The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

The Lineup

Not the Macarena.

I am of the opinion that this photograph, released by the North Korean news agency and passed on without comment by the uncritical lunkheads at Reuters, is a complete fabrication.

Look at the difference in perspective between the light brown foreground and the dark brown background, where the cattle are. The way the background looks like a flat photograph--heck, it ends on an almost perfectly straight line. There's even a difference between the lighting in the foreground of the shot and its background.

But hey, why have a photographic-oriented blog like this if I'm the only one here that gets to speak. What do you think?

Is this photo a pile of bovine poo? Or am I the only cow patty laying around in these parts?

Sound off now, my friends.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (6th R) poses for a photograph during his visit to the July 18 cattle ranch, part of the 580 military unit, at an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this undated photograph released November 20, 2009 by North Korea's official news agency KCNA. KCNA did not state the date the picture was taken. REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA POLITICS MILITARY ANIMALS) NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. QUALITY FROM SOURCE

Daylife Link - though it is far more obvious when zoomed in ]

PS: A companion shot from the same series looks equally as fishy. The green map on the right-hand side appears to be a comical paste job.

So why would they do this, anyway? Good question--I'm glad I asked it for you.

The best theory that my addled brain can come up with is that, as pretty much everyone knows, North Korea is in the midst of a pretty severe food crisis. As such, it's not entirely likely that there's a whole lot of cattle to be had -- and thus, the background ended up being "embellished" in order to create the picture of a healthy and prosperous Juche nation.

That, or there was a smudge on the lens. Never get tired of hearing that old excuse.

 Tags: KCNA #NewsInFocus


#1 forest 21-Nov-2009

The lack of shadows around the men looks weird - almost as if it were a studio shot or there was alot of supplemental lighting on schene spraying lght on them from all angles.  I don't know if that means it's a fake, but it looks strange to me.

The gigantic mural map being out in a pasture is pretty weird too, but in Noth Korea that might be normal.

#2 Kevin 21-Nov-2009

I don't see the perspective problem with the first photo that you do.  The problem I see is that the men don't cast shadows, but the cows do.  That means that it's either fake, or they may be vampires.  I think vampires don't cast shadows, but I'm not sure about it.


The second photo (companion shot) looks as bad as one of MY photoshop jobs :).

#3 Ron Coleman 30-Nov-2009

I see the point about the perspective, but the awkward look on that score could be an optical illusion arising from the odd change in the color -- not to mention the what seems like a weird shift in the nature of the vegetation, or whatever it is they're standing on (wood shavings?).

I agree that the lighting seems unnatural.  But then again, there is nothing natural about these human beings either, unfortunately.


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