Another Adnan Hajj photoshop?

posted at 10:06 am on August 28, 2006 by Allahpundit

As hard as it may be to believe, it sure looks that way. Go read Randy. The only thing he gets wrong, I think, is which photo he thinks is ‘shopped. The one with the bright colors is bogus; I’m going to try to recreate it myself.

Standby for updates.

Updates: Right off the bat, it should be emphasized that there’s no way to prove who did it. It could be that the photo department at the Brazilian paper, not Hajj himself, boosted the saturation; in fact, that’s likely what happened, since an undoctored version of the photo was on the wires and got picked up by the Times.

An amazing coincidence, though, if it’s true. The guy who got fired for photoshopping something at Reuters had another, genuine photo of his photoshopped/retouched by a newspaper’s photo department?

Update: I have Photoshop Elements, which is like Photoshop for poor people, so here’s the best I can do with the few bells and whistles it gives me.



Brazilian paper:


Mine, after fiddling with the saturation and midtone contrast:


The smoke isn’t as dark. I could have made it darker, but to do that in Elements would makes the shadows in the buildings at the bottom of the photo darker too. To see how you’d get the effect they got, watch the Dissident Frogman’s very brief tutorial on how Hajj manipulated the original Reutersgate image. Playing around with those tone curves — which aren’t available in Elements, alas — would probably do the trick.

This one isn’t nearly as much of a big deal as the one Hajj got busted for, but it does show that someone’s messing around with war photos, presumably to make them more dramatic.

Breaking on Hot Air



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Sorry, but this one is much ado about nothing. NO real deception here at all, at least in my opinion.

BrunoMitchell on August 28, 2006 at 10:08 AM

Point taken Allah. As I say in my post, I’m not sure which was shopped… I only leaned in the direction of the Times one because it is darker which is the Hajj style, but I do also point out how cartoonish the colorful Brazilian paper version looks too. I agree that without Hajj’s history, I would point the finger at them… but (even ignoring Hajj’s now known history) this Brazilian paper would have to be pretty stupid to add those colors in. Just weird, but I agree it does look more like that is what happened.

As for BrunoMitchell, yes there isn’t real deception here, at least in the message, but I raise the issue only to point out the ‘honesty in media’ issue raised. If they are willing to photoshop such pointless crap (even the original hajj ps wasn’t much worse than the real thing) why should we trust anything they put out?

RightWinged on August 28, 2006 at 10:17 AM

Exact same image, just dulled down for gloomy effect. Look at the telephone lines in forefront of image…exact.

shooter on August 28, 2006 at 10:26 AM

Saturation +40, Brightness +20, but the smoke doesn’t fit. I think both pictures are ‘shopped.

Still, it’s far from a fraud. Color/contrast correction is standard procedure at the photodesk as long as the emphasis/composition of the photograph isn’t changed. I don’t see the latter applying here.

Niko on August 28, 2006 at 10:35 AM

I’m crashin’, but anyone have any thoughts on the other images by “Stringer”?

RightWinged on August 28, 2006 at 10:47 AM

Tweaking color/contrast/brightness and such is generally considered an acceptable manipulation, isn’t it?

Pablo on August 28, 2006 at 10:51 AM

Tweaking color/contrast/brightness and such is generally considered an acceptable manipulation, isn’t it?

I think that depends on the Media outlet, but there is a line you can’t cross there too. There is a big difference between manipulating the lighting on a whole picture, and manipulating small areas of a photo. This one seems to have darkened smoke, but lightened buildings. I doubt that wold be acceptable in any major media outlet. (In theory at least)

High Desert Wanderer on August 28, 2006 at 10:57 AM

Darkened the smoke but lightened the buildings is contrast adjustment. I think the picture with the cranked up hue is an editorial mistake, but not an ethical one. The icons for Photoshop’s dodge and burn tools are designed to look like the tools we used to use for the same functions in the darkroom. Because manipulating images for brightness/contrast/color/cropping and scratch and dust removal has always been an acceptable practice for news photos.

S. Weasel on August 28, 2006 at 11:50 AM

This, and it galls me to say it, doesn’t bother me. In fact, I think I prefer the “cranked” version. It reminds me of some of the WWII color photos. I got an opinion and an asshole to boot. Don’t we all?

james hooker on August 28, 2006 at 11:59 AM

Well, I suppose I could argue that the changes were necessary for publication in a newspaper — where the production processes do tend to make low-contrast images very muddy. If I were the managing editor in that case, I would insert a ‘contrast and color enhanced’ note in the caption. That may have been done; I can’t tell from the reports…

Lamonte Thomas on August 28, 2006 at 12:30 PM

I looked thoroughly, on Aug 6, at the picture you now have posted….

I believe the shots were done in immediate sequence. A slight turn of a tripod. You’d never get the alignment otherwise.

I think the Brazilian color might be batch processing of pix for the web.

Sticky Notes on August 28, 2006 at 2:23 PM

Whoops – some of that comment referenced the other ‘shopped’ picture.

Sticky Notes on August 28, 2006 at 2:24 PM

Yeah, I ‘ditto’ the boosted saturation on the center one done for making the version on newsprint halfway decent.

The one color photo of mine that the local newsrag printed was so muddy and blah looking on news print compared to on the computer monitor and on photo paper that I wished I’d boosted saturation by a hundred percent and brightness / contrast by fifty percent.

LegendHasIt on August 28, 2006 at 6:25 PM

The original looks washed out. If I took the photo I’d mess with the curves. I don’t think I have a problem with such edits, as long as they are applied uniformly. Obviously if someone is masking part of the image and applying an effect only to that portion, that’s a different matter (see: Condi’s devil eyes).

Mark Jaquith on August 28, 2006 at 11:44 PM

(see: Condi’s devil eyes).

Only when she wears those stiletto boots!


Kini on August 29, 2006 at 5:42 AM