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In an Iranian Image, a Missile Too Many

July 15, 2008

In an Iranian Image, a Missile Too Many

The New York Times, July 10, 2008

(Photo credit: New York Times)

Before reading too far into this blog, take a close look at this article’s featured picture. Does anything look strange to you? According to the article, Agence France-Presse published a photo, which they claim to have obtained from the Web site of Sepah News (the media arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) that was digitally altered. Take a close look and notice the distinct similarities between the two; you’ll notice that some of the dust and gas clouds are quite similar. In fact, it turns out that some of them are exactly the same. That’s because the image was altered to include four missiles, instead of the original three.

The Agence France-Presse has since retracted the photo saying, “that the image was ‘apparently digitally altered’ by Iranian state media. The fourth missile ‘has apparently been added in digital retouch to cover a grounded missile that may have failed during the test,’ the agency said. Later, it published an article quoting several experts backing that argument.”

This situation serves as a great reminder that anything can be digitally altered. It’s not just emails, financial records or media information anymore. This story proves that images can be changed just as easily as anything else, even getting themselves printed in elite publications such as The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times and The Chicago Tribune. The next time you find yourself intrigued or stunned by an image, be sure to take a closer look at it. You never know who could be fooling you.

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