The Toledo Blade has responded. I won't quote verbatim, but if I may summarize their findings:
- I'm a reckless boob. [Ed:—No argument there!]
- The Director of Photography was involved in selecting photos on the day of the shoot, and didn't see anything unusual at the time.
- They have internally done a frame-by-frame analysis, and the photo in question is in line with the rest of the shots from on-scene.
- No alterations were visible in any of the shots.
- Mr. Wadsworth used: Canon 5D 16-35mm zoom f/2.8 lens.
- Image originally recorded in RAW format, resulting in 30mb file per-frame.
- Oddities in photo related to high field-of-view. [Ed.:—combined with absolutely awful image resizing software. Might want to upgrade that, Luann!]
- We were caught in the past, so we'll admit it if we get caught again. [Ed.:—Not sure about the logic on that one]
- And, last but not least:
We're gonna sue you! [Ed.:—Sigh. Never heard that one before...]
I'm satisfied by their technical answer, and as I had said from the beginning, this was nothing that was a "sure" thing. As such, I do offer my deepest apologies to Jeremy Wadsworth for this, and trust that his reputation will not be affected in the least by someone as insignificant as myself. (Besides which, judging by his bio photo
, he'd beat me up right quick on any given day!)
My hat's off to the Blade's editorial staff for their quick (if not intellectually violent) response. And, should their Counsel come calling, please notice that my current net worth can be summarized thusly
From the "You Ever See A Story Come Apart Like That?" department:—Rhonda Shearer of the Art Science Research Laboratory
has been in touch with the Steele family regarding this photo. The verdict?
Yeah, you guessed it:—It is completely
genuine, and it depicts exactly what they saw when they were in hospital.
It doesn't make me feel any better, but my thanks are due to Ms. Shearer for getting that cleared up with a bit of that old-fashioned "investigative" journalism.
(Maybe I'll have to try that out one of these days.)
Original, Wildly Inaccurate Story!(Now in Technicolor!®)
The Toledo Blade is a regional newspaper based out of Ohio that's marginally famous for an incident last year in which a staff photographer was caught
photoshopping news images for dramatic effect
. After being caught, the Pulitzer-winning photographer reluctantly resigned from the newspaper.
Keep that background in mind when you take a look at this picture
, sent in by Brett S. (Larger view here
; Please be respectful of the Blade's copyright.) The photo is apparently being used to hype your average healthcare story
for the paper (screenshot here
, in case the story gets pulled), and Brett is of the opinion that it's a total fake.
I'm not all the way convinced, but let's begin by looking at a detail of the problem areas:
For starters, the image looks something like a composition of at least two other photographs—One involving the patient, his relative, and (possibly) the machine; and the other component providing the hospital background. The suspicious areas of the photograph that lead me to think this are the patient's face (which looks "off" in that lighting), and the pillow on the windowsill (which appears to be poorly blended into the monitor in front of it). Additionally, the hair on the patient's relative is unexplainably blurry in a couple of spots, and appears to have been accidentally flattened.
On the other hand, most of these problems can be explained away as being the product of either poor lighting, or by sub-par post-processing between the digital original and the version that ran to "print" on the web. So I wouldn't go so far as to say that the above evidence is "conclusive" by any means.
So, for me, it can go either way. I'll put in an inquiry with the Editorial desk over at the Blade
, and see if they have any official opinion either way. With luck, they'll be willing to reveal the high-resolution original of this photograph, and all of these issues can be easily explained.
Because, you know, it's not like the Toledo Blade is going to want
another Photoshop controversy or anything. Right?Update:
The caption and attribution on the photograph, found on this page
Randy Steele undergoes dialysis while his son, Jonathon, sits with him. (THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH)
From the Bio page
, "Jeremy Wadsworth, 32, has been a Blade photographer for nine years. A graduate of Ohio University's School of Visual Communications, he has won various awards in the Ohio News Photographers Association annual contest."
Again, I can't stress enough that there is no conclusive
evidence of manipulation here. There's only a bit of suspicion. If anyone from the paper has more background on the topic—Jeremy, I definitely want to hear your take on this!—please don't hesitate to drop me a note