Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between what is real and what is fake. With pictures, in particular, Photoshop gives just about anyone the ability to manipulate and edit pictures and turn them into something they weren't in the beginning.
In China recently, a scandal emerged when two female government officials were victims of an extortion attempt. How? Well, someone photoshopped them both into sex scenes and then demanded money to keep quiet. The women went public and, China being China, huge billboards appeared warning people NOT to use Photoshop for blackmail attempts. We're betting that spawned a flurry of Photoshop activity. More sinister than blackmail, it appears that some people are taking pictures that women post on Facebook and photoshopping them into . . . well, we can only guess.
But, there is a fun side to this "is it real or is it Photoshop?" thing. Here are 12 pictures. No cheating. Look at the picture first and decide whether it is real or Photoshop and then read the explanation. Sometimes we can tell you definitely yes it is, or no it isn't real. And sometimes, we wonder.
12 Tennis In The Clouds
The story was that Andre Agassi and Roger Federer had squared off on a rooftop tennis court in Dubai. Some said, no way. It looked too surreal to be real. Other pictures of a golfer blasting out of a sandtrap on the same so-called rooftop, caused even more people to doubt. The truth? It was all real and staged on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. Okay, it was a publicity stunt. But it really did happen. The 5-star hotel is reportedly one of the tallest hotels in the world. Makes us kind of giddy just watching. Forget chasing after balls. Imagine walking down the street below and being hit in the head by a tennis ball.
11 Obama Caught Smoking
10 The World's Smallest Body Builder
The story was that he was 2'9", weighed all of 20 pounds, and was the World's Smallest Bodybuilder. Can you believe it? Well, do. He was the real deal. Meet Aditya "Romeo" Dev. He even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Smallest Bodybuilder. The bodybuilder, entertainer and dancer (dancer?) created a mini-media storm with shots of him standing beside big and beefy bodybuilders and peeping through a pretty girls' legs. Unfortunately, the Indian wonder died in 2012, at the young age of 23 of an aneurysm.
9 World Trade Center Just Before The Crash
The story was that this shot was found in a camera in the rubble of the World Trade Center. The date is right (9/11/01). The angle looks about right. But wait a minute. Could you believe that the guy with the camera would just stand there and capture the moment or the guy in the shot (dubbed "tourist guy") could not hear the telltale roar of engines. Universal verdict is that it is a fake. Apparently, it was taken back in 1997 and the same guy appears in a number of manipulated shots of the World Trade Center. Still, it is a rather chilling image.
8 Mitt Romney Misspells His Own Name
During the 2012 Presidential campaign, poor old Mitt Romney was dogged by allegations of gaffs and mistakes. It became a kind of running joke. He would say and do things that would send his aides running for cover. What would his next awkward thing be? So when this shot turned up, some were ready to buy it. But one of the giveaways? No random choice of letters here. "Money" looms large in the picture. Get it? Okay, so it's not hysterically funny, but we certainly think it's a lot more entertaining that the cigarette dangling from Obama's mouth.
7 Sassy (a.k.a Munchkin) - Worlds Fattest Cat?
Okay. There are no end of fat cat pictures. There's Tub Cat and Snowball, the 80 pound white cat. Many of them are fabrications of Facebook and creative types. Snowball's creator says he was just kidding around and didn't mean to deceive anyone. Sure. So when Munchkin came along, no less than the Sydney City Morning Herald declared him a fraud. Or at least an invention. Not so says Canadian owner Susan Martin. She even sent in more pictures of Munchkin to neatorama.com. Their verdict? He's the real thing. Or was the real thing. He died. And us? Quite frankly, we're not sure on this one.
6 The World's Largest Mirror
The story? These salt flats are so bright and reflective that they are used to calibrate satellites. Sound far fetched? The picture looks strangely otherworldly and somehow artificial. Well, it's true. This is the Salar De Uyuni Salt Flats, located in Bolivia, a natural phenomenon that was formed when prehistoric lakes joined. It is the largest salt flat in the world at some 4,100 square miles. And it is indeed used as a reflective aid that helps to calibrate satellites and keep them on track. Apparently, flamingos breed there. Well, why not?
5 Brad and Angelina On Vacation
They did Mr. & Mrs. Smith together in 2004 and fell in love. There was a problem: He was married to everyone's girl next door, Jennifer Aniston. When the story hit the tabloids, the media fell all over themselves to get a scoop, dish the dirty, and tell the nasty little secrets. If it is possible to imagine, they got even more coverage back then, than they do now. Never dissuaded by a story that doesn't exist, that paragon of journalist integrity, The Star, ran a sensational cover story on how the love birds had been "caught" on vacation together. Of course, it wasn't true. The picture was made from other photographs.
4 Kim Kardashian Breaks The Internet (Or Not)
As far as female celebrities are concerned, there is no end to the, "was it Photoshopped or not?" stories. Was Demi Moore's cover Photoshopped to make her look smaller? And on and on. This is something kind of different. The question is not, is this Kim K? Of course, it is. The question is, was her backside enhanced or Photoshopped in any way? Some say, without a doubt. The editor of Pager Magazine is diplomatic. The likes of TMZ scream "fake". New York Magazine led with Kim Kardashian's backside getting its own cover and said the picture was extreme Photoshopping, even for a Kardashian. We tend to agree.
3 8,000 Fans Watch Basketball Game On An Aircraft Carrier
This looks like two shots juxtaposed. On the left, a basketball court and on the right, the gleaming towers of an aircraft carrier. True or false? Impressively, true. In 2011, the USS Carl Vinson was the site of the Carrier Classic college basketball game. That year, it was between Michigan State and North Carolina. Obama attended. No cigarettes sighted. There was a second game in 2012, but there are no plans to carry on with the series. In case you are curious, North Carolina won 67 to 55. The only question we have is why they did it in the first place.
2 Airplane Stunt Extraordinaire Or Not?
One plane is flying right-side up. The other flipped on its back. Add the small detail that they are in sync and flying so closely together, that it is hard to see where one ends and the other begins. Fake? Apparently not. The picture reportedly captures the Blue Angels, the Navy's crack aerobatic tricks team in training. Our only question is this: How do you practice for a stunt like this where there is zero tolerance for error? Carefully. Very carefully. Based at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, the Blue Angels have been performing impossible feats in the air, since 1946.
1 Justin Bieber
Okay, we gave this away with the picture. Well, maybe we did and maybe we didn't. The so-called untouched picture on the left is, according to Justin's camp, a fake. Mr. Buff Bieber is the real thing they say. And they threatened to sue over the so called untouched photo, saying it damaged Bieber's brand. Saturday Night Live lampooned the ad in a skit. And most people believe the beefier version was the product of Photoshopping. Weighing in on Justin's side is his personal trainer, who says JB is "well endowed". Okay, fine. But what about the muscles?