Was the 2013 ‘Photo of the Year’ a Photoshopped Fake?

-By Warner Todd Huston

At the beginning of the year the World Press Photo of the year was awarded to Swedish photog Paul Hansen whose photo “Gaza Burial” took top honors. But only weeks passed before some in the industry began to wonder if the photo had been manipulated in photoshop. Some even said that it was a composite image. If this were so, critics said, that would violate the spirit of the contest. (Seen above with my little “helping” notation)

The photo shows a gut-wrenching scene of a two dead Palestinian children wrapped in burial robes and being carried by distressed family members to be laid to rest.

One skeptic, computer scientist Dr. Neal Krawetz, did an extensive exploration of what he says is the manipulation of the prize winning photo. “Hansen’s picture is a composite,” he concludes.

Another critic at the website Extreme Tech agreed that the photo is a “fake.” In fact, the site called it a “fraudulent forgery.”

Extreme Tech said that Hanson “took a series of photos–and then later, realizing that his most dramatically situated photo was too dark and shadowy, decided to splice a bunch of images together and apply a liberal amount of dodging (brightening) to the shadowy regions.”

For his part, Hanson denies the claims of his detractors.

Hansen said the “photograph is certainly not a composite or a fake.”

“I have never had a photograph more thoroughly examined, by four experts and different photo-juries all over the world,” he said.

World Press Photo is standing by Hanson’s photo, but Hanson has been accused of photo manipulation before.

Finally, there is no mistaking why this was the so-called “photo of the year.” After all, it gave succor to the Palestinians and by extension attacked the Israelis. That is why this photo was the winner.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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Copyright Publius Forum 2001