Tuesday, May 14, 2013
2013 World Press Photo of the Year Exposed As A Pallywood Fraud
The World Press Photo of the Year is the largest and most prestigious press photography award out there. This year, it was won by Paul Hansen, a Swedish staff photographer for the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter with the above entry, entitled 'Gaza Burial', supposedly taken November 20, 2012 by Hansen when he was in Gaza City when Israeli forces retaliated in response to Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli civilians.
Except the 'photo' itself is a product of major photoshop fraud, exposed by Neal Krawetz, a seasoned computer scientist and forensic image expert.
What Hansen did was to take a series of existing photos taken indifferent regions, times and places and splice in various parts of them to create the single shot shown above...and then 'enhance' them to clean up the obvious splicing and dicing:
There were two main stages to the analysis: First an interrogation of the JPEG’s XMP block, which details the file’s Photoshop save history, and then pixel-level error level analysis (ELA). To begin with, the XMP data shows that the original, base image was converted from Raw format and opened in Photoshop on November 20, 2012 (the same date that it was taken). Then, on January 4, 2013, the XMP block shows that a second Raw image was opened and added to the original. An hour later, a third image was spliced in. Finally, 30 minutes later the photo chimera was actually saved to disk. The January 4 date is interesting because it shows that the final photo was only edited a couple of weeks before the January 17 submission deadline, not soon after original photo was taken in Gaza — in other words, it was edited specifically for the contest.
The next step is error level analysis. ELA basically compares the error level of pixels that have been modified by the JPEG compression algorithm (low amounts of change), and pixels that have been modified with photo manipulation (higher change). In the image above, which has been subjected to ELA, we see clear markers that are consistent with the photo’s spliced-and-manipulated history. Regions that have only been subjected to normal JPEG compression should have faint red/blue patches, while white patches show areas that have been subject to other forces. The bright white edges are caused by Photoshop’s sharpening algorithm — but the other bright white regions are likely due to extensive manipulation. Take a look at the man on the far left, carrying the child’s feet — his magically, digitally illuminated face is clearly shown on the ELA map. In fact, almost every face in the picture has been brightened, as have the children’s shrouds.
The final nail in the coffin is good ol’ shadow analysis. At the time the photo was taken — 10:40am, in the winter — the sun should be fairly low in the sky. The shadows on the left wall are consistent with a sun location (shown below) that should cast deep, dark shadows on the mourners’ right sides — but, as you can see, those magical light rays seem to be at work again.
For some reason best known to themselves, the World Press Photo judges didn't subject Hanson's photo to any kind of forensic analysis. I have a feeling Israel Derangement Syndrome played a part here.
Not only that, but since this hit the fan, Hansen was supposed to provide the Raw file for his winning photo, as proof that he didn’t significantly modify it, but so far, he hasn’t.
Hansen hasn't been stripped of his award yet, and I have a feeling the World Press Photo people will do their very best to avoid doing so, out of embarrassment if nothing else.
None of this, by the way, means children weren't killed in Gaza. That tends to happen when the heroic Palestinian fighters use them for human shields to hide behind when they do their very best to deliberately target and kill Israeli children and civilians.
But 'Gaza Burial' is out and out Pallywood fakery, and certainly by no means the first one used to make propaganda to demonize Israel.They've been caught at it repeatedly.
By the way, Hansen's e-mail should you wish to express yourself to him directly is firstname.lastname@example.org
(H/T Hube at The Colossus of Rhodey)
UPDATE: The World Press Photo judges have predictably circled the wagons around Hansen to avoid embarrassment. They quickly released their own assessment with their own experts headed by an American scientist of Arab extraction who could, perhaps, be said to have an interest in the proceedings.
The verdict, of course is that while they admit that Hansen substantially edited the photos for what they call 'tone and color', the photo is 'mostly correct'. In other words, they're fake but accurate, in the immortal words of Dan Rather!
They further claim that Hansen submitted the raw file to them, something he's been unwilling to do to any independent experts.
Ah, well.Not unexpected.