When photos tell a lie

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
32,491
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#1
A picture is worth a thousand words. Or are they?

In this day and age, photos can be easily doctored with Photoshop. But even when they are not, a picture can still tell a lie.

Possibly the most famous example is this:


The picture shows the execution of Nguyen Van Lem. A brutal out-of-hand murder in a brutal war, right? Not quite. What the picture doesn't tell you is that the man being shot is a North Vietnamese captain who had earlier in the day murdered several family members of a comrade of the officer on the left, General Nguyen Ngoc Loan.

Loan left Vietnam and settled in the US, where he suffered because of this photo. The US tried to prosecute him for it, but he was acquitted after the photographer Eddie Adams spoke in his defence. His restaurant was vandalised by people who didn't know the story behind the photo.

Discuss, and if you know any other examples, please do post them.
 
Feb 2011
6,343
#6
Photos have a very limited ability to tell you the context of the picture. I'd say that people used the photo to lie, but the photo itself is not a lie. The guy really was executed, if it was made to look like the guy was innocent, or the sentence too harsh, then it's the fault of the presenter for failing to explain the context behind the photo.

I'd say this is a photo which tells a lie:


The original photo had been edited to make it look like the soldier was smiling at a woman being hanged. Also this:




I'm not denying that the Nazis committed atrocities, I'm using these photos solely as an example of photo manipulation (Soviet manipulation in this case)

I recently discovered that there is a more modern phenomenon in which people use "new technology" to show WW2 films in color. Turns out what they did was to duplicate the WW2 videos exactly, rather than using "new technology". That is, they hired a bunch of actors dressed in the exact same way, with the exact same background, doing the exact same motions. The camera filmed them at the exact same angle, it's just that they filmed it with color now. And then they say they used "new technology" to give the WW2 video color. But at least this type of lie is merely to give the audience a false feeling of authenticity, rather than lies that could affect public policy. I had a link to prove this (a video of the original and the 'same' colorized version, except there are slight discrepancies between the two) but unfortunately lost it. Even in this, the video is not a lie, the actual lie is how the video was presented as the authentic original but with color.
 
Apr 2017
676
Lemuria
#8
A picture is worth a thousand words. Or are they?

In this day and age, photos can be easily doctored with Photoshop. But even when they are not, a picture can still tell a lie.

Possibly the most famous example is this:


The picture shows the execution of Nguyen Van Lem. A brutal out-of-hand murder in a brutal war, right? Not quite. What the picture doesn't tell you is that the man being shot is a North Vietnamese captain who had earlier in the day murdered several family members of a comrade of the officer on the left, General Nguyen Ngoc Loan.

Loan left Vietnam and settled in the US, where he suffered because of this photo. The US tried to prosecute him for it, but he was acquitted after the photographer Eddie Adams spoke in his defence. His restaurant was vandalised by people who didn't know the story behind the photo.

Discuss, and if you know any other examples, please do post them.
Interesting but it is also important to verify the second part of the statement because the supposed vendetta could be propaganda. It would be hard to verify such statement. I find it hard to believe a North Vietnamese Captain could be dressed like this.
 

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