Little Green Footballs

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More 'fauxtography'

Here's an image-manipulation scandal you won't be reading about at LGF, land of Billowgate™ and the Throbbing Memo:

Police have been accused of manipulating a photo of Jean Charles de Menezes so it could be compared to that of one of the 21/7 bomb plotters.

The image had been "stretched and sized" to form a composite image of the Brazilian and Hussain Osman to show the jury, prosecutors told the Old Bailey.

Mr de Menezes was shot dead after being wrongly identified as one of the men who targeted London's transport system.

The Metropolitan Police denies breaking health and safety laws.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head on a train at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005, after being wrongly identified as Osman.

The Met Police said the composite picture was created to illustrate the difficulties officers would have had in differentiating between the two men.

But Clare Montgomery QC, prosecuting, told the court it had been altered "by either stretching or resizing so the face ceases to have its correct proportions".

Forensics consultant Michael George told the court that the police composite appeared to have a "greater definition" than the two images used to produce it.

He produced an alternative composite, which was shown to the jury, in which the two faces had different skin tones and their mouths and noses were not aligned.

Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, asked Mr George whether there had been any manipulation "of the primary features of the face".

Mr George replied: "I don't believe there has been any... but making the image brighter has changed the image."

For much more on the Menezes case, follow this link.


Anonymous said...

Hold on a sec, image manipulation my ass. The split pic on the left of Menezes is much lower quality than the one on the right. The same pic looks like it's had the levels (brightness, dark etc) raised slightly (look at the hair) hence the brighter forehead. And I check the proportions of the original on the right and the split on the left, both are exactly the same.

As a graphic designer I work with image manipulation most days, to me this looks like nothing major has been done in the slightest.

Anonymous said...

Well they're not saying it was good image manipulation. This is the Met after all.

Nuclear Cop said...

As a graphic designer, you should be aware (if you RTFA) that the split pic is a comparison of two different people, not a comparison of two images of the same person.

As a graphic designer, you FAIL.

Anonymous said...

At best, the police are sincerely attempting to demonstrate how they misidentified an innocent man as a terrorist. At worst, they are doing the typical guilty man's act of covering their asses.

Neither is the least bit comparable to journalists intentionally altering photos or forging documents to sway public opinion.

Let me put it another way. If I cheat on a test and get caught, any elaborate defense I spin is only to protect myself. It's reprehensible, but I'm the only one getting hurt. But if I try to make it look like the person next to me cheated in order to do harm to him -- that is despicable.

Ryan said...

@Nuclear Cop

Since I was comparing two instances of the same image - not the one of the other guy - wtf has your comment got to do with anything I said?

WCW said...

Nuclear cop, the police have lied from beginning to end in this story, and an innocent man was gun downed in a subway station. A few of the lies:
-They said he had a bulky jacket (was regular denim)
-They said he was running and jumped a ticket barrier (finally released CCTV photos show him walking normally through the ticket barrier)
-They said he was acting suspiciously (same as above, just released photos show him sauntering, taking a free newspaper, doing nothing)

So the real point is that an innocent man was gunned down for no reason and now no justice at all is coming out of it. It's a nightmare of the WOT lie.

Does any of that matter to you? If not, as a human being, you FAIL.

Nuclear Cop said...

Well, regardless of whether any of us thinks that the MET's image manipulation is significant (or even manipulation at all, according to anon@7:57), I think we can all agree with anon@4:40 that shooting an innocent man 5 times in the head is analogous with cheating on an exam. Thankyou, anon@4:40 for that moment of moral clarity.

Anonymous said...

Crap, did I miss the part where you have to fail an IQ test to post comments here?

The lead-in to the original post was about MANIPULATED IMAGES. The explicit comparison was to LGF's exposure of MANIPULATED IMAGES. My post dealt only with the subject as it touched on MANIPULATED IMAGES. My analogy referred only to motives as they relate to MANIPULATED IMAGES.

You want to go and change the subject, don't fault me for not playing your game. You want me to say it's wrong to shoot an innocent man in the head? Once in the head is bad enough. Of course, since you didn't say that, I now accuse you of thinking it's only a moral crime if an innocent man gets shot in the head 5 or more times. Thanks for that moment of moral clarity, Nucler Cop.

Nuclear Cop said...

I defer to your superior IQ. Clearly, the Police manipulating an image to justify killing an innocent man is less odious than one photographer out of hundreds manipulating one image out of thousands to make it appear that Israeli bombs caused more smoke than they did. In fact, the first case is just like trying to weasel out of an exam one has cheated in, and the second is just like accusing a fellow student of cheating in that same exam, the consequences of each event being identical.

Thanks, anon, for schooling me in logic: Any deception that makes someone else look criminal is worse than a deception to cover up one's own crimes, no matter what the consequences of those crimes are.

Anonymous said...

Not news, simply the police wanted to say they look similar, they are not machines to check proportions of the face, when someone running [period], and I m not saying they were right in shotting him, but why it is here and should be published? especially on a blog that watching another blog.

Anonymous said...

One more time, Nuclear Cop. The scandal of "Billowgate" wasn't just that a photographer added smoke to a picture; that was just the tip of the iceberg which led to a discovery of several grossly staged, altered, and misleading photos which were more in the nature of propaganda than photojournalism. It was an attempt by allegedly neutral observers to sway world opinion. Likewise, Memogate was an attempt to embroil a sitting President in a scandal, and a major news figure was complicit in that attempt. Both undermined public confidence in journalistic ethics.

The police killing of an innocent man is a horrible tragedy, as it always is. However, is there any evidence of malice aforethought? Did they knowingly target an innocent man? Not so far as I can tell. They made a huge mistake, one with damning consequences, and now they are attempting to account for their terrible error. If they manipulated an image with an intent to deceive -- a point which has not been conclusively determined -- they are only harming themselves. Menezes is alread dead, triste dictu. They are not trying to destroy him with their manipulated image, but rather (a) extricate themselves from trouble; (b) legitimately explain the circumstances of their mistake. This cannot be compared to deceitful photographers who under the cover of journalistic objectivity tried to foment scandals on the world stage.

Who's the one ignoring the consequences, eh buddy?

Anonymous said...

Oh, for christs sakes! Let's get back to the topic. It seems that the police have manipulated the image so that it bears more of a resemblance to the original. Let's agree that doing this after they murdered someone in cold blood due to their incompetence is wrong. It is ten times worse than a photographer adding extra smoke. Full stop. If you think otherwise you seriously need to check out your moral compass.

Nuclear Cop said...

I also did not realise that a pool image with extra smoke added threatened to destroy Israel. Thank you for clarifying the consequences for me.

Clearly, too-much-smokegate is a far more serious issue than the Police fabricating evidence to justify killing someone, the future existence of a nation is obviously more important than the prosecution of those responsible for killing one man, and the integrity of the Police force.

This episode has caused me to rethink my whole world view. We shouldn't care about people who have been killed or how they came to be killed and what lessons may be learned to prevent future killings. We should focus on things which may destroy things that still exist, such as a doctored photo that threatens a country's existence.

Anonymous said...

Nuclear Cop, that's stupid, the police here is not fabricating an evidence, the police is explaining why they were confused and acted wrongly to protect asses like you from getting blown up by a lone terrorist. whereas the fabricated photo against Israel shed a light on neutrality of the media, why should Reuters hire not trustworthy people that led to fake propaganda, and they might faked another photos, or might not tell another stories. that's the issue. it is hard for you to realize, because for you terrorists who hijack planes like Hizbullah is better than a democratic state like Israel?

Dealer said...

"Nuclear Cop, that's stupid, the police here is not fabricating an evidence"

No, they're manipulating an image of a terrorist suspect to look like the innocent man they shot. Nothing wrong there eh?

" is hard for you to realize, because for you terrorists who hijack planes like Hizbullah is better than a democratic state like Israel?"

Straw man arguments always bring the idiot out.