Probable Manipulated NY Times Magazine Photos Pulled
A Photo Editor is covering a suspected case of photo manipulation in last Sunday’s NY Times Magazine. This was originally raised on Metafilter, but has been picked elsewhere. A Photo Editor compares the published image by Edgar Martins with one mirrored horizontally in Photoshop. Looks damning. And now the Times has pulled the feature from their site.
After going back to the paper copy of the magazine, I can find at least one other image that clearly has cloned portions and features the same symmetry as the example on A Photo Editor. There’s no question there is heavy post-production manipulation at play, Martins’ denials not withstanding. This is a poor reproduction, but if you’ve got a paper copy of the magazine, I’ve circled obvious areas of manipulation:
Both my wife and I found this to be the most striking image published in the print edition. And we both spent more than a cursory look without detecting manipulation, yet were able to identify cloned areas once our suspicions were up. I’d allow that the Times should have the leeway to have different stories. Had this been presented as something other than a purely documentary story, some manipulation would have been acceptable, maybe using the “photographic illustration” moniker other publications picked up following the “darkened OJ” brouhaha. It’s not the fact of manipulation that galls, but deception.
What I can’t understand is why such obvious remnants of cloning continually crop up in these cases. “Civilians” with only a suspicion of manipulation quickly identify sloppy clone effects, such as the duplicated leaves on the floor along an axis line. Why are such defects missed by the perpetrators who are fully aware of the deception and should be more highly attuned to identifying these “tells”?