo.



September 2009: This magazine advertisement by Ralph Lauren depicts a heavily manipulated photo of model Filippa Hamilton. After numerous reports citing this latest example of extreme photo manipulation, a Ralph Lauren representative admitted to "poor imaging and retouching", and added, "we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman's body. We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the calibre of our artwork represents our brand appropriately."



December 2009: A magazine ad for an Olay beauty product featuring the model Twiggy has been banned in the United Kingdom by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). "Olay is my secret to brighter-looking eyes," read the ad, "... reduces the look of wrinkles and dark circles for brighter, younger-looking eyes," the ad continued. In its ruling, the ASA said that it considered that the post-production retouching of the original ad, specifically in the eye area, could give consumers a "misleading impression of the effect the product could achieve". An Olay spokesperson said the "minor retouching" had been inconsistent with its policies and it had already replaced the image with one with "no postproduction work in the eye area".



April 2010: Three astronauts living aboard the International Space Station sent to Mission Control this April Fool's Day prank photo of themselves floating in space without spacesuits. "You have a real problem", responded Mission Control. "Don't worry, we are wearing sunscreen", responded the astronauts.





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