Photo Errors


Photojournalism in 2012: A year of excellence, ethical challenges and errors

As 2012 nears its end, we look back at the major trends and memorable events that defined photography and photojournalism this year.

Photo-sharing battle heats up

Instagram exploded into the mainstream in 2012, capitalizing on three cultural trends: The widespread adoption of smartphone cameras, people’s desire to quickly make their amateur photos look good, and the need for an easy way to share photos with friends.

Others took notice. Facebook snatched up Instagram for $1 billion. Twitter built its own photo filters, and Yahoo relaunched the Flickr mobile app with filters as well. Read more


Newspaper apologizes for adding LOL to dead man’s photo caption

Twitter user Barry Taylor shared a very unfortunate photo caption error made by the Western Mail of Wales:

As reported by the U.K.’s Press Gazette, the tweet spread quickly. A spokesman for the paper’s parent company told the Gazette:

The caption error in today’s Western Mail is under internal investigation. We apologise for any offence this error may have caused.

Hat tip to McClatchy Watch.

Read more


Washington Post confuses one Michael Shamberg with another

Mark Jenkins’ preview of a July 14 double feature in Washington, D.C., was illustrated with a photo of filmmaker Michael Shamberg. Unfortunately, there are two filmmakers with that name, as a correction in Tuesday’s paper makes clear: Read more

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Photo of 2001 Alaska oil spill goes viral when magazine says it’s from recent Alberta spill

Around 2,100 people have liked the Facebook page of Common Ground, a free monthly magazine distributed primarily in Western Canada. Yet as of this writing over 19,000 people have shared an alarming photo posted to its page on Friday. About 3,500 people liked the post, making it a huge hit for the magazine.

The problem? Common Ground claims the below image is from a recent oil spill in Alberta. It’s actually from a 2001 spill in Alaska. Even though many commenters on the Common Ground post point this out, the image has still spread, and continues to do so.

The post in question:

This example comes not long after BBC News had to apologize for publishing a photo it said possibly showed the aftermath of a massacre in Syria. Read more


BBC mistakenly uses image of Iraq in Syrian massacre story

A 2003 photo taken in Iraq was mistakenly used by the BBC website to illustrate a report about the recent massacre in Houla, Syria.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the image of a child jumping over body bags was removed from the story after the BBC realized its error. The photographer who took the shot is incredulous that the BBC could have confused his photo with recent events.

“I went home at 3am and I opened the BBC page, which had a front page story about what happened in Syria, and I almost felt off from my chair,” Marco di Lauro told the Telegraph. “One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday’s massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist.”

The caption on the BBC image read, “This image – which cannot be independently verified – is believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial.” The credit line on the image said, “Photo From Activist.”

Di Lauro posted on Facebook Sunday about the use of his image, and included this screenshot of the BBC website:

He made this statement in a Facebook post, which has since been shared over 750 times:

Somebody is using illegaly one of my images for anti syrian propaganda on the BBC web site front page

Today Sunday May 27 at 0700 am London time the attached image which I took in Al Mussayyib in Iraq on March 27, 2003 (see caption below) was front page on BBC web site illustrating the massacre that happen in Houla the Syrian town and the caption and the web site was stating that the images was showing the bodies of all the people that have been killed in the massacre and that the image was received by the BBC by an unknown activist.

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Three ways to spot if an image has been manipulated

Over the course of 16 years spent working in product management for Adobe, Kevin Connor often heard customers ask if there was any way to determine whether an image had been altered using Photoshop.

“We would get calls pretty frequently (and as time went on, more frequently) from people asking, ‘Are there ways to detect this?’ ” said Connor, who was vice president of product management for Photoshop when left the company last year.

Connor is now working with noted digital image forensics expert Dr. Hany Farid on a startup to provide tools to help sniff out altered images. Their company, Fourandsix, will roll out its first detection product later this year. (It’s currently in beta and I hope to start testing it soon.)

The upcoming release will be the first in a suite of products that could potentially be used by news organizations, law enforcement and others to help evaluate whether an image has been manipulated. Read more

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U.K. editor preaches precise photo captions

Guy Keleny is The Independent’s letters editor. But I know him as paper’s stylebook writer and author of the oft-amusing and always informative Errors and Omission column about grammar and style. It’s The Independent’s version of the old New York Times “greenies.” Perhaps this sounds boring, but Keleny has wit and style to spare.

Peter Wilby wrote about Keleny in The Guardian in 2008, noting some of the column’s pedantic tendencies:

It castigates hanging participles, mixed metaphors, homophones, uses of “disinterested” or “flaunted” when “uninterested” or “flouted” is meant, confusions between titles of life peers and those of hereditary peers’ children, and other traps into which journalists fall. Keleny is the only man I know who understands, or cares, when “may” should be used rather than “might”.

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The Daily Mirror apologizes for a major photo error:

APOLOGY to Patricia Belda Martinez.

WITH Saturday’s Daily Mirror we distributed a supplement entitled ‘Women who Kill’ which we trailed on the front page of the newspaper with a picture of the front page of the supplement.

One of the women whose story featured in the supplement was Vera Renczi who lived in the former Yugoslavia between 1903 and 1939 and who killed 35 men. Unfortunately due to an error the picture we used, both inside and on the front page of the supplement, was not of Vera Renczi but of Patricia Belda Martinez, who is otherwise known as Morgana and who is a fashion model. The picture we used belongs to Ms Martinez.

We apologise unreservedly to Ms Martinez for our error in wrongly using her picture in the supplement which she, of course, has no connection with and for the considerable embarrassment caused to her by our actions.

Via Tabloid Watch

The Daily Mirror

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Vancouver Sun pairs story about contaminated breast milk with photo of Queen Elizabeth

I don’t think this was the right photo choice for a story about contaminated breast milk, Vancouver Sun:

We notified the paper about the error this morning and will let you know when we hear back.

Thanks to Annie Labrecque for the tip. Read more

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