Medicated photograph?

I received an email this morning from the proprietor of The Real Cuba concerning the legitimacy of the picture I posted yesterday in this entry. He has a photograph of the exact same area without the revolutionary propaganda billboard.

I have no way of telling if the picture I posted originally has been doctored or not and I can’t vouch for its authenticity.

The original photo may have been Photoshopped or the billboard may have actually been placed on the site after the photo shown at the Real Cuba was taken. If there’s anyone out there that has a way of checking the picture I posted to see if it’s been doctored, please drop me a line.

Gracias to Jorge and Miguel for the heads up.

13 thoughts on “Medicated photograph?”

  1. Hmm… If you grab the two pics and do a photoshop analysys ( substract values from one pic and the other) there are more diferences in the pics than just the Billbord. Tiny little diferences that would indicate are two differnet pics at different times. Objects in the foreground are not EXACTLY in the same position etc. But…. if it is a doctored pic whoever did it is a MASTER!
    The perspective of the billboard is PERFECT
    The supporting legs of the billbord flow behind the bushes etc. There is also slight shadow on the left leg of the billboard that points to a VERY elaborate hoax (if it IS a hoax) .
    If it is a fake I want this person to retouch MY passport picture !

  2. OOps – sorry – just caught up something that does indicate it is a fake .. But a god damn good one!
    What seems like a tin roof (left center of the original pic) slightly overlaps (by no more than 3 pixels) the Billboard, which would be impossible if the billboard had been in fact in FRONT of the little roof.
    Also the shadow of the left leg holding the billboard is of one solid value which means that there?s no light shift there.
    Still.. GREAT job! And whatta hell?! We DO know the original picture does exist and that the billboard does exist so a little poetic license in the juxtaposition of both is permitted in MY book!

  3. It’s difficult, because the billboard is a GIF (lousy, lossy compression) and the other is a JPG … also lousy lossy compression in a different manner. Both have been so compressed that the artifacts of compression are so large that spotting a good retouch job that was done before compression is not possible. So we look for the big clues, not tiny pixel-sized details.

    If it were edited, adding the billboard is far easier than deleting it and having to draw in all that detail. Noting that the white truck (?) in the background is in the same position, none of the plants have grown or been cut, no trash has been added to the lot, and the shadows on buildings are all in the same places … the billboard was probably pasted into the picture of the vacant lot.

  4. The only way to really tell is to blow up the raw files (tiffs)and look for differences, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it is a careful photoshopping. Most people who look at pictures/documents know what signs to look for, so there’s less value in putting out an amateurish fake…

  5. Literal copy from an e-mail from my “man in Havana””:

    “no hay ninguna foto del viejo en el patio.
    Dile a tu amigo que no le puedo escribir hoy, pero tu le das el recado”

    For all of you that don’t know the repression in Cuba first hand, my source reads the blog from time to time, whenever he can get to it. But he has to write in “code”, and he cannot post on the blog for fear of being caught. He will smile when he sees this posting, and yes, I owe him this one and much more!

    The translation of what I copied on top reads:

    “there’s no photograph of the old man in the yard, tell your friend that I cannot write to him today, convey my message”

    That the billboard is a great superimposition job doesn’t take anything from the fact that there are billboards everywhere in Cuba, hammering communist propaganda into the heads of the regular folks… And the landscape surrounding the real billboards is not that different from the one shown in the pics….

  6. I posted the same picture now in the website with less compression. Also, I have the original picture which is not compressed. It takes 224,000 bytes. If anyone wants to see it send me an e-mail and I’ll be glad to send it to you.

  7. I’m not an expert but I work in advertising and have seen a lot of photoshop work. I believe the image with the billboard is not legit. It doesn’t matter anyway. The empty lot speaks for itself. The billboard, though not located on the actual lot, does exist. We know there are such billboards. We also know that lot is not a one of a kind phenomenon. Whoever did made the new image wanted to make a point. They got that particular image and married it with one of the billboard. I think if it were my blog I’d take down the altered photo and replace it with the unaltered one. Best regards.

  8. salidi?os val .
    tengo una pregunta que es eso de real cuba ?
    es una organizacion pro castristra ? ..o esta con nosotros ? ..por favor explicame porque estoy perdio
    muchas gracias
    y digo como siempre
    viva cubalibre

  9. Thinking about it –
    Let’s face it maybe there was NO intention to deceive anyone. The ruins DO exist; the billboards DO exist so a creative soul packaged TWO realities of today?s Cuba and gave us the incongruence of it all in a nicely assimilated 10 second commercial spot.
    We call that MARKETING in the USA.
    If Castro can say he is GIVING away Rice Cookers and they actually cost 150.00 Cuban pesos, then hey, THAT photo IS REAL!

  10. My friend and I are pro’s and faking shit like that… and let me tell you after having a close look at it… they’re the same freaking picture with the billboard warped and super imposed. Brilliant work for whoever did it, because I’ve seen that image elsewhere and never thought twice about it (and believe me I’m pretty good at spotting fakes.)

    Still, as KillCastro points out… it doesn’t take away from the truth. That’s Cuba and that man is to blame.

  11. Self correction and a desire to portray the truth, no matter the political impact, is the most simple of democratic values. I applaud you for clarifying this. The photo is damaging enough without photoshopping in the billboard.

    Peace. –s

  12. Songuacassal
    The thing that threw me was the perspective of the billboard it was PERFECT . Distorting a regtangle to match a sourrounding existing perspective is a BITCH. (Check the vanishing points – ON THE NOSE)
    Whoever did it also did some alterations that are minor but very skillfull (On the back top right) theres a white rope on the first pic that its not on the second.
    There is also a slight shift of reflected light but that could had just been the compression.
    He/She JUST missed the 3 pixels overlaping the banner and did not finish the grass at the foot of the left billboard footing, otherwise I wouldve bought DA WHOLE THANG!
    But I will congratulate Val for having the whole thing out in the light. Good Cuban moral stock ! But the way I feel ANY lie against THE BEAST is highly without sin.

  13. I agree with KillCastro…Any lies against the tyrant is justified!! Don’t look at the picture as a valid photo but instead, look to the message is trying to convey! You can put that image of castro anywhere in Cuba and its always the same, the same hopeless message to brain wash the Cuban people into a zombie like society according to his Godless iron hand.

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