I’ve been posting hundreds of photographs online every month for nearly four years now, and this is the first image I’ve posted that has verifiably been manipulated. Photo manipulation of this kind is unacceptable under my, and The Atlantic's, guidelines and principles. I try my best to publish only what I believe to be honest representations of people and events. But in some cases, as here, the alteration can go unnoticed for years — until enough eyes come into play (the fantastic magnifying effect of the Internet) and unseen details start to emerge.
Many thanks to Donna Meiss, Ken Oye, Ernie Smith, and everyone else who caught this issue and brought it to our attention. The photo will remain in place in the original photo story here, with a prominent link back to this article, explaining the whole story.
Taylor talked to AP, who said it was an unacceptable attempt to clear up some lens flare on the photo. Check over here to see our role in this saga. And thanks to Squashed, who pointed out the manipulation in the first place.
10:38 // 2 years ago
woodbro-chillson says: A bit confused about the photomanip: The picture from The Atlantic, which has been proven manipulated, looks exactly the same as the one you alter posted originally from 1991 AP. Those same parts that were proven edited exist in the 1991 AP's picture too, could it be this image was always manipulated and doesn't exist unedited?
» SFB says: That’s exactly what I’m saying. I.E. this photo has been manipulated for over 20 years, and we’ve basically been able to prove that it’s been manipulated since before Photoshop was in wide use and has existed in the AP archives for a couple of decades. Which is kind of an amazing thing to discover. — Ernie @ SFB
13:36 // 2 years ago
This is from March 10, 1991, when a manipulation of this nature would’ve required a lot more work. The clone brush didn’t really exist back then. Could you imagine the level of meticulousness that it would require to edit a photo like this on a really early photo-editing program? Or even by hand? I bugged Alan Taylor about this and he said he’d take a deeper look at the photo, which surfaced as a result of his post from about a month ago.
13:17 // 2 years ago
Oh, and also, the 1991 Russia photo is Photoshopped
Our reader squashed threw this in a reply to that fake Russia crowd post, confirming that the picture is in fact Photoshopped:
Looked at the big version of the photo myself and confirmed this using pixel matching. Will send a note to Alan Taylor of the Atlantic about this photo. EDIT: Here’s the original photo on AP.
0:02 // 2 years ago