NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/92816799/92829529" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/92816799/92829529" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Earlier this month, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard released a photograph of a missile launch, which Agence France-Presse distributed to news organizations around the world. It showed four missiles, in the air, shortly after ignition. As it turns out, that picture had been doctored. Another — almost identical — photograph, of the same site, showed three airborne missiles.

And just a week before, FOX News aired two manipulated photographs — of Jacques Steinberg, a reporter for The New York Times, and Steven Reddicliffe, an editor at the newspaper. Their eyes had dark circles around them, their teeth had been yellowed, and their faces had been stretched.

Hany Farid, who teaches computer science at Dartmouth College, studies digital image forensics. His article, "Photo Tampering Throughout History," has dozens of examples of creative — and dubious — cropping, dodging, and blurring.

We'll hear from Farid and Vincent Laforet, a commercial and editorial photographer, based in New York. For many years, he was a staff photographer at The New York Times.

Do you care if the photographs you see in your newspapers and magazines, or on the Internet, have been changed? If only slightly? If so, why? And if you have any questions for Farid or Laforet, we'll take those too.

NPR thanks our sponsors