Of Photo Ops, Photoshop… Photo Fail!

The Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways took a major flak from the online community when they posted on their Facebook page a photo release where three of their top officials were shown assessing the damage of Manila Bay’s seawall after Typhoon Pering (International name: Nesat) hit the country last weekend.

Official in red jacket doing a good job balancing!

Unfortunately for them, a civil engineer blogger noticed right away that something is not quite right, and took a screenshot before the picture was taken down.

A careful look shows that the officials’ feet didn’t quite touch the ground. And look at the fiuges in the background. Aren’t those the same people? Talk about double exposure! It looked like the officials’ images were haphazardly dragged into the scene using the lasso tool.

The department has taken down the photos and issued an apology on its Facebook page:

We would like to apologize to Undersecretary Romeo Momo, Director Rey Tagudando and District Engineer Mikunug Macud for whatever inconvenience that may have caused them regarding the photo earlier posted. Rest assured that we shall exert more diligence and prudence in the execution of our mandate to inform the public of our plans, programs, projects and official activities.

 A lot of people have reacted to the photo in anger. Some have even coined the terms “Department of Photoshop Works and Highways”, “Department of Public Works and Hoaxes”, among others.

It was irresponsible and careless for a government agency to put out something that was fabricated. Yes, the officials really did make an inspection of the area. Maybe they didn’t have time to do a proper photo op, but to show that?!  I mean, why fabricate?!

The photographer could have just taken shots of the officials on site, the way they were — they don’t have to appear like they were in a serious discussion. Better be real! Why release something that really wasn’t?

And if they really have to edit it, they might as well have done it RIGHT! Spend time to do a good job. C’mon, DPWH peaople, my 11-year-old can do a better editing than that!

It’s a minor thing, yes. But it makes you wonder if photos are the only things they manipulate.

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One Response to Of Photo Ops, Photoshop… Photo Fail!

  1. Eli Rio October 2, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Facebook records the date/time of all its entries. Reviewing these date/time records on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH Central Office) FB account will show attempts of cover-up. Consider the following:-

    12:12 pm, Sept 28, 2011 – Based on the screen shot in the 2011/09/28/dpwh-photoshop-fail blog of Pierre Albert San Diego, the DPWH FB posted a picture showing 3 DPWH officials with the caption “DPWH INSPECTS COLLAPSED SEAWALL AT ROXAS BOULEVARD. DPWH Undersecretary Romeo S. Momo with NCR Director Reynaldo G. Tagudando and South Manila District Engineer Mikunug D. Macud inspect the extent of damaged seawall in Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard caused by Typhoon Pedring.” Pierre in that blog pointed out discrepancies in the picture that clearly showed the picture was “photoshopped”.

    12:29 pm, Sept 28, 2011 – DPWH deleted that post replacing it with a picture of two DPHW officials in Roxas Blvd. The picture carries the original caption of the deleted photo where 3 names were mentioned. But the photo shows only 2 people, the one with the red jacket is missing. The one in white polo barong now wears a hard hat when in the former picture, his head was bare. A number of remarks flooded the Internet regarding this new picture, some saying that this is also doctored.

    10:30 am, Sept 29, 2011 – the DPWH FB posted another picture with the exactly same caption as above. This picture showed the 3 DPWH officials as in the original (deleted) photo. While in that photo Manila Bay was on the RIGHT side of the picture frame, this “official” photo shows the bay on the LEFT side. This time the picture showed the same 3 DPWH officials shown in the original photo, with the one in white polo barong now without a hard hat.

    9:37 pm, Sept 29, 2011 – INQUIRER.net carries the press release where DPWH public relations officer Andro Santiago told Inquirer.net that the original photo had been posted by mistake as they were also preparing the layout for a magazine they circulated in the DPWH. He maintained that it was not the DPWH’s intention to fool the public by posting an edited photo of the inspection, adding that the minute they realized the mistake, they immediately replaced it with the official photo release. “After about two minutes, the photo was deleted. The official photo release was posted,” said Santiago, stressing that the official photo was genuine and “Photoshop was not used. Walang Photoshop at hindi naretoke (the picture was not retouched)” was his description of the official photo release. Yet, FB records show that the second photo (which was questionable) was posted around 20 minutes after the first and the third photo very much later by around 22 hours.

    8:48 am, Sept 30, 2011 – DPWH FB posts this Comment – We would like to apologize to Undersecretary Romeo Momo, Director Rey Tagudando and District Engineer Mikunug Macud for whatever inconvenience that may have caused them regarding the photo earlier posted. Rest assured that we shall exert more diligence and prudence in the execution of our mandate to inform the public of our plans, programs, projects and official activities. – PID

    Now comes the QUESTIONS:-

    1. Why did it take 22 hours for the “official” picture to come out, if it was available during the original posting?
    2. Where is the original photo that was the source of the “failed photoshop”? When this happened in China, the authorities simply published the original “un-photoshop” picture with a public apology and fired some people involved. Why couldn’t the DPWH do the same?
    3. Could it be that the original photo did not actually occur and was “photoshopped” to show 3 DPWH officials when in fact there were only two in the scene?
    4. Did the 22 hours mysterious gap between the original picture and the “official” photo gave chance for the 3 DPWH officials to “stage” a photo session so that the “photoshopped” picture can now be realized and they can claim that the picture was not retouched, except that they forgot to put Manila Bay at the RIGHT side of the picture frame?
    5. If this is the case, which is the bigger sin, the “photoshopped” picture done by some staff in DPWH, or the staged photo session done by the DPWH officials?

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