Will get fooled again

This past Sunday the New York Times Magazine ran a photo essay by Edgar Martins titled “Ruins of the second Gilded Age” and posted an expanded slide show on its Web site. In its introduction to the photo essay the Times expressly stated that the photos had been produced without digital manipulation. What made the Times think they might be?

Minnesotan Adam Gurno (“unixrat”) leafed through the photos on his lunch break earlier this week and commented on Metafilter: “I call bull**** on this not being photoshopped.” By Wednesday the Times posted the following editor’s note:

A picture essay in The Times Magazine on Sunday and an expanded slide show on NYTimes.com entitled ‘Ruins of the Second Gilded Age’ showed large housing construction projects across the United States that came to a halt, often half-finished, when the housing market collapsed. The introduction said that the photographer, a freelancer based in Bedford, England, “creates his images with long exposures but without digital manipulation.”

A reader, however, discovered on close examination that one of the pictures was digitally altered, apparently for aesthetic reasons. Editors later confronted the photographer and determined that most of the images did not wholly reflect the reality they purported to show. Had the editors known that the photographs had been digitally manipulated, they would not have published the picture essay, which has been removed from NYTimes.com.

The trade blog PDNPulse covers the story with copies of the photographs here. Adam Gurno talks about his discovery of the fauxtography here. Gurno disclaims any photographic expertise apart from “the fact that he has several kids and occasionally uploads their pictures onto his computer.”

Via our old friend and former New York Times photographer D. Gorton.


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