back to article North Korea photoshops stroke from Kim Jong Il

North Korea has released a new pic of chairman Kim Jong Il, hoping to show the world that the communist despot/self-professed internet expert is alive and well and healthy enough to actually appear in public. But this may be a case of communist photoshopaganda. Three months after Kim Jong Il disappeared from public view amid …


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  1. Moss Icely Spaceport


    Vampires and Dear Leaders do not cast a shadow!!

  2. Joe Blogs
    Thumb Down


    And western journalists do the same on a daily basis... is this news or were you stuck for a story?

  3. Spoonguard

    In Stalinist Korea

    Photoshop Strokes You!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    We all know

    That the sun bends for Kim Jong Il

    Damn - where is that copter now??? They are coming to get ME!

  5. Louis Savain

    Look Even Closer

    It's not just the angle of the shadow on the wall. If you look carefully, it's not even the same wall.

  6. Webster Phreaky
    Dead Vulture

    That picture is actually Cade Metz, you can tell ...

    .... because the shadow is smaller due to his bony scraggly Frisco Liberal Chicken Legs.

  7. Andy Tunnah
    Thumb Up


    best word eva ?

  8. Dave Murray Silver badge

    The most important question is...

    Is he ronery?

  9. Kev K
    Paris Hilton

    ya think ??

    and the missing seam/line at the top of the step is not a give away either is it?

    Paris cos nobody would need to potatoshop her ;)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    learning fron New Labour

    I see he has been learning from New Labour how to get yourself included in photos you might have missed the taking of! Still at least New Labour look to copy North Korea in all their other policies, maybe Gordon hopes to be known as Dear Leader as well.

  11. Keith Ealanta

    Squat leader?

    Actually (unless I'm missing the element of the photo that is supposed to look photoshopped) it looks to me more like all the soldiers in the front row are standing with knees slightly bent to make him look taller.

  12. Cheshire Cat
    Black Helicopters

    Career limiting move

    I also note that the line at the top of the step mystereously disappears in that section of the picture.

    I suspect some photoshop jokey in N Korea is going off for 'reeducation' (sorry, I mean, 'retraining') right now...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A new word?

    > photoshopaganda

    I like it! Get it off to the OED immediately.

  14. Jiminy Krikett

    I think

    all we really need is old Kimbo reading todays news paper, on VIDEO!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @By Big, tattooed Fred

    Work at OUP. Will pass it on. AC because im suposed to be working, but im never good on Fridays.

  16. Simon Ward
    Thumb Up

    As one would expect ...

    ... the Something Awful Forum Goons have already picked up on this :-)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I almost feel sorry for the guy

    Stoke is a horrible place.

  18. youvegot tobejoking

    Will he get a gravestone like Spike Milligan?

    "I told you I was il"

    Mines the one with the gravestone in the pocket

  19. Paul Bottomley

    bend it like... sumg....ham ??

  20. blackworx

    You haven't seen the rast of Kim Jong Il! So rong, earthrings!

    The missing line thing is an odd one, especially considering the shadow of the soldier on Kim's left forms part of that clearly dodgy whole section. Difficult to tell from the top photo, but the shadof of Kim's head /seems/ to fall in the right place, and is the shadow of a shortarse.

    Perhaps whichever apparatchik was given responsibility for the Photoshopping actually did it deliberately as a subtle subversion of his masters' subterfuge? Otherwise it's a bit of a schoolboy error.

  21. Simon Greenwood

    Re: learning fron New Labour

    Anonymous Coward - I recognise your style. Aren't you brown_trousered26 on the BBC's sPeEk YoOr bRAinZ site?

  22. Pete

    OK so the shadows are wrong

    But surely the most obvious, and missed by everyone I have seen comment on this, feature, is the missing line (fold? stitching?) which is obvious behind the soldiers each side of him, but strangely missing from the section of white cloth behind his legs!

    When I first saw this story I could see the misaligned shadow but could easily explain that away by thinking that the drop sheet "could" be bulging out just where he was stood.

    The missing fold or stitching though, well it's a bit of a giveaway isn't it?

    In a way I feel guilty for pointing this out, as I suspect some poor innocent photoshopper will be severely punished for his/her mistake, but I am sure I am not the first, and I am certain I will not be the last, to notice.

  23. Colin MacLean

    I ron

    The lads either side of the Gorgeous Leader could have at least ironed their trews. Maybe they got dressed during one of the country's frequent power cuts...

    As it's Friday, here's a romp through the history of doctored images...

  24. TeeCee Gold badge


    Kim Jong Il is a trainspotter? Who knew?

    ('cos he's the one wearing the anorak, obviously).

  25. Herby

    Nice dresser!

    Is it just me, or is the (partial) picture of Mr. Kim the only one that has nicely pressed pants? The two guys next to him must have the wrong pant size (probably because they only have one in Korea), with all the wrinkles!

    As for being photoshoped: Bloody Obvious!

  26. dervheid

    "I suspect some photoshop jokey in N Korea...

    is going off for 'reeducation' (sorry, I mean, 'retraining') right now..."

    "But of course digging six foot deep hole out here in jungle is good preparation for re-learning. Now, please to lie face down for next exercise"

  27. Martin Lee

    The top of the step doesn't disappear.

    He's clearly dead centre of the stand, where there's normally a staircase, which normally doesn't have a lip.

    Not that I'm saying 100% this isn't photoshopped but that isn't any evidence at all.

  28. Trygve Henriksen

    The soldiers are hunking down!

    Just take a close look at the soldier on Kim's left.

    And yes, that's a classic 'trick' to make a leader stand out(or up as it were) a bit more.

    Of course, in situations where they have full control(as they should have here), they would normally give the leader something to stand on, then crop the picture...

    As for the difference on the edge of the step, that can be attributed to the steps not being the same shape all over. (The steps are too high to comfortably walk, so one section of the stands have a different set of steps. sometimes, this section is in the middle, and sometimes there are two sections, one at either end. depends on the size of the stands.)

    Of course, there's nothing in the picture to date it, so it could have been taken last year for all we know.

  29. Mr C

    why not use a lookalike?

    i dont know why they couldnt get a lookalike and put him there

    surely a much easier, cheaper and less risky move than this bungling

    hmm.. i'll stop giving them ideas now

  30. Lukin Brewer

    Should we attach any significance...

    to the fact that the officers flanking him are wearing rumpled, stained fatigues, but the rest of the men are in clean, pressed parade dress uniform?

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Kim Jong Il?

    No, Kim Jong Ded.

  32. Jehane Barbour

    Probably photoshopped...

    Compare this picture:

    with the one they've just released. Looks like that might be the source image?

    I came across that on Dark Roasted Blend. Here's a link to the page I saw it on (scroll down).

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Note the Back Row

    See how it bends down toward the middle?

    I wonder if the stands collapsed, just after this photo.

  34. Mike Byrne

    I always wonder with North Korean Photoshopping

    Did they pay for a license for it?

    Or did they Pirate Bay all their Photoshops?

  35. Chizo Ejindu
    Black Helicopters

    Personal Guards vs Army Regulards

    Looking at not only what they are wearing but where and how they are standing, i'd say at least 2 in not all 4 soldiers around him are all personal guards, the rest, in differing uniforms, are all cannon fodder.

  36. Andrew Alcock
    Black Helicopters

    There seem to be different "official" images...

    A Korean source has a subtly different version of the same image:

    The shadow is slanted in this picture, but is obviously a straight line rather than the more complex ones of the soldiers standing next to him. The line on the white step is missing in this picture as well.

    Shurely both can't be right?

  37. Joel Bjorge

    not entirely convinced

    I'm not entirely convinced this is faked. Not because I don't think they would, personally I think he's probably in a coma and everything they say about him is a lie, but I'm just not sure this picture is faked. First, the platform they're standing on is obviously angled and comes to somewhat of a point at the middle where he's standing - that explains the groove that isn't seen behind him (also, the groove isn't in the shadow of the guy to his left- if photoshopped it would be much easier to add the groove behind Kim than to remove it from the rest of the picture). Second, to me it seems he's standing just a little further forward than the guys next to him, that, along with the peak of the platform and the straightness of his legs, could account for the differing shadow. Third - the rest of him looks perfect - the lighting and shadow on his coat/body, the color and tone of his clothes and skin. If you're going to photoshop someone into a picture that perfectly, you're not going to screw up that bad on something as easy as a shadow. Fourth, as others have mentioned, it would be MUCH easier for the North Koreans to either use a look-a-like for a picture from that great a distance, or just pull out an old picture that no one's seen before. You know they must have LOADS of those on hand just for situations like this. I think everything that they say is a lie, but I don't think this picture was faked - just not taken recently or taken with a stand-in.

  38. Chris Richards


    Is the main worry not the different shadows, lack of seam etc, but that he looks like he's posing for a family snap than a military picture.

    Also, that one from the korean site is more than subtley different - he's standing on hay, not concrete ,and the guys next to him have nicely pressed trousers not the baggy pantaloons that seem to be en vogue with the korean soldiers these days.

  39. mazzy maxim

    he looks out of place

    if you invert the colors you see that he looks differnet compared to every single other guy in the photo, so dont be too worried about the shadow.

  40. JP Sistenich
    Black Helicopters

    BBC have a different reason

    The BBC have blown up the pic to spot pixel differences!

    And it's strange that the two next to him have REALLY baggy trousers, and everyone else seems nicely straight and ironed!

    Kim Jong Il:"Do you have any idea how f**king busy I am? "

    I'm so Ronley...

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Did you see

    Did you see any weapons of mass destruction in that picture?

    No, neither did I.

    Quick, let's invade them while Bush and his mates are still in charge.

  42. Louis Savain

    That phot is faked too!

    @Andrew Alcock:

    "A Korean source has a subtly different version of the same image:"

    Thanks for posting the link. This image is also photoshopped. Notice that the sunny areas on both sides of Kim are not as bright as the others. Me suspects that Kim Jong-il is probably dead or in a coma.

  43. J

    Looks as fake as a $3 bill

    The quality of the light is quite different on the wall and "shadows" behind him, specially in the image in the Korean newspaper sent above.

    And no, it does not seem like it could be a staircase behind KJI. The soldiers behind him, how? If all the steps are the same height as the the platform shelves, then why have a staircase? And finally, what's the chance the line would stop exactly behind each soldier?

    Photoshop, definitely.

  44. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    deliberately bad photoshop?

    As in "aaaagh, please help me... I was forced to do this photoshopaganda and I'm doing a bad job deliberately to let you all know..."? If so, the shopper has my sympathies and I hope nothing untoward happens them.

    xkcd? Ah, why not:

  45. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Might I suggest ...

    ... that the Dear Leader's publicity department seek some tutorials on the use of Photoshop. I can recommend the "You Suck at Photoshop" series quite highly.

  46. Andus McCoatover
    Dead Vulture

    Weirder and weirder..

    ..from Andrew Alcock's link


    I notice the creases in his trousers, shoe colour, shoe angle, anorak folds etc. are about the same as the Times article.- (North Koreans obviously can't afford new clothes, not even for a Beloved Leader)

    But, the blokes next to him have neatened their uniforms. Suddenly. And changed their shadows for the photo. Plus, swapped medals/ribbons between themselves. (Kim doesn't have any. Loser.)

    Odd, that...............


    We've a town near where I live in Finland called "II". Yep, honest (pronounced in English as "eee", without the PC or the lady on the beach). Reckon that's where the Beloved Leader's retirement home must be, Korean being reckoned to be the hardest lingo in the world, Finnish second - he'll find (after?)life here a doddle.

  47. Andus McCoatover

    Guy on the right of the piccie..

    Is it a gun in his pocket, or is his dick hanging out???

  48. D. M
    Paris Hilton

    It could be real photo

    It could be a real photo. As pointed out before, he was standing slightly forward then the rest. I also noticed the "wall" behind him is not the same. However if you look closely, you should notice it is not a wall, but a steel case or step. It is possible that the center of platform is not as the same height. More likely slightly lower to have a stairway to the top. When taking the photo, they added some steel case/step to make them same height as the rest of platform, so the poor guy in the upper level all seem to be on level.

    PH, 'cos she doesn't need to fake photo either.

  49. Ed



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