Occasionally, against all odds, you’ll see an interesting or even enjoyable picture on the Internet. But is it worth sharing, or just another Photoshop job that belongs in the digital trash heap? Check in here and find out if that viral photo deserves an enthusiastic “forward” or a pitiless “delete.”
This viral image (recently shared by the Facebook group “Did You Know?”) might seem like an obvious fake, but the picture comes from a real stunt performed by two of America’s most famous sideshow entertainers.
Charles B. Tripp (born without arms or hands) and Eli Bowen (born without legs) were touring with P.T. Barnum in the late 1800s when they took their memorable bike ride, captured in the photo seen above. From Carny Folk: The World’s Weirdest Sideshow Acts:
Bowen and Tripp posed on a tandem bicycle. Tripp “pedaled” while Bowen “steered,” and, both typically good-natured chaps, they joked the whole time. Tripp would chide his legless friend to “Watch your step.” Bowen would retort: “Keep your hands off me.” Both working with Barnum at the time, they made it into a hugely successful skit and are generally remembered as a team because of it.
This cute historical photo, on the other hand, is exactly the Photoshop job it appears to be, a fact that became pretty obvious when Twitter debunker @HoaxEye tracked down the unaltered original earlier this week.
Dated January 1927, the photo’s caption on Getty Images reads: “A young visitor and her toy elephant finds that the elephant house at London Zoo is closed for their winter holidays.”
Not really. As Nashville’s WSMV-TV explained on Wednesday, the photo actually comes from the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s #MoveOver safety campaign, which had police holding up signs bearing the hashtag after the roadside death of a fellow officer.
Last year, the photo was altered to have the text read “Police Lives Matters” [sic]. This year, it’s “DON’T MAKE ME SHOOT YOU IN THE BACK.” Both, however, make a compelling case for not being photographed holding up a white piece of paper.
Bogus space photos are some of the most common fake images online, but this picture that blew up on Reddit on Sunday is the real thing, the work of celebrated French astrophotographer Thierry Legault. In 2012, Legault explained to Universe Today how he gets his seemingly one-in-a-million shots:
Legault studies maps, and has a radio synchronized watch to know very accurately when the transit event will happen.
“My camera has a continuous shuttering for 4 seconds, so I begin the sequence 2 seconds before the calculated time,” he said. “I don’t look through the camera – I never see the space station when it appears, I am just looking at my watch!”
Image via Twitter
Of course, there is one kind of fake photo that’s even more prevalent than astrobogosity: color-manipulated animal pics. The original version of the above photo is perfectly stunning on its own, but features a standard, yellow-eyed leopard and a more reasonable level of color saturation.