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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A praying girl, and a quick lesson in photo research

Yisrael Medad, in My Right Word, noticed something interesting in a photo illustrating a Daily Mail story.

The story is titled "Christian girls who go to church are 'more tolerant of other faiths than their peers'" . Here is the photo that illustrates the story:

Yisrael noted that the girl looks quite Jewish, and she even looks like she is a Jewish resident of Yesha - a "settler." Which would be an interesting choice to illustrate a story about Christian girls!

So I found the original image, showing he was right:


The tool I used, and have used often for situations like this where I want to find an original photograph, is TinEye. It can find identical photographs (even if they are cropped, as here.)

Another good tool for researching photographs are Google Image Search, which now allow you to upload photos to find ones that are similar (but the results are often quite wrong, sometimes hilariously so.) Tineye finds results more accurately but it doesn't have the massive index of photos that Google has. (For example, I could not find the original Reuters photo, assuming that the Daily Mail caption is accurate.)

An essential way to research photographs is viewing the EXIF information on the photo, and the easiest on-line method is Jeffrey's EXIF Viewer. The information shown there can indicate if the photo was edited, when the picture was taken, and sometimes (especially with wire service photos) it will show the original caption and name of photographer actually embedded in the photo. Using this you can often see when news media uses old photos, for example, or identify edits. You do have to be careful with the EXIF information because sometimes cameras have not had their clocks set properly.

These tools can sometimes help create real news stories, especially in the area of media bias.