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Altered photos are nothing new (see Photo Tampering Throughout History via Dartmouth College), but only in the past 4 years have altered photos become a tool used to influence prospective voters in US elections.
In 2004 Jane Fonda was inserted into a Ken Light photo forever associating John Kerry to her and tarnishing his anti-Vietnam war protest record. Not only are such manipulations damaging to politicians but the photographers as well. You can hear first hand how this was the case with in my EXIF and Beyond interview with Ken Light. A quick synopsis of the truth behind this alteration (see the photo below and to the left) can be found on Snopes.
Yesterday a photo was released on James Kunstler’s site (potentially NSFW) targeting prospective 2008 US Presidential voters with an American flag bikini clad Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin holding a rifle. It’s unclear at the moment if this is an actual photo or a manipulated photo. Either way damage will no doubt be done to her and the Republican ticket headed by John McCain.
Note: I’ve confirmed this is a Photoshopped photo of Palin. The original can be seen here on Flickr elizabeth – american flag bikini rifle and was originally taken by Addison Godel (Doctor Casino). Addison was not the person who Photoshopped the photo. The culprit has yet to be identified.
Considering the wide spread availabilty and use of Photoshop one has to really scrutinize what you see. The old saying “Don’t believe everything you read.” certainly should be updated to “Don’t believe everything you read or see.” The Obama and McCain campaigns will no doubt have damage control teams organized to address accusatory statements or articles as has always been the case, but they’ll certainly now be ramping up to address incriminating photos whether doctored or real.
All politics aside how does such photo manipulation effect you? Are your opinions swayed by such tactics and is your photographic work subject to such manipulation? If so what are you doing to protect your photographs?
UPDATE: Now available An Interview with the Creator of the Sarah Palin Bikini Gun Photo
[tags]Photography, Photoshop, manipulation, Sarah Palin, John Kerry, Ken Light, James Kunstler, John McCain, Barak Obama, election[/tags]