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Photoshop & Politics

While it has been said the camera doesn’t lie — and there are many who would take issue with that axiom — it’s becoming common knowledge that photographers and those who handle their pictures often do, particularly in commercial and political arenas.

A recent example of manipulation is one from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Photoshop cronies trying to convince everyone he had more supporters in a rally then were actually there.

That’s not stop-the-presses news, however, because last year he was outed doing the same thing with missiles.

Before we take to the streets decrying wholesale deception, consider that Ahmadinejad may have taken his lead from National Geographic’s infamous cover wherein a pyramid was nudged a few hundred yards to make a vertical picture from a horizontal one.

“National Geographic magazine, long known for its reputation of photojournalism excellence, used the Scitex computer digitizer on two…occasions. On a cover story of Egypt, pyramids were squeezed together to fit the cover’s vertical format. A picture story on Poland contained a cover photograph that combined an expression on a man’s face in one frame with a complete view of his hat in another picture. Both cover images were altered without a hint of possible detection and without a note to readers that such manipulation was performed….” (”Faking images in photojournalism,” Photojournalism: An Ethical Approach, Paul Martin Lester, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers, 1991.)

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