November 11, 2010

Is the"Felon With a Gun" Photo Real or Photoshopped?

In the comments of my most recent Pajamas Media article, a skeptic calling himself "L.Booth" questioned the validity of the photo accompanying the article, stating:

Notice the "photo" funny shadow on the big pistol, what is the big white blotch on the left sleeve………fun never ends.

The photo in question shows a man holding a pair of firearms... or does it? The comment provided by "L.Booth" seems to suggest that the photo used in the article was manipulated, or "PhotoShopped."

So let's put that claim to the test, by providing the photo and subjecting it to the scrutiny of Internet experts and laymen alike.

Below is the uncropped photo that the image in the Pajamas Media article was created from (click the photo for the full-size 2048 x 1536 image or follow this link).

Is the man in the photo really holding firearms...

...or is it faked?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 11, 2010 06:41 AM

Man, if that is a 'Shopped photo, it is the best that I have ever seen. The 'Shopper has a huge future in UFO photography.

The shadow on "the big pistol" corresponds with everything that the hand holding it is doing. Without fail.


Posted by: paul mitchell at November 11, 2010 11:26 AM

Just checking the comment form out.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 11, 2010 01:10 PM

I'm with Paul. That's some wicked high detail. It's certainly better than AP has ever been able to accomplish.

There are no artifacts of light or focus. My only concern is why both weapons are cocked? I guess if it's real, this guy is a goob?

Posted by: Gus Bailey at November 11, 2010 01:24 PM

My only concern would be the angle of the light source. It looks to be coming from the subject's left side and relatively low (but not really low). The angle of shadow on the two men's noses for example is a bit different but it could simply be because the gentleman on the left side of the photo has his face at a slightly different angle than the other man. What really has me a bit puzzled is why, if the light source is as indicated, there is a shadow on the antennae from the left man's phone or radio mounted on his belt that is reflected on his waist. Wouldn't that shadow be directed in the other direction? Or is there another source of light? And, if the light source is as described, is the shadow of the gun at the right angle, etc. - I think the shadows cast here will be the deciding factor (as it is in most Photoshopped pictures.) My $0.02 worth.

Posted by: MtnGote at November 11, 2010 07:00 PM

Hmm. All the shadows are consistent with subjects facing an early afternoon sun. In particular, the subject "set right" has exactly the right squint, and the shadow of the 1911 is easily replicable with any point light source and someone to pose with the pistol. The radio has a "rubber ducky" that may appear to be a shadow, but is not.

If that is a photoshop job I need to insist my graphic artist take lessons from the 'shopper.


Posted by: Stranger at November 11, 2010 10:28 PM

The individual "holding" those pistols was indeed holding those pistols, unless the Government was involved with the picture. THEY (and only THEY) have enough money to do a "Photoshop" this good.

This, though, is why if I am ever on a jury I will NEVER consider digital photographic evidence as being credible unless the defense specifically agrees that it is accurate. Uncle has WAY TOO MUCH capability to fake digital photographs. They are NOT QUITE THERE YET on digital video. But they ARE on the way there as well.

Posted by: Mark Matis at November 11, 2010 10:57 PM

Also I think that the the shadow of the left hand is too deep for being on the sunny side of the body.
Shadows are not just a function of direct light but also ambient or enviromentaly reflected light.

Posted by: ron at November 13, 2010 02:18 AM


How do you think the shadows cast by the guns compare with the shadows cast by his collar, pocket flaps, and shirt tails? Or, all of those faked too?

Posted by: Bill Smith at November 14, 2010 01:10 AM
The individual "holding" those pistols was indeed holding those pistols, unless the Government was involved with the picture. THEY (and only THEY) have enough money to do a "Photoshop" this good.

Nah, the government is pretty terrible at that sort of thing, actually. A hollywood effects company maybe, but not the hamfisted goons in Washington.

In any event, there's no way someone spent the money and time necessary to fake something this insignificant this well.

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Posted by: author at December 10, 2010 01:37 PM