Friday, May 14, 2010

Your Shot Digital Manipulation

National Geographic magazine and Susan Welchman wants to see what is real.

We get a lot of letters at National Geographic. Recently we received several from readers insisting that William Lascelles's photograph on the February 2010 Your Shot page was a fake.

Our readers were right.

The Your Shot rules specify, "Please provide only the original, unmodified camera image."

Lascelles submitted a nicely composed picture showing a scruffy dog backed by jets inscribing trails in a blue sky. After he learned that it had been chosen for the magazine, Lascelles told our writer that frame was "a lucky shot." He confirmed that statement for our researcher. When Senior Photo Editor Susan Welchman asked him, prior to publication, to verify the image with the next photo in his shooting sequence, Lascelles sent her another picture of the dog—head turned this time—with the same jets above.

It turned out to be a fake, too.

William Lascelles has now admitted that he fabricated both images he sent us. We apologize for publishing his picture. And we thank our readers for speaking up.

"Your Shot shooters give me the weather, the news, holidays, their births, deaths, and the crazy things they do every day. They hunt down images that mean something to them," says Welchman, who looks at some 300 Your Shot photographs every day. "That's what Your Shot is supposed to be. It's real moments of real people in real life."

So go on out into the world and capture what you see. It'll be better than anything you can make up and paste together on a computer screen. We hope you'll keep sending us your shots. We want to see what is real.

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