This isn't a photo. It's a painting. Or so claims UK artist Kyle Lambert who says he made it using a fingerpainting iPad app called Procreate. He's posted a video showing the creation of the painting from start to finish.
Lambert based the painting on an existing photo (below) of Morgan Freeman. This has led skeptics (of which there are many) to suggest that Lambert simply traced over the photo, which doesn't take a lot of skill. But Lambert denies this. He sent an email to Gizmodo stating:
Headshot photo of Morgan Freeman (source: moviepilot.de)
But this hasn't satisfied the skeptics, who point out that the photo and the "painting" appear to be pixel-by-pixel identical. How can anyone achieve that kind of accuracy without having traced over the photo?
Another theory is that Lambert didn't create a painting at all, but rather used Procreate to reverse engineer or 'deconstruct' the photo, and then ran the video of himself doing this in reverse, to make it look as if he was painting it rather than slowly erasing it.
I don't know exactly what Lambert did, but I have to agree with the skeptics that it's hard to believe he could have created this without, at the very least, tracing over the photo.
To prove he did it, I suppose he could post a time-lapse video of himself actually working on the iPad. Rather than just a video export from Procreate.