go go gadget clone tool!

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:


"The photographer has denied deliberately attempting to manipulate the image, saying that he was trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under," said Moira Whittle, the head of public relations for Reuters.
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41 Responses:

  1. elena says:

    Why the hell would anyone need to edit that picture?

    • greyhame says:

      That's kind of what I'm wondering, too. All the black smoke billowing from downtown wasn't dramatic enough, they needed that extra little bit to really bring home the devastation? The edit job is so totally shitty that I can't believe anyone would have thought it would pass. So, there's a nice entry point for convoluted conspiracy theories, in case anyone feels like having a go.

      • ladykalessia says:

        Someone bump the contrast or darken the smoke and see if there's something interesting revealed in the two smoke blotches they covered over?

      • solarbird says:

        They took it from one main damage and fire site to three. I don't believe this was accidental for a second. Note the complete duplications of buildings - the photographer is lying through his teeth.

      • theukrainian says:

        no conspiracy. only idiocy.
        "The photographer has denied deliberately attempting to manipulate the image, saying that he was trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under," said Moira Whittle, the head of public relations for Reuters."

        • solarbird says:

          Sorry, but that's what we in the business call a "lie." There's no way in hell that's "trying to remove dust." Note the tripling of one particular building.

          • theukrainian says:

            argh. sorry, was not clear. but, that was my point as well. that it is no conspiracy - just that the guy is a moron.

        • ciphergoth says:

          Here's the really big problem with that theory:

          We have the original now. Where's the freaking dust?

          • effbot says:

            "We have the original now."

            A professional photographer using a 380x245 pixel camera? That's odd.

        • fantasygoat says:

          Bad lighting? In Photoshop?

          • pir_anha says:

            bad lighting such as the sun shining on one's laptop display and washing it out.

            initially that seemed semi-plausible to me for why he might not have seen that his clone target was off and grabbed smoke instead of sky (for the alleged dust removal). i've certainly had bad clone target experiences, and bad lighting ones, and combined, thrown in with bombardments distracting me, and deadlines pushing me, and lack of sleep they could conceivably have resulted in something pretty dreadful. which i would then hope my editor catches. only, woops, no editor in beirut -- direct transmission to the global news desk cut out that checkpoint.

            heck, the bad lighting excuse might still be true despite the falsification that i think is evident (see comment below) -- that might even be the only true thing he said; the lighting was so bad that he didn't see what a sucky job of fakery he was doing.

            a more likely story than that he's undercover mossad, i'd say. man, i hate that bushco have turned me into somebody who gives conspiracy theories any time of day at all.

      • edouardp says:

        "So, there's a nice entry point for convoluted conspiracy theories, in case anyone feels like having a go."

        No problem - only to happy to help.

    • scullin says:

      Usually they need to do this when either Satan, Jesus or some other publicity hungry icon appears in the smoke, like those drunk guys who pop up in your group shots at the bar.

  2. 33mhz says:

    How do I used clone tool?

  3. liveavatar says:

    Why didn't they just lasso the smoke and mess with the slider bars in Levels?


    • solarbird says:

      Because that wouldn't also duplicate the buildings. Check the ground level too.

      • liveavatar says:

        Yeah, wasn't looking there. Christ, is that lame.

        It's so lame that I'm leaning toward <lj user="edouardp">'s version of things. Especially in combination with that bald-faced fib from Reuters PR.

      • sir_bissel says:

        Which ones are duplicated? I've only found one -- the one just above the building next to the smoking building...

  4. elegantelbow says:

    That image edit looks like shit. I'm glad they admitted to it. It's got far too much duplication in it.

  5. jef_poskanzer says:

    The Qana sequence was much more disturbing.

  6. phreddiva says:

    I know I have no skill when it comes to Photoshop. I have the decency to let the experts handle it.

    My employer is used as a tool of ill, again!

  7. edouardp says:

    Two things strike me immediately - one, that's one of the shittiest photoshop jobs I've ever seen.

    And two, if I were a government getting bad press for my invasion and bombing campaign, I'd happily plant some (obviously) doctored photo's, in order to cast doubt on the reporting being done in general.

    I know that's some extreme left-wing (or is that right-wing - who are the ones against Israel again?) paranoid thinking, but then again, it is precisely one of the tasks that governmental intelligence organisations perform.

    It's more likely to just be a hack photo-journalist wanting to sell his photo by, as the phrase goes, "sexing it up". That seems to happen surprisingly often. Didn't these people get the memo?

      • edouardp says:

        " "The photographer has denied deliberately attempting to manipulate the image, saying that he was trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under," said Moira Whittle, the head of public relations for Reuters. "

        Except that's obviously not true - it's an excuse that you might, possible, believe if you know nothing about Photoshop, but anyone that does know even a little bit (say, everyone here) can see it's a deliberate and clumsy attempt to doctor the image.

        • theukrainian says:

          yeah, so i was trying to make just that point - so the guy himself (as opposed to, say, Mossad) has doctored the image. not that i did not think so originally. but, i guess, i probably posted the link just cause i love the exscuse.

          • edouardp says:

            There's no way we, from the comfort of this webpage, can determine the motivation of the person or persons involved based on any of those statements.

            The cluminess of the edit tends to indicate a surprising level of stupidity, or, just as easily, a rather more sophisticated attempt at discrediting the reporting going on.

            Either explanation is still entirely plausable, only, as I said in the original post, I'd put chances on a stupidity, and then mainly because I've seen this same story played out a number of times now. My favourite: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/essays/vanRiper/030409.htm

            • jef_poskanzer says:

              The point is that if you want to believe it's a Mosaad plot, then the Lebanese photographer has to be in on it.

    • sherbooke says:

      It's become part of the propaganda war at least, according to this right wing nut-job. I think both sides are at it - the Israelis are past masters at this kind of thing.

      The ultimate aim, of course, is to unquestioningly report Israeli propaganda, and to question every thing that's even remotely favourable to Hezbollah. As another rabid right-wing idiot put it, "deny the terrorist the oxygen of publicity."

      BTW, is the New York Times always this biased?

      FWIW, I'm in favour of Hezbollah.

      • edouardp says:

        Well if I'm going to be serious about what's going on, I thought that Tim Bray said it both directly and emotionally in "Bad Craziness". He grew up in Lebanon, and it's killing him watching what's going on in his childhood home.

        But If I'm going to play the role of Guy From Nowhere Near The Situation Commenting In A Blog To Get A Laugh At The Suffering Of People He'll Never Meet, then "Hur hur - we should just let them all blow the crap out of each other, that'll sort them out - hur hur".

        Doesn't really do it for me, but YMMV.

        • sherbooke says:

          Yeah, your comments make a lot of sense.

          Thanks for the link to the Tim Bray log. Says it more eloquently than I ever could.

          This time around - I've followed the Lebanon wars since 82 and I wasn't that particularly committed then - I feel more committed, more urgent. So when I saw the light-hearted comments about photoshop in relation to a picture which was deadly serious in it's intent, relating to an episode where it appears that at the least, ethnic cleansing is taking place, it kinda burned me. The photographer is Lebanese, it's his country the Israelis are trying to flatten. In this context, I'm not surprised that he became a little enthuasiastic in trying to make the world pay attention to his country's plight. I suspect I would have done the same in his situation. As someone else said in this thread, letting the original picture stand would have been the best course of action. However, I suspect that kind of cool, collected objectivity is pretty rare in the Lebanon right now.

  8. misterdna says:

    The Clone Tool is so Photoshop 5.

    It's all Healing Brush these days...
    maybe that guy needs a refresher course!

  9. maramala says:

    I can do a better photoshop than this, yet the guy responsible still has a job while I'm still unemployed. There is no justice.

  10. squizzlzilla says:

    should've just used the airbrush tool and a tiny amount of skill. clone tool is a bitch to use without looking cloned. how the perpetrator thinks the regular patterns in the smoke don't look fake is beyond me.

    • xinit says:

      Clone tool's all about the low opacity and sampling small areas from different areas. It's a definite skill that seems to elude many, though.

  11. jkonrath says:

    Jesus christ, that looks worse than the fake CGI storm in Twister. They should have added a flying cow while they were in there.

  12. editer says:

    My hypothesis is that the guy was showing his girlfriend some silly PS stuff, and accidentally sent his demo pic to the wire. Makes about as much sense as anything else.

  13. pir_anha says:

    wow, mr hajj is one incompetent photo editor.

    regarding the smoke picture i was at first willing to go with "ok, maybe really bright sunlight on laptop display while he was trying to clone out dust with a much too large brush and missed that he started with a bad clone target point" for a while, but then i had a closer look, and when trying to do a difference matte, things didn't make sense -- short story short: as it so happens, the extent of doctoring is much greater than just the smoke and that light-coloured building; it looks like the entire foreground has been copied, pasted in again a bit lower, and the more distant cityscape blended. why? ghod knows, maybe more cityscape made for more drama in his mind? a bit better handling of the tonal curve editing would have made better drama too, sheesh.

    and he makes this a habit, the fucker: http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/184206.php -- another one of his images that is pretty clearly doctored. (note: yeah, we're dealing with low-res jpg copies here, and that introduces some doubt. but, you know, two images like this one after the other? removes most of my doubt.)

    the gross level of incompetency of the smoke hack pushes me slightly towards conspiracy theory territory. i mean, if total non-experts can see your fakery, and if the average participant on fark can do much better, how likely is it that you actually thought you could get away with this?

    if mr hajj did do this to implicate israel a little extra (not really necessary; it's doing it so well itself), i hope he's finished in the photojournalist community. take away his camera. he's just made life harder for every ethical person in the business. and to add injury to insult, today's story is all about people who forge photographs, not about lebanon where by rights it should be. kthxbye, mr hajj.