AI: Lookout! There’s a Terrible Photoshop Job Coming Right At Us!

The picture below the fold is obviously fake. I made it the evening before Hurricane Irene came to visit New York with the intention of putting it up on Twitter the next morning, provided I had still had electricity. Which I did.

I say obviously fake because that was the intention. That’s part of the joke.

But this brought my thinking over to the more nefarious purposes to which image manipulation can be applied. One hilariously bad example is outlined in this article from Media Matters. Ah! The joys of subtle Clone Tool use!

What are some examples of questionable photo manipulation that you have seen? Was anything done to rectify the situation? What can we as critical thinkers do to combat this phenomenon when it is used to mislead? Does someone want to start a Snopes for images?

The ART Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Mad Art Lab community. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET.

It's comin' right for us!

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Brian George

Brian George

Brian George is an illustrator who lives and works in the Van Beardswick neighborhood of Brooklyn. His fierce love of cheesecake is often (but not always) thwarted by his intolerance for lactose. He will draw and paint for your amusement (‘amusement’ is archaic Etruscan slang for ‘money’). Visit his portfolio, follow his tweets @brianggeorge or on G+


  1. August 31, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    A particular egregious case recently was Apple, who digitally manipulated images of their competitors products (amongst other things) to make them look more like their own in an effort to get the competing products banned in Europe.

  2. August 31, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    The one that sprang immediately to mind was Iran’s missile launch in summer 2008

  3. September 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    @sisyphusrocks: Ah, I remember that one.

    @theblackcat: That sounds pretty juicy! Do you have a good link for that one?

  4. September 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Oh, by the way, Snopes is the Snopes for images.
    They have a Fauxtography section:

  5. September 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    @sisyphusrocks: Heh. I Shoulda known.

  6. September 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Take a look at these:

    Apple may have provided wrong evidence in European Samsung case

    Note that there isn’t just digital manipulation involved. Apple showed screenshots of the iPhone and iPad home screen (the main screen for the device), while for the Samsung devices they showed images of the app drawer (the application launcher) in order to make the interfaces for the devices seem more similar than they really are.

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