With the help of Photoshop fake news photographer Edwardo Martins shared his images with hundreds of thousands of people across news sites and social media. Along with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, mainstream publications including The Wall Street Journal along with The Telegraph have used images he supplied. One significant problem has come into focus: his images are faked with Photoshop, and so is his entire persona. He’s an entirely fake Photojournalist who used Photoshop to edit images and then claim them as his own.
Some of the photos being claimed as original images by the fake photojournalist were actually the work of Daniel C. Britt, a news photographer who has worked extensively in conflict zones. The images were manipulated in Photoshop so that they would not be easily recognizable as copies, and would not turn-up during reverse image searches. Yet many of the changes made were as simple as inverting or flipping the images. These modified images were used to create the appearance that this fake photojournalist was embedded in a conflict, they were also made available for sale through Getty images. While we teach many of these capabilities in our Photoshop classes, we also make sure to discuss Copyright law and ethics - both of which appear to have been missed by this individual.
The Photoshop fakery may have been too good, as he passed off images as his own, other reporters and photographers took notice. BBC Brazil published a number of the Photoshopped images along with a transcript from the fraudster. Other news photographers working in the areas where he claimed to be located had not seen or heard of him. He also claimed to be working with the United Nations, yet no one could find any record of him working or volunteering. He would not communicate in real time through a live conversation. Rather, he insisted on recording and sending audio messages through the communication platform WhatsAp. His unusual way of communicating in addition to the lack of any record of him in any area where he claimed to work started to cause the Photoshop fraud to unravel. The Instagram account he created has been deleted, and in a final message he indicated he planned to spend the next year in Australia, living in a van.
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