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According to legend, the ghost of Babinda Boulders in Australia lures young men to their death. (I think Babinda Boulders is also called Devil's Pool.) A recent visitor to the site took a photo in which a "ghost face" appeared. Or so she claims. I can't see anything. Can you? Link: Cairns.com
Categories: Paranormal, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 13, 2009
Comments (9)
Photo-fakery expert Hany Farid has confirmed, after a two-month analysis, that the famous photo of Lee Harvey Oswald posing in his backyard with a rifle was not a fake. From unionleader.com:

Farid said over the years, he's received dozens and dozens of requests to analyze the photo. What helped him decide to take on the project was a recent study he worked on looking at how the human brain processes images.
He used a computer program Facegen, to build a virtual 3D model of Oswald's head. Once that was completed, he added in the background features of the photo. Through a series of computations, he figured out where the camera had to be, the trajectory of the sun and where Oswald was in relation to the camera...
Farid said given the technology available 46 years ago, there is no way someone would have been able to get the internal and external elements of the photo just right in order to fabricate not only the one photo, but two others in the series.

I have a blurb about the "backyard photo" in the hoax photo archive. As far as I know, there was no longer any real controversy about the authenticity of the photo, except among a handful of conspiracy theorists. But what helped start the controversy, back in 1964, was that when magazines published the image, they retouched it in various ways. As a result, there were a number of versions of the image in circulation, with differing details, and this created suspicions.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 06, 2009
Comments (3)

The title of this image, which has been circulating widely online since at least 2009, is a joke. The building shown is not really the corporate headquarters of Viagra.

Of course, Viagra isn't a company. It's a drug manufactured by Pfizer, Inc. But the joke wouldn't work if the photo was titled "Pfizer's Corporate Headquarters."

However, this isn't even Pfizer's headquarters. The building is actually the corporate offices of Swagelok Northwest, located in Portland, Oregon at 815 SE Sherman St. The company manufactures valves and fittings for gas and fluid systems.

The topiary outside the building is real, as can be seen on Google Maps. Therefore, this is a case of "real picture, fake caption."

Categories: Photos/Videos, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 05, 2009
Comments (7)
I find it interesting that the history of photo fakery in communist countries is all about removing unwanted political figures from photos, whereas the history of photo fakery in capitalist countries is largely about removing unwanted cleavage, nipples, wrinkles, etc.

From The Sun:

TELLY hottie Kelly Brook's ample cleavage has been deemed too bun-tiful for transport chiefs. London Underground's new poster campaign for the 29-year-old's stint in West End play Calendar Girls has been doctored to feature bigger buns - to cover up the stunner's 32E assets. In the original racy shots, Kelly's famous chest peeked out of the iced buns she held. But Tube bosses feared the shots would get commuters hot under the collar and edited them three times before agreeing on the tamer version.


Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 03, 2009
Comments (4)
A group of French politicians has proposed a law that would require a warning to be placed on digitally enhanced fashion images. From The Telegraph:

A group of 50 politicians want a new law stating published images must have bold printed notice stating they have been digitally enhanced.
Campaigning MP Valerie Boyer, of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, said the wording should read:"Retouched photograph aimed at changing a person's physical appearance".
Mrs Boyer, who has also written a government report on anorexia and obesity, added: "We want to combat the stereotypical image that all women are young and slim.
"These photos can lead people to believe in a reality that does not actually exist, and have a detrimental effect on adolescents. "Many young people, particularly girls, do not know the difference between the virtual and reality, and can develop complexes from a very young age.


I don't really see the point, unless they were also going to require disclaimers for makeup and flattering lighting. And anyway, the root of the problem is not that images are altered, but that the media focuses obsessively and very superficially on beauty. Replacing airbrushed models with non-airbrushed models won't change that fact, because the models will probably still look better than your average person.
Categories: Fashion, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 23, 2009
Comments (20)
An internet fad that managed to escape my attention is the "lying down" craze, in which people post photos of themselves lying face down, hands against their sides, in unusual locations. This sounded like fun to a group of British doctors and nurses: "The staff were pictured face down on resuscitation trolleys, ward floors and the air ambulance heli-pad during a night shift at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Wilts." Their mistake was to then post the photos on Facebook. Seven of them have now been suspended pending disciplinary hearings. [sun.co.uk]
Categories: Photos/Videos, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 10, 2009
Comments (5)
Pictures showing a Shanghai Sperm Bank that allegedly "gives men a hand" with sperm donations did the rounds last year, and now they seem to be circulating again. The deal is supposedly that if you agree to get a health check and abstain from sex and masturbation, then you can donate your sperm 4-5 times a month. You get paid RMB200 per session. The sperm bank is located in Ren ji Hospital, No 145 Shan Dong Zhong Lu, Building 1, 7th FL, near Fu Zhou Lu, Shanghai, China. Click here and here for the pics, which are potentially NSFW.

The Shanghai Sperm Bank is real, but its nurses don't actually help with the sperm donation process. The Sperm Bank issued a press release last year insisting that "These pictures are completely misleading. We never have female nurses assisting in sperm collection, which is done by the donor himself, alone in a special room." (Thanks, Asmo!)
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 04, 2009
Comments (15)
Robert Capa's photo of a soldier falling backward from the impact of a shot to his head is one of the most famous images in the history of photography. But for decades people have argued that Capa staged the shot. In the hoax photo archive I have a brief summary of the controversy. I come down on the side of those who feel the photo wasn't staged.

Adding new fuel to the controversy, a Catalan newspaper now claims to have found evidence that Capa staged the shot. From The Independent:

The so-called "falling soldier" was not photographed near Cerro Muriano in Andalusia, as has been claimed, but about 50km to the south-west, near the town of Espejo far from the frontline on a day when there was no military action, a Catalan newspaper claims.
"Capa photographed his soldier at a location where there was no fighting," wrote the daily El Periodico on Friday. The paper carried out a detailed study of Capa's pictures taken in September 1936, three months after the conflict broke out.
"The real location, some 10km from an inactive battle front, demonstrates that the death was not real," the paper says. The claim is backed with photos taken very recently on a hillside near Espejo that show a mountainous skyline that appears to match exactly that of Capa's photo.

I haven't seen El Periodico's evidence, but I'm skeptical of their argument. After all, hasn't the soldier in the photo been identified?
Categories: Military, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 22, 2009
Comments (2)
11points.com has posted a list of 11 photos where black people were awkwardly photoshopped in or out. Most of them I've seen before. A few of them I even have on this site. But there was one I hadn't seen before. It's titled "Photoshopped diversity in a Lebanon refugee camp." 11points provides this description:

In the summer of 2006, this photo ran in the New York Times and is a very important lesson about photojournalism. If you're going to Photoshop a black guy into a Lebanese refugee camp for one of the world's most respected newspapers, at least take the time to really smooth out the edges around his head.



They provide a link to rightwinged.com, which offers a fuller analysis. Basically, the black man in the lower-right corner has a strange outline around his head, which (so rightwinged.com has concluded) is the result of a really bad cut-and-paste job.



I'm not so sure. That outline could also be caused by someone standing behind him. And if it was photoshopped, the photographer did a really good job of blending the guy's head into the photo in every other way (such as lighting and color-tone), making it odd that he would have made a mistake as obvious as forgetting to smooth out the edges around the man's head. Finally, what would have been the point of photoshopping this guy into the picture?

In any case, it's been almost three years since this photo ran in the NY Times, and they haven't yet pulled it from their site, so evidently they don't think it's photoshopped.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 13, 2009
Comments (27)
Unfortunately there never has been an Oscar Mayer Wiener Jet. This image is a fake.


One of the earliest online references to the image dates back to Jan 15, 2007, when it was posted to the forum of philskies.net. The poster (whose profile identified him as a 2D and 3D animator) wrote, "I probably shouldn't post this pic, but it's in good fun. This was doing the email rounds internally when they were coming up with a livery for it."

This suggests the image may have been a joke created by the graphic designers whom Boeing commissioned to create the livery for the 747-400 Largo Cargo Freighter. The plane's unusual shape evidently reminded the designers of a hot dog.

The actual livery of the plane, shown below, was unveiled in December 2006.


When Oscar Mayer (retired Chairman of the Oscar Mayer corporation) died in July 2009, the "Oscar Mayer Jet" image temporarily gained a new boost of popularity.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 09, 2009
Comments (12)
Holymoly.com suggests that one of the rehearsal photographs of Michael Jackson, said to have been taken the night before he died, is fake. They point out that "the backdrop mysteriously disappears in between Michael's legs." They describe this as a "classic photoshop blunder" and suggest "this could be a fake composite, with Jackson's image being super imposed on top of another pic."

It does look unusual, but I wouldn't be so quick to label it as photoshopped. That may just be how the backdrop looks in that area. (You would need to see an unobstructed view of the entire backdrop to be sure.) And what would be the point of photoshopping the picture? Is holymoly.com suggesting that Jackson didn't actually attend the rehearsal? That seems unlikely as there are other pictures of Jackson at the rehearsal, and (presumably) witnesses.

Categories: Celebrities, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 01, 2009
Comments (10)
A pair of French students attending Strasbourg university won first place in Paris Match's photoreporting competition, a prize that came with €5000. But upon receiving the prize, they revealed that all their photos had been staged. From the British Journal of Photography:

Guillaume Chauvin and Rémi Hubert won for a reportage chronicling the harsh difficulties some poor students encounter while studying at the Strasbourg university. Their images showed students living in basements or offering sex to pay their rents. Another image portrayed a young man falling asleep in a bus as he embarked on a two-hour commute to his university. The reportage can be seen on Paris Match's website here.

The trick? All of the images had been faked, the two winners announced as they received the coveted prize on 24 June. ‘We though it was a bit caricatural,’ says one of the students to Le Monde newspaper. ‘We thought it would never win.’

Paris Match has now changed the rules of the competition to explicitly forbid fake reporting. You can see the photos here.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 26, 2009
Comments (3)
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