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Chris Barker

Worst Coronavirus Fake News Images

Donald Trump - Someone who knows what it's like to be on receiving end of fake news images.

Photo retouching services lift lid on Coronavirus fake news images spreading faster than the pandemic itself.

Fake news, eh.

One of the most bandied around buzzwords of recent years. One which transcends sectors, industries, societies and indeed, generations. You might be forgiven for believing that there’s been more fake news images circulating than real, tangible news for the past couple of years. You wouldn’t be necessarily wrong, either.

Increasing numbers of questionnable ‘media outlets’ have busied themselves. Peddling all manner of what appeared to be seemingly fake headlines under closer scrutiny. And not so close examination, in some of the more laughable cases. Even the established and redoubtable broadcasting services have fallen victim to fake news images pitched in the midst of hoax stories.

An Epidemic of Coronavirus Fake News Images and Misinformation

From the throw-away, light-hearted and harmless through to the potentially more damaging and intentionally dangerous examples of the newly-adopted genre. Everyone has been privy to at least one count of fake news images. Including the highest office on the planet, that of the White House itself.

Which has made the topic hot of late, with ‘fake news’ being amongst President Trump‘s most favourite of phrases. Typically espoused when he’s defending one of his more curious monologues which leave the perma-puzzled in his wake. And frequented even more than the host of superlatives he insists on firing left, right and centre.

Although, conversely Trump himself often appears to propogate his own fake news stories with consumate ease. Look no further than his recent bold statements suggesting American citizens can best protect themselves from the coronavirus simply by injecting disinfectant into their bodies. That’s when he wasn’t claiming that irradiating patients’ bodies with UV light would also do the trick (insert LOL emoji here).

Lockdown Sees Upsurge in Coronavirus Fake News Images

Speaking of which, during these unprecedented times we have all witnessed a tsunami of Coronavirus fake news images being given copious amounts of airtime, as a pandemic of biblical proportions has swept the globe and impacted on all our lives to varying extents. Existing to further unnerve the already anxious with unfounded claims and fabricated statistics. Which serve only to spread even more fear during these uncertain times.

Preying on those who have no means of questioning (or challenging) the often scurrilous headlines, the fake news being widely distributed in seconds by social media outlets, has highlighted the on-going issue. And it’s not merely ambiguous words which are continuing to plant seeds in people’s heads. But a slew of Coronavirus fake news images too.

Coronavirus Fake News Images Have Gained Further Traction as Panic Spreads

Words themselves don’t paint the full picture. Whether they are genuine or not. And images have been equally doctored as the #trending fake news stories have continued to gain yet more colourful traction in our social conscience of late. The omnipresence of fake images to accompany – or be free-standing – of fake news stories has gathered much momentum. Seeping ever more into the sphere of the ‘new’ normal. The pre-lockdown ‘new’ normal, that is. The much-heralded post-lockdown ‘new normal’ will doubtless conjure up yet more intriguing variations on a mostly nefarious fake news images theme.

It’s as though society’s appetite for what can often be blatantly insincere news edits has perpetuated the culture for the inescapably unreal. As much via the visual as the written word itself.

As Jesus Jones Once Asked; Are These Coronavirus Fake News Images Real, Real, Real?

Only minus the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence.

And the ‘Coronavirus fake news images’ bit bolted onto the end for effect.

Deciphering the unbelievable soundbites and farcical rhetoric based on groundless hearsay (at best), or grandiose hyperbole (at worst) printed in the written word is a challenge. Yet some of the fake news images doing the rounds are a little less difficult to spot.

At least for us pros. Those of us equipped with an inherant knack for sifting through and extracting the chaff from the wheat.

Often it’s only photo retouching services providers who can distill what’s not quite what it appears at first or second glance. Steeped as we are in weeding out fakery. But then it’s not always that easy for us to determine.

Is Fake News Images Not Old Fake News Images?

Of course, fake news images are nothing new. They’ve cropped up (if you’ll pardon the pun) in one shape or another for years. Or rather, since the rise in popularity of social photography. Along with the onset of more media outlets which seem to solely exist for clickbait purposes. The type which brazenly exclaim; ‘Can You Believe That So-and-so (insert your own vacuous celebrity name HERE) Has Done Such-and-Such (insert wholly unbelievable claim HERE)?!’

To capture your attentions/hoodwink you into clicking on the breaking ‘news’ story.

The phenomena – if you want to refer to it as that – has been driven both by the preponderance of images available online. Together with the ease with which said fake news images can be manipulated by devious types with access to Photoshop. Although access alone doesn’t lead to proficiency. Or even entry-level understanding of the basic elements according to some of the more blatantly awful examples of fake news images doing the rounds.

The problem is it’s all too easy to plant the seeds of outright lies in the minds of the often easily fooled. At least, compared to how it was in a pre-internet/Photoshop landscape.

Cast your mind back to the 1950s, and the nefariously-intent fake imagery merchants had only scissors, paste and patience to fall back on to create fictitious collages in an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting.

Indeed, one such famous fake news image of the day depicted a certain US Senator, Millard Tydings. Whose very likeness was awkwardly superimposed next to the American Communist Party’s, Earl Browder. Much to his consternation thereafter.

You’ve Been Framed!

Maintaining a US politician vibe, who recalls the subsequent furore when Photoshop helped John Kerry ‘appear’ (for all intents and digital photo editing purposes) to be attending an anti-Vietnam War Rally with Jane Fonda? Admittedly not that many. Or more recently, the sitting President, Trump’s parents dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb?? Yup, with Photoshop the protagonist once more.

But of course, it’s not like Photoshop has gone all rogue of its own accord.

Behind all good/bad fake news images created by the planet’s go-to software package legitimately favoured by photo retouching services the world over, it’s a given that there’s a devious individual (or clandestine operation) at work behind the (photo-manipulated) scenes.

Impromptu Coronavirus Fake News Images Quiz

Truth is, many of us tend to get caught out by fake news images. Although we’re always too embarassed to concede that we’ve so easily sucumbed to such dubious means of blatant clickbait. But in our defence(s), some of the fake news images are less obvious than others. So we can be excused for being caught off guard. Some of the most trained eyes in the business might be hard-pressed to differentiate between what’s visually believable and what turns out to be the visual equivalent of the telling of porkies.

So, and without further ado, welcome to DT’s innaugral ‘Spot the Fake News Images Pic Just-for-fun During Lockdown Competition’. Where DT invites YOU to play along at home by trying to determine just which Coronavirus fake news images are real.

And which aren’t.

As in, which are fake. And which are genuine. The answers are at the bottom of the blog but please; no scrolling down. Remember, you’re only cheating yourself.

IMAGE 1 – Tango’d Trump

President Trump's Tango'd tanlines obviously a fake news story.

Right. We’ll start you with an easy one involving man of the moment. The Supreme Leader of the Tango’d Republic of The US of A himself; President Trump. Who appears to have overdone the old fake tanning products. At least, if this particular snapshot is to be believed. Your thoughts on this?

IMAGE 2 – (Lockdown) Life’s a Beach….

How NOT to social distance. American beachgoers in Jacksonville demonstrate disregard for lockdown rules.

Remaining on an American fake news images theme, and we turn our attentions to establishing the truth about the Jacksonville beach furore. Which purported to show the flouting of Covid-19 rules with regards to social distancing during the current global pandemic. Pictures of beach-goers flagrantly disregarding the measures put into place by the US government to try and limit the spread of the disease were widely circulated in recent weeks. But is this another case of fake news images being cynically peddled right now. Or the real deal? We’ll let you decide….

IMAGE 3 – Rower in Social Distancing Row

James Cracknell superimposed CLOSER to his father, as British tabloid falsely suggests former Olympic rower has broken social distancing rules. Typical  example of Coronavirus fake news images.

Here’s an interesting one found a little closer to familiar shores. The curious case of a former Olympic rower (and reluctant BBC Strictly Come Dancing competitor), James Cracknell visiting his parent’s home during imposed lockdown. Question is this. Are we glancing at fake news images or not? We’ll let you decide.

IMAGE 4 – Pulling 5Gs

Protesters in Hong Kong dismantling CCTV-added street lamp over security worries. NOT anything to do with 5G furore, falsely linked to Covid-19. Therefore Coronavirus fake news images.

This is a still from a video claiming to show angry Chinese citizens tearing down a 5G mobile antenna. Which was distributed on social media (including the account belonging to Hollywood’s Woody Harrelson) and generated thousands of views. This image has got to be real, no?

IMAGE 5 – Bottoms Up

Madagascan president championing 'miracle' cure for Coronavirus. Herbal drink with no clinically-known means of curing disease.

When the leader of a country tells you something that might sound preposterous to you normally yet kinda sounds vaguely viable during these strange times, you could be tempted to believe it. Unless that leader’s name begins with ‘Donald’ and ends in ‘Trump’. However a herbal-based miracle ‘cure’ presented in a bottle? As championed by Madagascar’s man-at-the-top? That’s probably all that it’s cracked up to be. Isn’t it?

IMAGE 6 – Art Imitating Life

Street art in Frankfurt in 2014. NOT a macabre scene of COVID-19 victims in Italy during 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. Startling example of Coronavirus fake news images circulating during these times.

This particular – and somewhat distasteful – image did the rounds of WhatsApp recently. Inferring that the photo depicts the bodies of coronavirus victims who had sucumbed to the disease on the streets of Italy. Yet in reality it could just as likely be a case of deliberate fake news images attempting to stir up mass hysteria. Your thoughts on this far more serious picture?

IMAGE 7 – Reality Down the Swanney

Swans and dolphins enjoying lockdown life, but NOT as the media would have you believe. In terms of geographical bearings.

And finally – returning to a less sombre image – are we to believe that nature is reclaiming its rightful territories during lockdown or not? I mean, it sounds wholly plausible. Not least because grass is growing back through the cobbles on our street and Welsh towns are being overrun by inquisitive goats and sheep running amok. But swans and dolphins taking to the canals of Venice? Really? Is this actually a thing?

Answers

Image 1 – FAKE!

Yup, even the dark overlord himself isn’t THAT heavy-handed with the fake tanning products. So the epitome of fakeness in this rare, collector’s edition instance, is the ‘enhanced’ photo itself.

Image 2 – REAL!

Sadly people on this particular American beach resort weren’t following Coronavirus-triggered social distancing protocols. And freely mingling with each other when they really oughta not have been. Therefore a lesser-spotted item of non-fake news imagery.

Image 3 – FAKE!

Photos of James Cracknell mindfully social distancing himself in the garden were cynically doctored by past-masters of deceit, The Daily Mail. So as to paint the former Olympic rowing gold medallist as flouting the current rules surrounding social distancing and shielding of the more vulnerable members of society.

Image 4 – FAKE!

The image is genuine as such, however the story not so. This old picture actually shows protesters in Hong Kong in August 2019. Who were attempting to remove what was reported to be a ‘smart lamppost’ equipped to collect data. More piffle and poppycock, basically, to allude to something else entirely and perpetuate a sense of social unrest.

Image 5 – FAKE!

The herbal tonic given the offical presidential nod of approval by Madagascar’s Andry Rajoelina turned out to be a bit of a bum-steer, so to speak. This so-called ‘preventative remedy’ (as claimed by said president) is a herbal tonic sold under the name, Covid-Organics. Derived from artemisia – a plant which contains an ingredient used to treat malaria – tests implied the bottled drink had cured two people living on the island nation. However no peer-reviewed research or actual evidence existed to authenticate this claim.

Image 6 – FAKE!

In the event, a blatant fake news image aimed to scaremonger. Reality being that this image was lifted from a contemporary art project which took place in Germany in 2014. Which involved participants taking part in a real-time art installation requiring them to lie down in a pedestrian zone in Frankfurt. this was in rememberance of the 528 victims of the Katzbach Nazi concentration camp atrocities.

Image 7 -FAKE!

More codswallop engineered to fool those of us who wanted to believe that the animal kingdom are making the planet their own once more. The truth is the swans are regular visitors to the canals of Burano. A small island in the Greater Venice metropolitan area, where the photos were actually taken. ‘Venetian’ dolphins – also captured on social media around the same time – were filmed at a port in Sardinia hundreds of miles away.

Digital Image Retouching Specialists Approve of Lockdown-era Re-creation of Iconic Works of Art

Picasso-inspired artistic woman to wear fish on her head in real life lockdown famous artwork challenge.
So Picas it hurts

All sorts of weird and wonderful distractions are abound during lockdown. That much is true. As the good folk of the UK (and far beyond) try to wrestle with/digest their individual and collective understanding of the ‘new norm’. As digital image retouching specialists, we’re no different. And have been striving to keep ourselves positive, productive, focused and healthy of mind, body and spirit throughout this extraordinary period.

Photographically-enhancing client’s image requests have of course helped us remain on the right side of preoccupied, it’s fair to say.

Famous Art Gallery Invites Self-isolating Creative Types to Reimagine Familiar Compositions. With the Help of Household Objects

Many of us have connected with our more creative sides, while others have chosen to test their cerebral resolve by quizzing their way through lockdown.

Some meanwhile have thrown themselves into completing the DIY tasks that they’ve been conveniently putting off for months, if not years. A large percentage of the British populace have pursued their exercise goals. Or rather, sworn themselves to following brand new physical training regimes. Having never really immersed themselves in anything other than briefly/vaguely fulfilling half-baked New Year’s resolutions involving gym memberships.

But DT is pleased to report that art has experienced something of a renaissance during this difficult time, as a raft of online challenges have jostled for our attentions.

Noel Fielding’s Twitter-based Saturday Art Club, together with a number of TV programmes (Grayson’s Art Club) suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Serving to rekindle our romance with a subject matter which some of us haven’t practised since GCSE Art. Or even before that, and in our Tony Hart-influenced days of yore, if of a certain vintage.

The Scream; as interpreted by a contemporary art fan recreating said composition during lockdown.
Scream if you wanna go faster. On the spin cycle

Gettying Your ‘Creative On’ Gets Digital Image Retouching Specialists Vote

Amongst the various creative endeavours and entertaining tasks thrown down to a (very) captive audience of late, is one dreamed up by such luminaries as The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Well, almost (please read on).

The very same Getty Museum that’s widely regarded as one of the world’s best-loved museums,. According, we assume, to sources who have conducted some sort of poll to determine this at a past juncture.

At the beginning of lockdown the Getty Museum challenged art fans residing anywhere within the global village to recreate an existing, preferably identifiable work of art. Sourcing everyday objects lying around in the would-be contemporary artists’ homes. For ‘objects’ also read ‘people’ to hand. Those who might want to be an actual living part of such a wildly inventive composition.

Art fans indulge their compositional passions with various makeshift props - and pets - during lockdown.
Art retrieval at its finest

The Rules of Art Club Are. You Talk About Art Club

Abiding by the three simple rules of engagement, the only real stipulations were as follows.

Firstly entrants should choose their favourite artwork.

Secondly, they needed to locate three things which just happened to be languishing around their familiar home surrounds to improvise as props.

Finally, they were asked to ‘reimagine’ the original piece of art in a new and hitherto unseen fashion.

Prior to uploading the subsequent work online, and shortly before comparing and contrasting with other like-minded/budding artist’s creative efforts.

It all kinda makes sense, given we can no longer visit our favourite art galleries and museums.

More especially at a time when we’re all in need of a little spiritual uplifting and inspiration of one kind or another. A thought echoed by Getty’s Assistant Director of Digital Content Strategy, Annelisa Stephan. She told one media source; “Our vision is to use digital to create community through art.”

Which is very admirable right now.

What’s the Uptake Been Like?

In a word – impressive.

The overall standard on the other hand, might not be described with equal gusto.

But God (other deity’s are widely available) loves a trier. As much welcome, light-hearted distractions go, Getty’s call to artistic arms has definately piqued the interest of bored fellow quarantiners. Many tens of thousands of whom/followers showing their love as we write. Extending to digital image retouching specialists like Digital Touch.

Although Getty isn’t the only artistically-inclined resource which has provided the platform in which to upload your compositional re-works on.

Indeed, the seeds of this idea were initially sewn by a Dutch Instagram account who (controversially) first had the idea. Elsewhere, the comically-named ‘Covid Classics’ (cited as a popular Instagram account comprising of ‘four roommates who love art… and are indefinitely quarantined’) is also claiming additional bragging rights for having set the ball rolling.

Despite the claims and counter claims, the ‘Getty Museum Challenge‘ is the one receiving all the plaudits as part of the bigger virtual picture.

Have We Not Seen Something Similar to This Before, With the Help of Photoshop?

Aha. Yes.

You obviously have great memories. And clearly read all DT’s blogs. Although last time round it was more a case of celebrities being superimposed – via Photoshop – on famous works of art.

But good call, nevertheless.

Couple get in on lockdown famous art work re-creation challenge, as instigated by Getty Museum.
That’s right. You keep straight faces now

Is It Too Late to Join in the Fun?

No.

As right now we still have any amount of people across the globe enthusiastically transforming themselves – and their nearest belongings to hand – into instantly recognisable paintings. From Michelangelo’s, ‘The Creation of Adam’ to Edvard Munch’s, ‘The Scream’. And everything else in between by the looks of it.

Including Magritte’s more surrealist paintings and Frida Kahlo’s portraits.

Utilising a range of both elaborate (and makeshift) props to graphicise their creations. Toilet rolls, for example, to illustratively portray neck ruffles. And tangled laptop chargers as means of channelling Medusa’s mythical hairdo.

We’ll leave the last word to the Getty Museum though. Who says; “We wanted to offer up a creative challenge to find refuge from the uncertain state of the world and to spark excitement to get creative — no extra materials required.”

And we say bravo to that.

Coronavirus Lockdown Gives Rise to Making Reconnections With Our Photographic Histories

Man standing atop mountain

We’re currently living through somewhat surreal and largely unprecedented times, which just a couple of months back nobody would have predicted. A time and a place where no one is quite sure what happens next. Or even what – or indeed, when‘next’ will transpire as.

Most of us are using this newly-precious, yet strangely unfamiliar time to reconnect with – and invest in -a simpler way of life. Love and family and community are the new currencies by which we exchange our literal ‘goods’, as we bear witness to a more stripped back existence. Arguably what some of us have been advocating for years, yet never envisaged would be triggered by such an extraordinary set of circumstances beyond any of our control.

And yes, many of us are choosing to be a little retrospective and turn to happier, or at least, more emotionally-secure times gone by to steal ourselves a little peace of mind. Learning new coping mechanisms to make what sense we can of what’s been thrust upon us all at the start of 2020, and the testing weeks and months which lie ahead.

But we’re not going to dwell on any fleeting or more entrenched negativity, instead concentrating on the positives.

Like so many others are focusing their energies on during these challenging times. The wave of hope and optimism emerging from a wealth of quarters is both joyous and uplifting, and something tangible we can all embrace and work with during these difficult days. Days in which we give thanks to those looking out for us.

Living, breathing guardian angels in the form of NHS staff, together with those whose ancillary jobs include feeding a nation and delivering for and to a populace in isolation. Yet where social connectivity is one of the keys to maintaining both our spiritual and physical wellbeing, and harnessing a new-found strength of self.

Venturing Back to the Future To help Bring Sense of Calm To Present

Many of us are using this period to remind ourselves of what’s really important in our lives. Family, community and togetherness being at the very heart of everything true and palpable like never before. Not to mention a human spirit and inherant benevolence and fervour for a broader, wider, deeper-running community, which is hugely inspiring to observe and contribute to.

You don’t need us to tell you, but one of the best conduits we have to our past – be it the more immediate one or that which we feel compelled to revisit right now – is the hitherto situated within the very fabric of the visual. By that, we mean the photograph.

Arguably one of the most rudimental of interactive fusions with who and what we once did. With whom we enjoyed these timely snapshots and cemented memories. As it’s memories which are certainly helping us to sentimentally navigate our way through this potentially psychologically-demanding minefield, not least courtesy of social media.

Creation of Adam with smartphone

Our Celebrated Pasts Could Well Be Visual Keys to Our Collective Futures

Now instantly identifiable as our ‘go-to’ lockdown companion and technical touchstone to a world which has seemingly altered and distorted beyond anything we have historically acknowledged, the devices which we grasp in our hands are perceivably tantamount to Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’.

And yes. Drawing comparisons to the iconic art which resplendantly decorates the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with mobile telecommunications may sound a little pretentious, however we are ultimately giving each other life here and now; and a platform to construct a new way of existence from.

When you think about it, when before has what lies directly beneath our fingertips been as virtually imperative to, and without over-egging it, our collective sanities as a nation hunkered down and physically segregated and detached from each other.

Where previously our smartphones, tablets and laptops were measured more in terms of their materialistic values, they have all of a sudden metamorphacised into societal lifelines. And when we’re not keeping in aural touch with our absent-with-leave loved ones, we’re checking in on what until late was viewed by detractors as our un-real world. The sphere we were all guilty of dedicating a little too much time to. A social condition which was, to some, bordering on the unhealthy.

However now it’s not just acceptable to wile away hours on our phones, but actively encouraged; perverse as that edict might have been to conceive just a few months back.

Under lockdown our cultural sensitivities have been skewed, as they present as our only portal into each other’s daily lives. A parallel universe of immeasurable worth which we all enthusiastically subscribe to as a means of staying in touch as we strive to staying safe.

Amongst the many spirit-uplifting memes and posts doing the rounds since drastic lockdown measures were introduced – and subsequently adopted by millions of Britsphoto challenges have made an always welcome return to the realms of social media. Which gets our vote every time. Irrespective of whether we’re living our ‘normal’ lives or trying to survive what we could be forgiven for believing was the impending apocalypse. Which it by no means is, just to reiterate. However desperate and disenfranchised we might feel.

Every theme imaginable, from ‘our most memorable bike rides’ and ‘posting pics of ourselves as kids compared to what we look like now’, through to ‘our favourite seaside or mountain pics’ and naturally, ‘best dogs and grandchildren pics’. Although not necessarily together as the one entity. But that’s not to say you couldn’t if you fancied. As let’s face it, there’s no particularly binding rules at this juncture. Save for the actual Government-legislated ones we’re all rightfully adhering to as part of the bigger picture.

Social Media Photograph Challenges Spread Sense of Happiness and ‘We’re in it Together’ Mentality

Another participant-enabling social media photograph challenge which caught DT’s eye has to be the popular, ‘Until Tomorrow’ example of the spontaneously-occuring genre, which surfaced on Instagram in recent days. Which sees users post unflattering throwback pics of themselves, complete with a cryptic caption. Terms and conditions stipulate that if you like someone’s photographic upload, you must post your own embarrassing snap and keep it on your profile for 24 hours thereafter.

Properly distracting stuff, which DT wholeheartedly supports.

Elsewhere, another time-consuming photo-based challenge-of-sorts invites people to post what they consider to be the most photogenic pics of themselves – and only themselves – prior to tagging 10 of their equally most photogenic friends to do the same. All in the name of projecting positivity. OK, and perhaps a little borderline narcissism. But hey. We can all be excused that on this occasion, right?

Everywhere we turn the internet is awash with a veritable smorgasbord of online photo challenges to keep us all preoccupied during lockdown, the majority of which quickly go viral, for want of a better word. Which naturally serves as a very worthwhile diversion ploy as we try to detract our gaze away from the darker stuff. Much of which can be largely inescapable within an online surround as we write.

Anything goes in terms of photograph-derived outlets to sidetrack us from the aforementioned parallel universe we all seemingly feel we’re living in right now, with new – and possibly more elaborate – themeologies being willingly dreamt up by the day. As they should.

Focus More on Ourselves and Reconnect With Positive Life Experiences We Can All Draw On During More Melancholy Times

It’s not difficult to understand why such pastimes have gained traction. After all, reminiscing over old photos has always offered a safe haven in an emotional storm. And now is definately no different. That’s because as humans we crave comfort and belonging in images that capture passages in our lives which project good times. Stress free times. Carefree times. The sort which were commonplace up until a few weeks ago. Not that DT is flirting with pessimism, let it be known.

This passage of unrecognizable time will pass, make no mistake.

And with it the anxieties which many of us are experiencing. Yet while it’s played out in homes up and down the country, now is the time to remind ourselves of that most precious of commodities. Us. Each other. Our loved ones. Our nearest and dearest. And the photographs we keep of those we hold closest to us act as a significant ocular conduit to this, perhaps now more than ever as we seek solace, meaning and positivity throughout what we’re being asked to accept as the ‘new normal’. For the foreseeable future at least.

Old black and white photo album

Sorting Out Old Photo Albums is Gaining Popularity Here and Now

Meanwhile, another photo-based pursuit is providing further much-needed distraction during lockdown. And as pastimes go something many of us are immersing ourselves yesterday, today and tomorrow. It’s also fair to comment it’s a job quite a few of us have been putting off for as long as we care to remember. Only now we have no excuse for avoiding when we’re captive audiences within our own four walls. Especially once we’ve exhausted all other outlets purporting to home entertainment.

That includes lining up the week’s recycling on the stairs and taking aim at our discarded milk cartons and pizza boxes with the air pistol you found hidden deep within the bowels of the garage which you accidentally had no choice but to tidy a few days earlier.

I doubt DT are alone in that particular means of time-wasting.

Back to our evocative memories caught on Fuji Film though. Or whatever other means of 2D capture facilitated back in the days of 80s family caravan holidays. For that also read bank holiday road trips to castles and/or the seaside, which were apparently educational. All of which have been screaming out to be aesthetically revised for modern day interaction, along with broader sharing amongst friends and families at this time.

C’mon.

What better window of opportunity will we all have to finally sort out those compendiums of old school photo albums which lurk in the shadowy receses of the family home? Or alternatively those languishing unloved in the back of wardrobes located in the spare room/attic. eg, none whatsoever.

Many people will dedicate a chunk of time to perhaps digitally regenerating their original photographs so as to afford themselves easier access and versatility in the distribution of images. Be it to engage in the very latest social media photograph challenges or simply bring their old photos out of the dusty shoebox vaults and kicking and screaming into the 21st Century by means of whatever digital restorative process readily available to them.

Picturing a Different Future Can Be a Positive Visualisation

One thing is for sure through all this though. And that is photos – and the memories encapsulated within – will unequivocally act as a soothing visual blanket to many of us during these uncertain days and nights. An instantaneous channel and tangible feed to an escapist idyll which is familiar to us all. And a timely reminder that what’s gone before will come again.

We’ll pictorially cement more – and new – memories for our future’s future and beyond. It’s just what we do and have always done – well, since photography was invented – and right now makes us feel a little more human. And in touch with our innermost selves as materialitic habits and ethos’ of old are cast to the wind and society undergoes something akin to what many might concur to be a much-sought reset.

When we look back on 2020, the visual image more than many elements will tell the whole story. A story of how the global community joined as one to fight an unseen enemy at the gates, and how we all photographically documented the highs, the lows and everything in-between for both ourselves and future generations.

Stay safe, stay indoors, we’ll meet again….

Digitally Scanning Photos for Business or Personal Reasons

Digital scanning photos is hugely popular means of cataloging important images for both business and personal use.

Your favourite old photos has a stubborn coffee ring/stain across it. What do you do?

Or if your wedding photos are damaged in a flood?

Or if you wish to transfer your business’ entire image catalogue’s. Well, the back catalogue from physical brochure prints to your brand new website? Less upsetting, yet equally as important from a more corporate aspect.

The answer is pretty much one of the same.

Get in touch with a review site-leading photo retouching service. One which specialises in digitally scanning photos. In the business of restoring your all-important images. Or elsewhere, scanning them in their current workable form. So you can then subsequently transfer them onto your company’s site.

Old photos sadly don’t last forever, you see.

Unlike the memories which are captured in the original event. Cemented within the mind’s eye for future visual recall. Images will inevitably fade with the passage of time. Regardless of the original paper quality. However much you try to protect it.

Unless of course you have ready access to an archive library or the National Museum. Where various images are preserved for posterity. Typically behind all manner of protective materials. Safeguarded from rigours of time by vacuum-sealed vaults, according to Hollywood’s interpretation.

Regrettably in a world where Indiana Jones doesn’t exist, not everyone can benefit from such scientific/historic means of (light and contaminant-proof) undisturbed deep-storage techniques. As most of our old pics tend to get shoved in sock drawers. That, or exposed to a little too much natural light when displayed on mantlepieces. Eventually leading to deterioration.

What Measures Can I Take To Save My Old Photos?

Not all hope is lost. Thanks to digitally scanning photos. Companies like Digital TouchHi! Hello! – can restore your precious images to their former pictorial glories. Depending on extent of wear and tear. Alternatively they can be visually reproduced in the very likeness of the original photo, as is. So long as it’s defied some of the ageing process.

You see, there are a number of reasons why we might be asked to scan old photos. Determined by whether the approach is made from a business or personal perspective.

Typically, personal clients request restoration of photographs by way of sending hardcopy images to be scanned. Prior us then transferring them to digital. Usually involving restorative practices/procedures which effectively breathe new life into their most precious photos.

Conversely with corporate clients, enquiries tend to focus on the bulk scanning of old stock catalogues. Which are then made internet-ready before being uploaded onto a company’s website. This digital route saves the time, money and manpower required to arrange an entire new photoshoot for specific product lines.

Additionally, our talented team can than burn all these scanned photos and images to disk, whether the brief is for business or pleasure ends.

Why Would I Be Interested In Digitally Scanning Photos?

Old photos are all too often subject to general wear and tear. Physical photographs are historically prone to damage. Be it water-based or as a result of discoloration, creases or accidental tears. Making digital copies of these images futureproofs your cherished pictures. From a business perspective, this represents a virtual way to increasing a stock image library. This in turn ensures future generations will be able to look back even more fondly at graphic memories. Ones which will look as fresh as the day they were taken.

And then there’s space.

Not the bit a few miles due north. Rather those excess areas in our homes and offices. Just think how much room conventional (and traditionally cumbersome) photo albums, frames and storage boxes take up? All of which can be replaced by hundreds of thousands of digitally-recreated images. Residing on a single external hard drive. A device barely bigger than a smartphone.

Did You Just Mention a Smartphone? Can’t I Just Take a Photo of the Original Image on my Mega-pixel Smartphone?

What? Because it’s 2020 and all that….

Well, you can. Hypothetically. However it’s not the best idea. Yes, they’re a convenient way of taking snaps. And yes, they’re affordable. Ish. That said, if you’ve ever attempted to capture the image of a print photo on your phone’s camera, you’ll know that the results can be a bit hit and miss.

Mostly miss.

Either way, they’ll end up looking very different from the original photo.

Smartphone cameras have developed rapidly. Yet what they haven’t managed to invent up to now is tech which doesn’t pick up glares from any natural (or artificial) light source in a room. Which will almost always obscure the image at the centre of the printed photo. Don’t forget, a shadow of your smartphone will also likely put in an appearance. They always do.

Also don’t start us on inconsistencies in the photo itself. Scratches, dents, dirt, etc.

So no, not really advisable as a short cut.

But I Can Buy a Scanner for £30 These Days and Do The Job Myself?

Nothing is stopping you, no. Providing you’re not bothered with the actual image quality. Basically you pay for what you get. Essentially a £30 scanner won’t be providing the visual presentation you envisage it might.

On the other hand, a professional digital photo retouching service facilitates state-of-the-art scanning hard and software. Plus there’s the whole experience thing you’re paying for. We have 20 years experience in photo restoration. We also have the resources and techniques to create seamless imagery. Fact.

Anything Else I Should Know?

Photo scanners available on the high street to consumers are very limited since the advent of digital cameras. Which quickly became the new tool of choice. And those which currently exist – and designed for photographic use – haven’t witnessed a features evolution in decades. Plus, even if you do venture down that route of ownership, you’ll quickly find the whole process of scanning and digitizing images incredibly labour-intensive.

From removing strips of film (or single prints) to manually adjusting colour, brightness and contrasts with each individual photo and cropping. The whole process is a painstaking proposition. More so if you’re looking to work your way through a bulk of corporate images. Any which require transfering to the digital age/platform. Or transposing a large back catalogue of personal snaps as part of a project. The like of which you’ve been putting off for a long time.

Oh, and don’t forget.

Once those files are finally scanned, it’s likely you’ll want to create and save back-ups. Again, a time and a place when the word ‘laborious’ springs to mind.

So Why Choose Us When it Comes to Digitally Scanning Photos?

Because we are passionate about saving your precious photos of a personal nature. Together with digitally transforming images which are important to your business going forward. Whatever your particular brief is.

Digitally scanning photos in high resolution. Restoring them where needs be. And furnishing clients with dedicated digital files and fresh new prints of old pics at their request. Additionally, we’re equipped to work from your own scans and files, if preferred.

What Resolution Will You Scan My Photos At?

Very good question.

High resolutions are nearly always necessary to achieve the optimum visual result. The nature of the images scanned, notwithstanding. In our experience, 300 dpi is sufficient. However should a client require their photograph to be printed larger than the original, then we recommended that they are scanned at an even greater resolution. Theoretically between 400 and 600 dpi. To ensure maximum reprint benefit.

Whatever the brief is, stock business images or old family snaps can be digitally scanned by us. In strict confidentiality. As part of a service which affords clients the opportunity to digitalise (and back-up) both commercially-advantageous or precious personal images. Supplied with multiple copies on both disk and USB.

What’s more, Digital Touch also offers a restoration aspect for bringing those old, damaged images back to life. Thanks to the wealth of professional Photoshop experience we possess. Which has seen us retouch scratches, tears, faded colours, blemishes, skin tone corrections and/or distracting background elements. All part of our full service approach.

Get in touch for more details….

Leading Digital Wedding Photo Retouching Services Provider Reveals Most Common Wedding Photo Fail

Important family members missing from key pics capturewd on bride and groom's special day, amongst most common wedding photo fail.

As a digital wedding photo retouching services provider, we’re often asked as to what we believe are the worst possible scenarios involving wedding photos? Well, if not ‘worst’, then most prevalently neglectful, let’s say.

We’d imagine if the question of the ‘worst’ was put to the general public. In a ‘Family Fortunes-esque in a survey to determine just what percentage of the general public said?’ kinda way. In which event all – or some – of the following classic faux pas’ would be worth a few points on the board. So to speak.

Sudden gust of wind billowing up bride’s dress

Accidental/unforeseen photobombing by third parties

Clearly innebriated guests caught off-guard wearing haplesss expressions

The mother of the groom – not so secretely – looking daggers drawn at the mother of the bride (or vice versa)

Comprehensive/comical/tragic over-exposure of the bride/groom’s money shot

Melted/collapsed wedding cakes

The list of possibilities is pretty infinite. Once you’ve discarded these more traditional examples.

You’re Not Talking About ‘Blatantly’ Bad Shots in Desperate Need of Digital Wedding Photo Retouching Services, Are You?

No. We’re not referring to premeditated works of bad wedding photography. The staged likes of which are more prominent in other parts of the world. Russia, for example. Where wedding pics tend to look more ‘stylised’, for want of a better word. A better word being, ‘contrived’. Some of which end up being so bad that they’re actually good. Ish.

Or at least should be marked highly for originality of composition. Less so for believability factor. Critically when you witness the bride and groom re-imagined as mythical creatures. Lifted straight from the pages of a work of literary fiction.

Think ‘Game of Thrones’. However not quite as visually polished. Courtesy of a more limited digital wedding photo retouching services budget.

Type the words ‘worst wedding photos ever’ into any popular search engine. Go on. The chances are you’ll discover page after page of contenders in this category.

Leading Digital Wedding Photo Retouching Service Reveals Most Recurrent Wedding Photo Fail

But we’re not here to focus on deliberately fantastical/opinion-polarising wedding photos in this blog. Instead we’re keeping things real. And reveal what is, arguably, the most repeated reason why we’re approached by clients. Mostly desperate to rescue their best wedding shots.

And that is (drum roll optional)…….wedding photographers who forget to add a family member in the key pictures on the big day.

And trust us. This is definately ‘a thing’. And if you weren’t aware of ‘it’ being a thing, remember you heard it here first.

What Do You Mean, They ‘Forget to Add a Family Member?’

We know. It does sound a little strange.

Yet neglecting to recall the bride’s precise instructions to ensure that Uncle So-and-so or Auntie Whatsherface are included on the periphery of an all-important family shot are never isolated incidents in digital wedding photo retouching services circles. We can assure you.

Indeed. If we had a pound for every time we were approached by a client anxious for us to belatedly superimpose the likeness of the aforementioned extended family absentees onto an existing picture, etc, etc.

The etc, etc in this case translating as we could subsequently afford to plan our early retirement.

Of course, when we refer to absentee family members not so much fading into the background of an all-important wedding photo as not being seemingly present full stop, we know what you’re thinking. Your mind is probably flitting to that iconic photo of Marty McFly‘s ever-diminishing siblings from ‘Back to the Future’. And the fading memories brought about by a re-imagined foreseeable.

Be assured, the scenario we’re talking about is a lot less dramatic. Yet still a massive deal for brides and grooms. Especially if confronted with a supermassive hole where in-laws were physically stood on the special day.

It’s An Easy Mistake To Make

Let’s get one thing perfectly straight, before we go any further.

We’re not in the business of calling out wedding photographers.

Far from it. We count many among our closest professional/creative colleagues and have historically collaborated with a host of them. And they also have a habit of getting in touch with us. In the rare instances when they might have unintentionally forgotten to juxtapose a much-loved someone from the wedding party in close viccinity to the bride and groom.

But accidents happen. And often, in the cut and thrust of a wedding day. That being said, failing to pictorially acknowledge the presence of any of the following guests is an oversight which is largely forgiven. Once the damage has been reversed by the endeavours of a digital wedding photo retouching service. Who’ll magically save everyone’s blushes by getting their ‘creative’ on and plundering Photoshop.

Shortly after receiving a bride and/or wedding photographer’s SOS.

Wedding between the lines, Marty McFly's fade-away photo resembles wedding photos with misisng family members.

Is It really Such a Big Deal at the End of the Day?

Er, hello?!

We can only assume that you’ve not been a bride or groom any time recently. Also don’t ever talk like that in the company of either party. Particularly those who remain in the throes of explaining to the unexpected absentees in the wedding photos just why they didn’t make the final cut. And trying to reassure them that it’s merely a technical glitch in the process of being rectified.

You see, the bottom line is this.

Everyone knows that photos play a huge part in any wedding day. After all (the wedding cake has been consumed and the party poppers and discarded bride’s bouquet brushed up), they stand as the one tangible thing that remains from the big day.

Therefore it goes without saying that people quickly become fairly emotional about the wedding album. And perfect pictures are the cherry on top of the (possibly slumped) cake. Something which can be visually referred to at any family gathering thereafter. And any/every family gathering thereafter until the next Ice Age.

So, What Do We Do To Pacify All Parties When Confronted With Wedding Photos Sans Important Guests of The Bride and/or Groom?

We do everything within our powers to create a virtually seamless image. One that not even the most professional of wedding photographers would believe had ever been enhanced. Such is the degree of attention to detailing. Essentially, clients will never see a join.

Nor think for one minute that said errant wedding guests (in terms of resultant photos in the aftermath, NOT on the actual day itself) didn’t appear in the original photo. Such is our unswerving dedication to correcting the issue which has been giving; A) the bride/groom or B) the embrassed wedding photographer sleepless nights ever since the truth was outted.

Think of us as a digital wedding photo retouching services fairy. The ostensibly (good) Witch of the West from ‘The Wizard of Oz‘. She who sprinkles magic dust from her wand. Prior to transposing the ruby slippers hitherto worn by her recently house-flattened evil sister onto the feet of Dorothy. Yup. We’re as useful and miracle-working as that. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if the munchkins hadn’t penned a little ditty celebrating Digital Touch.

Anyway, where were we? (DT‘s resident blog writer slowly comes round after receiving a knock to his head whilst caught in a storm).

That’s right. Telling you that in our experience, wedding photographers forgetting to add a family member in wedding photos is the most recurrent wedding photo fail. And thus unsurprisingly accounts as one of our most common client enquiries. Fact.

So, with this in mind, you know what to do. If/when you’re horrified to discover that poor Uncle Buck or Aunt Sally have been unwittingly overlooked in your show-stopping wedding pics. And you need to rectify this glaring visual omission before they visit next to see the wedding album.

And that’s to get in touch with us!

What You/We (Including Those Responsible for Digitally Retouching Photos for a Living) Can and Cannot Photograph

Eiffel Tower photos taken at night might be illegal if used for advertising and promotional purposes.
This image is legal. And free. Apparently

When we’re not busying ourselves digitally retouching photos for both business and personal clients, some of our core team can be found out in the field taking snaps of pretty much anything and everything. For field; also read ‘mountains, cycling routes’ and ‘tennis courts’ too. Basically we have a habit of pointing and shooting at whatever piques our visual antennae when we’re out and about. Or escaped the office surrounds.

Understandably permissions must be sometimes sought before we reach for our camera-primed smartphones and focus our attentions on various subject matters. Particularly should they feature the presence of children, other people’s property and objects protected by some sort of odd/quirky/archaic ruling which has stood for centuries. More of which after the drop.

C’est La Vie. Or Words to That Effect. But Not Pictures. Not After Sunset, Any Road….

Speaking of which, imagine for a moment that we were to jump on the Eurotunnel, destination Paris and head towards the Eiffel Tower. And then aim our camera at its sheer magnificence. And let’s just say, hypothetically (and for argument’s sake), we’d rocked up late in the French capital and were taking in the famous sights of the iconic cityscape under the cover of darkness. Well, legally we’d have a bit of an issue. Chiefly because – technically – it’s illegal to take a picture of the steel megastructure originally designed by Monsieur Eiffel and built back in 1887, once day turns to night. Kinda.

We’re partial to a good tower up here in the north of England. What with our beloved Blackpool example of the photogenic steel-girder’d genre merely a hop, skip and a jump coastward. So we know what we’re talking about.

Oh. And for the record, the same rule applies if we wanted to capture Paris’ other iconic landmark, The Louvre in all of its night-lighted appeal. Or Rome’s main train station, should we find ourselves in Italy with a camera to hand and a cultural/architectural itch to scratch.

Are you trying to tell us that those of us who have made a career out of digitally retouching photos (and anyone else who hasn’t, but likes taking pics anyway) can be arrested for taking a snap of the Eiffel Tower once darkness falls?

A social media capture of Paris' Eiffel Tower by night. Complete with filter to possibly get round 'grey area' of legality.
Here’s a photo of the Eiffel Tower (someone else made) earlier

Not exactly, no.

However while nobody has – to the best of our (and Google’s) knowledge – ever had their day in court to defend themselves and their own ‘art’, feasibly such an event could, potentially play out. Despite the prospect sounding ludicrous.

It’s not so much the taking of the photo which is the issue here, but more the inevitable distribution of the said imagery. Or not to put too finer point on it; the sharing of the picture across social media platforms. As is the modern way. Courtesy of the invention of the likes of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Tik Tok and a myriad of other readily-accessible virtual apps, your night shot of the Eiffel Tower could be #trending in seconds.

Which is acceptable, just so long as the perpetuators don’t then attempt to profit from it. Outside of the parameters of innocent selfies, to clarify. Which might end up being a moot point, on account of the number of people out there who now introduce themselves as Instagram influencers. Or alternatively, have become personal brands, thanks to the volume of ‘followers’ they have accrued online. Which might test the resolve of what is and isn’t classed as monetising promotion. Albeit via the back door.

Social media gives rise for concerns regarding fine line between personal use and publishing for wider coverage and potential financial gains

A whole grey area has emerged of late, where ‘Personal Vs Commercial’ distinction has blurred somewhat, thanks to the continued evolution of social media. Not least the question mark which hangs over omnipresent platforms like Facebook. Which might now make us all, unwittingly, publishers who have inadvertently practised a commercial activity.

Think about it like this.

Not that long ago Facebook users waivered their rights to exclusivity with direct reference to the photos we upload. Whether we were totally aware of what was happening or not. Most of us gave Zuckerberg‘s empire non-exclusive, transferable and payment-free global license to use our photographic content however it liked. Until such time as our accounts are deleted.

Don’t fret. We’ll explain more in a jiffy.

Why It’s (potentially) Illegal to Take a Photo of The Eiffel Tower After Dark

A legal depiction of the Eiffel Tower after darkness. A Van Gogh-styled contemporary art study.
Just to be on the safe side, here’s a contemporary art composition of the Eiffel Tower by night, completed in the style of Van Gogh

So, you may be wondering just what the beef is? And why it’s deemed against the law – in France – to do what any tourist does without giving the action a second thought. And why it’s illegal if you’re seeking to financially gain from the snap.

In short the answer is, because it is. The long form, legality-obliging answer is the same.

Unless you secure the permission of the mysterious and secretive ‘Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel’. A clandestine organisation which allows selected folk to justify why they’d be taking a picture of the Parisien landmark under the shroud of darkness, and therefore why they should be afforded legal lenience. And not have their collars felt by the long arms of the local Gendarmerie.

Or, and if we remove the dark undertones which don’t exist and we’ve totally made up for dramatic effect, simply the Eiffel Tower’s operating company. Who’ll probably say ‘qui’, to your request to publish/freely circulate your image of the Tower on social media. Providing you cough up a few quid to cover the rights/permission rules and regs and agree not to profit.

I thought I hadn’t seen many pics of the Eiffel Tower at night….

C’mon now.

Have you ever noticed how few pics of ‘the Eiffel Tower; as seen at night’ are in actual existence? Well, you have the European Union to thank for that/this, and their seemingly archaic copyright laws. Something even the most partisan of Brexiteers haven’t even discovered to bait the Remainers with, no less.

Apparently, copyright for structures like the Eiffel Tower expire 70 years after the creator’s demise. In this case, Gustave Eiffel died in 1923. Thus the tower has been the public domain since 1993, give or take a few months either side.

So doesn’t that mean we (and other people not professionally briefed with digitally retouching photos) can therefore snap it to our heart’s content nowadays, then?

Simon Le Bon filming music video for 007 movie, 'A View to a Kill'. Of which Duran Duran provided theme tune.
Simon Le Bon. Neither hungry nor like a wolf

Well, yes and no.

You see, as of 1985 (around the time that New Romantic pioneers, Duran Duran shot their video for Bond movie, ‘A View to a Kill’ on and around the Eiffel Tower for those vaguely interested in such pop artifacts) a lighting designer going by the name of Pierre Bideau created a nocturnal lighting system specifically for the structure. This comprised of hundreds of projectors, a beacon and tens of thousands of light bulbs that twinkle every hour. On the hour. With much respect, the not so good news for budding twilight photography students is, that he’s still alive.

Meaning that the copyright is still very much acknowledged and will obviously remain in place for several more decades.

But then exercising a bit of restraint will ensure that you won’t end up on Interpol‘s most wanted list anytime soon. And that’s because the law – as touched on earlier – primarily applies to lensfolk looking to make commercial gain from illuminated pics of old man Eiffel’s crowning architectural glory. Rather than your average Instagram addict capturing a predictable selfie halfway up. Channelling their inner, beretted (if that’s a word?) up Simon Le Bon.

Insightful as all this is, I fail to see what the connection between digitally retouching photos and the Eiffel Tower is. Am I missing something?

There isn’t a precise one as such.

More a case of highlighting a quirky piece of image-based legality which most people wouldn’t even have known about. And then going on to say that in terms of the photo retouching profession, identifying what we can and cannot use is an important – and ongoing – lesson. And something we need to remain mindful of when going about our business.

For photo retouchers, the important considerations centre on visual elements similar to that of the Eiffel Tower protocol and practices. In as much as we can’t use any of the images sent to us by clients – and that we subsequently retouch – for promotional purposes, whatsoever. Or recirculation of any type, per se. Be they for blatantly profitable purposes or social media ‘likes’.

What’s more, we aren’t allowed to search for/take images off the internet to use in edits. They must always be sourced from official stock/library websites which specialise in providing royalty-paying imagery to those responsible for creating them from the outset.

And that’s pretty much it, really.

Ah. Perhaps we finished this blog too soon after the massive intro about the Eiffel Tower reaches for incidental music button