back to article New York Times uses palpably fake pic to illustrate Syrian warfare

The New York Times has used an obviously faked image with a strong resemblance to videogame visuals to illustrate the conflict in Syria, an eagle eyed Reg reader has pointed out. The story 'Ordering More Airstrikes, Syria Calls French Recognition of Rebels 'Immoral' ' carries a picture of a fighter holding a gun and firing …


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  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have swallowed enough of it during the first half of my life so now I can smell it from the distance of one kilometer or more, even with unfavorable wind blowing.

  3. JonP

    Looks alright to me...

    ...the gun thing for a start; you'd never see it held so oddly in a game - there's normally only a few generic position animations for the opposition / other players. Plus I don't think I've ever seen graphics that 'realistic' looking either (looking at the original here btw.).

    You need to stay in more!

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      1. DaLo
        1. DaLo
  4. CNS

    I'm surprised no one at the NYT reads The Register as the presumably fake photo is still being posted.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here is the embedded data:

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  6. Slap


    IMO that photo is real. I can understand people thinking its a screenshot from a video game due to the typical wide angle frame that FPS shooters use, not to mention the shooters pose appears somewhat unnatural. Also the apparent lighting upon first glance, especially on the person themselves, appears to be artificial. However taking a close look at the photo, even at its relatively low resolution reveals that the lighting is simply an illusion as a result of the combat gear he's wearing.

    As far as loosing control the belt fed machine gun is concerned, it's quite obvious that a shot has just been fired due the case ejection, but this is just one frame. We simply don't know what happened after.

    Everything else in the photo looks like its a real photo as well

    Nope, it's not a fake as far as I can see.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Real?

      Hey, I've got a crowbar. I'll help you get your tongue out of your cheek.

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    3. Eddy Ito

      Re: Real?

      I agree, looking at the photographers site and comparing this photo with some the others there it definitely seems plausible that and has a similar look. I will say that it does have a feel of a flipped photo as I assume the rifle is a PKM and while it's possible the belt runs over to the top side to feed it looks more like the belt is feeding from the lower side and the two shells have clearly ejected upward toward what would be the right side of the weapon; this is opposite the standard for a belt fed Russian firearm.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Real?

        If the shells come out of the left hand side you're going to get burnt pretty quick.

        1. Eddy Ito

          Re: Real?

          "If the shells come out of the left hand side you're going to get burnt pretty quick."

          I'd only get burned if I was standing in the fire. Seriously, I don't know why most if not all Russian belt fed guns feed from the right and eject to the left but they do. They also equip them with a bipod or tripod so perhaps if you ask the designer he will say, "you're holding it wrong".

          Note for the other thread, how about a "I don't know why it is, but it is" icon.

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          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Real?

            Probably RPD, not PKM.



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        1. Eddy Ito

          Re: Real?

          "The RPD is belt fed from the left."

          Oh yeah, nice catch. I'm still sticking to it being a PKM and the image reversed given the RPD ejects shells downward and not to the right.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Dear Reg.

    As far as my eyes can tell, this is a photo. 100% photographic, with possibly some touching up and cut and paste. Ok, that's not 100% photographic. But I can confirm it's not a game scene. Why? Hair. The guy has real hair, which is unheard of in a game. Well, you can render it, but it's more fuzzy than the reflection I get when I wake up in the morning and have been sleeping with my head on the vandergraph generator again.

    The scene was probably entirely setup. Perhaps for a film or just a clipart (it is Getty images after all).

    If my deduction is right, can you swing a reply my way? I'd also be happy to vet any images for you in the future. I've got an eye like a hawk... ahem, vulture. ;)

    PS, list is:

    Hair shows real "fuzz".

    Arms show real "skin + tattoo" (lighting too realistic for 3d, at least anything currently game sourced)

    Background could be 3D, but I'd say no due to no repeat of "texture" on the ground.

    Fire shows no repeats either or any clipping from "billboard" effects. So either setup with a pro pyrotechnic or a cut from another photo.

    The gun. There is so much wrong there, I can only imagine it's from a fans attempt to imitate "Rambo".

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    1. asdf


      Tire fires can burn for months if you have enough tires and seem almost as easy to put out as a coal mine fire.

      1. asdf

        Re: yep

        Wow totally off topic but a 6k yo coal fire. Ok tire fires are very tough to put out but many coal mine fires are impossible to put out.

        1. asdf

          Re: yep

          That fire predates Judaism even. Ok history lesson over.

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  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is faked, but not from a FPS

    I agree that the photo has a feeling of fakeness, but does not look coming from an FPS. I agree that it is too detailed to come from a game.

    The image seems to have different lighting levels for the fire, the person and the background. The soldier looks to be in motion but there is no blurring, which means that the exposure speed is short, which needs a lot of lighting to look good. In contrast, the street appears in shadows.

    Zooming on the bottom right of the fire I see something that could be brushing, fuzzy areas where fire and street background merge.

    My opinion: PhotoShop, yes, from an FPS, not.

    1. Alan Firminger

      Re: It is faked, but not from a FPS

      Good guess. I am impressed by the photographic quality but troubled by the lack of reflection from the flames on the gun and the person.

  11. Weeble9000

    Looks pretty real to me - try expanding the image to fill your whole screen.

  12. c2423

    The question isn't so much "is it real", but rather "how soon before all conflict photos are fake?" My bet is not too long.

  13. spork

    tires burn with very high energy

    Solid rocket fuel is polybutadiene with an oxidizer additive such as aluminum oxide. Polybutadiene == tire rubber.

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  15. Anonymous Coward 101

    Libyan Rebels

    The abiding image for me of the recent Libyan conflict was guys dressed in disco gear firing guns in a similar fashion to the man here. They were more likely to kill a goat in a field a mile away than any of Ghadafi's henchmen, but it was just for show.

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