As the “photo mentor” for the Unleashed team, I’m in charge of getting all the photos ready for publication. That includes gathering staff-generated photos (and getting caption information for them!) as well as some handout photos that they get for their stories. We much, much prefer photos from team members, but sometimes that isn’t possible. Recently, a team member sent me a mix of his photos and some handouts. We’ll be using his, of course. Like I said, we like to use staff generated photos unless it’s not possible. But there’s another, even bigger reason we won’t be using this one particular handout photo: it’s a fake. It might not be evident at first glance except that things just don’t look right. Once you take a closer look, it becomes pretty clear.
Inside the circle, look at the guy at the top: the sun is coming from behind his head. The guy at the bottom has a strong shadow cast on his shoulder, whereas others in the photo have no shadows. There’s more.
I don’t blame the team member for this. The photo was given to him that way, I’m sure, and he probably didn’t look closely enough at it before sending it in. But I looked at it, and I discovered the forgeries.
Once more we’re reminded that there are fake photos out there. Some of them misrepresent reality in far more damaging ways than this one, but this one is no different. We don’t create fake photos and we don’t run fake photos.