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About those 2005 and 2013 photos of the crowds in...

Mar 15, 2013
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About those 2005 and 2013 photos of the crowds in St. Peter’s Square


  Post photojournalist Nick Kirkpatrick did a little digging and found that the lower photo… which features a sea of smartphones and tablets, was, indeed, taken during the announcement of Pope Francis’s election. But the top photo… which shows an audience with far fewer gadgets was taken during the funeral procession of Pope John Paul II — a very different mood and event type. There was no one addressing the crowd from the balcony, for example. So, the comparison isn’t quite accurate.


As Errol Morris says, to fake a photograph, you don’t need photoshop, all you have to do is change the caption.

But what’s sort of interesting is that the caption wasn’t totally misleading:


  todayshow: How the world has changed: St. Peter’s Square in 2005 and 2013


It’s really the juxtaposition of the two images together into one image that does the “talking.” (As @ayjay put it, “ Never let the facts get in the way of a powerful photo juxtaposition.”) In cases like this, it’s really the “truthiness” of the juxtaposition that makes it spread so fast — it seems true, so we like it. In this way, it’s more like an editorial cartoon…

About those 2005 and 2013 photos of the crowds in St. Peter’s Square

Post photojournalist Nick Kirkpatrick did a little digging and found that the lower photo… which features a sea of smartphones and tablets, was, indeed, taken during the announcement of Pope Francis’s election. But the top photo… which shows an audience with far fewer gadgets was taken during the funeral procession of Pope John Paul II — a very different mood and event type. There was no one addressing the crowd from the balcony, for example. So, the comparison isn’t quite accurate.

As Errol Morris says, to fake a photograph, you don’t need photoshop, all you have to do is change the caption.

But what’s sort of interesting is that the caption wasn’t totally misleading:

todayshow: How the world has changed: St. Peter’s Square in 2005 and 2013

It’s really the juxtaposition of the two images together into one image that does the “talking.” (As @ayjay put it, “ Never let the facts get in the way of a powerful photo juxtaposition.”) In cases like this, it’s really the “truthiness” of the juxtaposition that makes it spread so fast — it seems true, so we like it. In this way, it’s more like an editorial cartoon…

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    “To fake a photograph, you don’t need photoshop, all you have to do is change the caption” -Errol Morris
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