Sunday 23rd of January 2022

the war of retouching...


Tonight,  on Channel Ten "The Project",  the presenting crew had a segment with a forceful mum complaining about a photographer having dared to offer to retouch her kid's school pictures...  Oulalah It hurts... But?

Hey! Mum! it's only an option... You do not have to agree... But the sharp-eyed mum complained that the next step would be compulsory retouching without being asked... By the end of the spiel, the "whole" studio was behind her... BOLLOCKS... It has always been an option for school kids, even if we don't remember...

Retouching pictures has been a trade since photography began...

Pictures from WWI were often retouched: some photographers in the field not seeing enough soldiers or smoke added "some", as to give "their" account of battles...

And the retouching industry is booming. Ask all those movie stars, whose bum lines have been flattered by a bit of the Photoshop brush...

From WWII to the Vietnam war. 

Now a retouching and a stolen identity has gone of bit too far:




Vietnam War veteran Kerry Williams just wanted to reclaim his identity, but the Department of Veterans' Affairs and another man's family have been reluctant to hand it back.

For nearly 50 years, a black and white photograph from the battle of Suoi Chau Pha, where six Australians were killed and 14 wounded, gave meaning to Mr William's life. To his family and air force mates, he was the man holding the plasma bottle.

Two years ago, however, his place in history was taken away.

RAAF photographer Barrie Ward shot the image on August 6, 1967. The composition is simple but filled with urgency. It shows a man wearing a flight suit, with the surname Williams sewn on his chest.He is hoisting a bottle over an injured digger being borne on a stretcher by three army medics at Nui Dat forward detachment.

With a lit cigarette in his right hand, this older man's eyes are fixed on the injured digger. In the background, an Iroquois helicopter is riddled with bullet holes.

'I don't know why or how I survived intact. Sometimes I wished I was wounded or injured,'' said Mr Williams, now 76, and retired in Warners Bay. ''There are things I did over there that I am ashamed of, but I look at that photo now and I am proud, what I did actually meant something, it's positive.''

In 2012, the Department of Veterans' Affairs upset Mr Williams's world. The department altered the photo for its remembrance day poster and calendar. The cigarette was photoshopped out. The bullet holes appeared to be closed over. And, finally, their records replaced Mr Williams in the image. Instead, Dr Jack Blomley, a much-admired former rugby union international and former St Joseph's Hunter's Hill student, was inserted into this nicotine-free version of reality.

The decision literally changed history, splitting military and veterans' associations and leaving two families with ongoing, conflicting claims to that photograph.

Kathy Williams, Mr Williams's daughter, said the official records by Mr Ward, the now-dead photographer, stated her father was carrying the plasma bottle.

''He is wearing his flying suit with his surname over his right breast. Dad never loaned his flying suits to anyone. Dad remembers Barrie taking that photo, it's him in the photo, so basically he has been labelled a liar.

''The mistake [the Department of Veterans' Affairs] made caused such a mess, both for dad, our family, Blomley's family, other vets and the department itself,'' Ms Williams said.

''We complained for a long time. The minister never got back to me, but the department told us it had been resolved … when dad told me the photo appeared again with the wrong identity, I couldn't help but think, someone in the department is deliberately playing god once more.''

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The original picture:
history religious wars
The fag has been removed and the name has been changed...


retouching the lady out....

one of the retouched WWI picture can be seen at:


And who can forget a Jewish paper removing Hillary Clinton from the picture of the war room:



A big hat-tip to Failed Messiah (who gave a hat-tip to Critical Minyan) for breaking the news that an Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish newspaper, Der Tzitung, has determined that the photo of top U.S. leaders receiving an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden was too scandalous.

What was so offensive about the image? U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the photo and, based on good intel, the editor of Der Tzitung discovered that she is a woman. The Hasidic newspaper will not intentionally include any images of women in the paper because it could be considered sexually suggestive. The iconic photo shows President Obama, Vice President Biden, and members of the U.S. National Security Team in the Situation Room of the White House. Secretary of State Clinton, wearing a long-sleeved suit jacket, sits with her hand over her mouth. I'm not sure how Der Tzitung determined this was a racy photo. Perhaps they just don't like the idea of a woman with that much political power.



can I fess up?...

Without going into details, I started my professional life as a "retoucher" in a major photographic and publishing house in Europe. I know all the trick of the trade. Way before Photoshop was ever invented, pictures used in any quality publications, be it catalogues or magazines were always "retouched" in order to increase the contrasts, improve the details (specially the edges of ) and highlight the glow of the picture which would have looked crap without it. As well we used to fade backgrounds in order to bring the main subject forward...

Most Aussie newspapers in the 1970s did retouching of photographs...

Photoshop did not invent retouching. It only made it a lot easier and faster... But give me a brush (or an air brush — I still have mine) with the right palette and I can do wonders, still. My eyes are still sharp and my hands do not tremble... It takes time and I believe these skills of great precision have more or less vanished. I was the master of black and white "touch ups" or of the rare colour prints "fudge"... Soon, in the late fifties, I was working with other aces who could retouch 10 x 8 inches transparencies with feather like technique with various transparent inks and sometimes weak acids or alkaline solutions...

A lot of these skills were also used in the "intelligence" services, mostly in the "disinformation" section.

I never worked there, though some of my mates might have. 


Note: as an aside it was only from 1954 onwards that Kodachrome could be processed outside the Kodak Laboratories... Complexity of patents, monopoly laws and some foreign countries having cracked the "processing" of the "reversal film" made it so Kodak could not hold on to the exclusivity of the technology...

a link gone wrong...

In one of the comments above I have placed a link that did not work. Sorry. here it is corrected:

and who could forget the merde-och press' touch up?

old people's photos...

a bit tacky...

It was “morally completely wrong” to choose an image of the Russian ambassador to Turkey’s assassination as photo of the year, believes the chair of the World Press Photo 2017 awards, who says the decision “seems to advance the intentions of a terrorist.”

The image showing the assassin, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, standing and shouting by the body of the killed Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was captured by AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici.

The picture received the photo of the year award from the World Press Photo Foundation, an independent group based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Monday. 

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Yep... A photo of Hitler could have won the day as well...


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Don’t Touch My Hair...

Solange Knowle

The London Evening Standard has apologised to Solange Knowles for airbrushing her crown of braids from an image on the cover of its magazine.

The singer, whose songs include Don’t Touch My Hair, was featured in the magazine discussing her upcoming album, as well as the “art form” and cultural legacy for black women of braiding their hair.

It emerged on Friday that the newspaper, which is edited by the former chancellor George Osborne, had digitally removed Knowles’ braids from the cover of its ES Magazine.

Knowles called out the publication on social media, posting a picture of the original, unaltered image on Instagram with the caption “dtmh” – an abbreviation of Don’t Touch My Hair, a track on her critically acclaimed 2016 album A Seat at the Table.

When the Standard posted its image of the cover, with the braids removed, fans attacked the publication, accusing it of racism for editing out a core part of the singer’s cultural identity.

The paper has now offered “unreserved apologies” to Knowles, saying the image was changed for “layout purposes”.

In a statement, the Standard said: “We were delighted to have the chance to interview the wonderful Solange Knowles and photograph her for this week’s edition of ES.

“It is therefore a matter of great regret that the finished cover artwork caused concern and offence.

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cropping the narrative...

The Times has released an article accusing top British academics of promulgating pro-Assad and Russian conspiracy theories. The report claimed that the founders of a self-styled Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media are spreading disinformation in relation to Syria. Radio Sputnik spoke with peace activist Vanessa Beeley about this issue.

Vanessa Beeley: A systematic smear campaign that has been running probably for the better part of the year that has included social media attacks, it has included smear piece from The Guardian written by a San Francisco technology expert, certainly not anybody that has ever been to Syria. 

From the Syria campaign which is the Amin Asfari funded PR agency for the White Helmets which is of course UK foreign office financed and Amin Asfari who funds the Syria campaign who wrote I think about a 46-page report trying to basically discredit our work on exposing the White Helmets has also financed the Tory government. 

READ MORE: UK PM May: We Acted in Syria Over National Interest, Not Just Following Trump

So this is exposing itself to be a web of intelligence operatives and people who are basically supporting the UK foreign office regime change war policy inside Syria and so it has basically escalated to the point where the Times wrote I think four articles. I sent a page photograph of myself with President Bashar al Assad. 

Now what is really interesting about this photograph in particular, the original photograph actually shows all members of the US peace council delegation with whom I came to Syria in July 2016, in an effort to fact find on the Syria conflict, to raise awareness on what was really happening on the ground and to build bridges between the Syrian government and peace activists and organizations in the United States. So a very important, in my view, mission of peace and what they have basically done is cropped the image to disappear the other members of the US peace council and in my view this is misleading journalism, again as they have pretty much done throughout the Syrian conflict. They have cropped the images or the narratives on Syria to suit the UK regime foreign policy, to fit it into the frame of the narrative that is required to support the foreign office policy inside Syria.

Sputnik: What about the response, do you think the tide is turning slowly with regard to the UK population because it does seem to be a sea change within the UK population now and their attitude towards the UK government and the media, they just don’t believe what the media is writing anymore, do they?

No, I really don’t think they do. I think the mainstream media is in complete free fall. We listen to in fact, one of your guests Professor Torry McCormack being interviewed by the Today program and they brought on an expert witness from the White Helmets, Amar al Salmu as a witness to the fact that the White Helmets are not affiliated to al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups. 

READ MORE: Pantsir-S1 Repelling US Strikes on Syria Showed 100% Effectiveness — Russian MoD

Now, unfortunately for the BBC there are in existence archive photos of this very White Helmet member as an armed militant member of al-Qaeda, so this is the level to which these mainstream media outlets are being forced to drop to try and protect a narrative that was already unraveling, which is the Douma chemical weapon attack

Not only did we have the Russian military on the ground inspecting the site, we have a number now of civilian testimonies saying that a chemical attack never happened. We have the UN agency there in Damascus and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Damascus both saying that the hospitals had no patients coming in showing or demonstrating chemical weapon attack symptoms. 

So, you know, basically our [UK] government has carried out a criminal and unlawful act of aggression against a sovereign nation without getting permission from parliament, without a UN Security Council mandate, and based on, not even a dodgy dossier we hadn’t even got to the point where dossier had been completed. I mean this is even more extraordinary than the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 

I am here in Damascus and I can tell you categorically that the Syrian government and the Russian organizations on the ground are doing everything they can to expedite the OPCW’s visit to the site. 

So we are being consistently lied to right now and the lies are being exposed in real time. We are actually living through a quite extraordinary time in history where I think we are seeing what I really believe now is an extended [cy-op]  in Syria by the British government, by the media, by the US intelligence and deep state and its aligned media, by a number of aligned think tanks, by the UN. 

We are seeing the entire narrative coming tumbling down like a pack of cards right now. Generally speaking, the mood here in Damascus, is they feel empowered. I mean, they think they feel they are pushing back against the tripartite act of aggression, criminal act of aggression was basically carried out only by Syria as far as we know Russia didn’t fire a single air defense against this attack. So basically what this has proven is that what is really relatively antiquated equipment, antiquated missiles or air defense missiles. The Syrian Arab Army has defended itself and its people against an attack from some of the most powerful nations on this Earth.  

For Syria, I think, this has been a tremendous turning point. I think now they feel empowered, they feel that they are able to defend themselves. I think the majority of the missiles didn’t hit any specific targets because the jamming systems that were being used by Syria were also very successful.


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And by the way, here is the cropped photograph (excuding all the other member of the US peace mission) published in The Times (an Uncle Rupe publication).  The article is called: TIMES INVESTIGATION ‘To say Douma attack was staged is to enter an Orwellian world’  Let Gus say that The Times is a "Murdoch World" — far worse than an Orwellian one...

The caption read Vanessa Beeley has described her meeting with President Assad last October as her “proudest moment”". 



The copy says:

When Idrees Ahmad read the letter of complaint against him, he was baffled to see it written on University of Sheffield headed paper. The authors were members of a recently formed organisation, the Syria, Propaganda and Media (SPM) group, whose stated aim was to “facilitate research with respect to the 2011-present war in Syria”.

They objected to Dr Ahmad, a lecturer in digital journalism at Stirling University, criticising an article written by Tim Hayward, an Edinburgh professor of political theory who is one of their key members.

Then it mentions Vanessa Heely as a "pro-Assad journalist in Syria".

At least Vanessa is in or has been to Syria, unlike the many Journos writing for, say, The Guardian who comment on the great work done by the "White Helmets" (an al qaeda outfit sponsored by the British secret service via a nifty web of deception and cash). Such journo for example is Olivia Solon — a senior technology reporter for Guardian US in San Francisco... She would not have a clue.

This actually means that reporters for The Times and The Guardian are actually anti-Assad, without "being there".


more make-up artists wanted in the stunt department...



three little aussies...three


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making up little napopleon with photoshop...

To send an impeccable image to voters, when a presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron did not stop at any expense during the presidential campaign. Although his makeup costs were reimbursed, this was not the case for his vocal coach.

Anxious to appear at its best, the leader of the movement En Marche! did not skimp on the expenses related to his image, during the presidential campaign.

According to the National Commission of campaign accounts and political financing (CNCCFP), Macron has provided a bill of 29,042 euros for 35 sessions of make-up — more than 800 euros per session. A sum so big that the Commission, suspecting "apparently personal expenses" added to the bills, wanted the president to justify their electoral nature. His team cited a decision of the Council of State — according to Le Monde — which states that "the costs of makeup are considered by the electoral judge as election-related expenses and may give rise to reimbursement when these expenses were incurred in order to collect votes".

The journalists of the TV show Quotidien on TMC, have also found a bill for retouching the photograph of the campaign poster of the second voting round. For 5,500 euros, Macron presented a profile with less blurred eyebrows, got his ears stuck and hid a beginning of baldness. "It was thought that it was Marine Le Pen campaign poster that was the most photoshoped, but it's a tie between the two candidates of the second round of the presidential election" commented the journalist Paul Larrouturou of Quotidien, which does not specify, in addition, if these retouching fees have been refunded.


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retouching butts

deliberate human error...

TV channel France3 has “fixed” a placard held by a Yellow Vest protester, which urged President Emmanuel Macron to resign. The broadcaster explained that the sign was broadcast reading just Macron, due to a “human error.”

The unfortunate blunder occurred on Saturday during an evening news program that was covering the ongoing Yellow Vest protests.

Among videos and images of the protests, France3 featured a photo supplied by Agence France Presse (AFP). It shows a couple of mounted police officers watching the crowds outside the Opera building in Paris on Saturday. One of the Yellow Vests holds high a placard, reading “Macron out.” Here’s this photo.



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a "home page photo collage"...


Fox News has removed digitally altered photos from its website after a Seattle newspaper noted misleading images used in the network's coverage about a section of the city that has become a centre of protest against police brutality and racial injustice.


Key points:
  • The altered images included photos of a man with a rifle being inserted into other images
  • Fox News took down the altered images after the Seattle Times inquired
  • A Fox News spokeswoman falsely claimed all photos were from the same week and the same location


On Saturday, Fox News included an editor's note at the top of at least three stories on its website covering Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), saying it replaced a "home page photo collage" because it "did not clearly delineate between these images" and that it "mistakenly" included a Minnesota photo in a slideshow about Seattle.

The Seattle Times reported Fox News' website featured at least two photos that inserted an image of a man standing with a military-style rifle, and that there were no disclaimers on how they were manipulated when featured on the network's website prior to Saturday.


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nothing new...

Norwegian photojournalist Jonas Bendiksen, who was acclaimed at the international “Visa pour image” festival in Perpignan (France), revealed in Magnum Photos that he had completely fabricated his report on the Fake News factory in Veles (North Macedonia) [1].

He described how he himself falsified all his photos, creating imaginary figures on empty backgrounds, to demonstrate that it is possible to trick even the greatest experts.

The director of the French festival, Jean-Francois Leroy, has apologized to the photography industry, claiming to have been deceived despite his alertness and that of his team.

Experience shows that photographs are no longer proof of anything.



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