These days, it’s pretty easy to take any regular old photo and digitally alter it to create a capti-vating image. Powerful software tools such as Photoshop make it possible to create any photo-graph that your heart desires. Many of these altered images have gone viral, fooling thousands of people who believed they were actually the real deal.
War photos seem to be the most popular images to hit the Internet. Many photographers are under pressure to capture sensationalized photos that will tug on our heart strings and induce patriotism. A “Los Angeles Times” photographer named Brian Walski found out the hard way that altering a war image can cost him his entire career.
Brian was on the frontline in Iraq, and he took multiple photos during the war. He submitted his now iconic image to the publication, showing British soldiers instructing Iraqi civilians to take cover. The image ran on the front page of the “Los Angeles Times,” and various media outlets shared the image, as well. One publication thought the picture looked a little fishy, and they were absolutely right. Brian later admitted he manipulated the photo by combining elements from two different images to make it more sensational. He was immediately fired from his job.
People have been altering images way before the Internet came into play, and one of the earli-est cases of photo manipulation occurred back in 1982. The “National Geographic” ran an im-age of the Giza pyramids that had been altered so severely, the publication was bashed for pur-posefully deceiving its readers. The pyramids had been moved closer together to make the im-age more visually appealing, and the photographer reportedly paid the men on camels to ride back and forth to capture the perfect shot. Once news of the alteration was revealed, the maga-zine finally owned up to their mistake.
Natural disasters and tragic events seem to bring digitally altered images out in droves. In Octo-ber 2012, Hurricane Sandy battered the Caribbean and the Northeastern United States. Eye-catching images from the storm made their way onto news websites and media outlets, but one photo in particular was discovered to be completely fake. The image of the storm moving toward the Statue of Liberty caused panic among New Yorkers, but it was later revealed that it was ac-tually an altered photo containing elements from two different images.
Which of these fake photos had you fooled the most?