The Photoshopped Refugee? has posted a list of 11 photos where black people were awkwardly photoshopped in or out. Most of them I've seen before. A few of them I even have on this site. But there was one I hadn't seen before. It's titled "Photoshopped diversity in a Lebanon refugee camp." 11points provides this description:

In the summer of 2006, this photo ran in the New York Times and is a very important lesson about photojournalism. If you're going to Photoshop a black guy into a Lebanese refugee camp for one of the world's most respected newspapers, at least take the time to really smooth out the edges around his head.

They provide a link to, which offers a fuller analysis. Basically, the black man in the lower-right corner has a strange outline around his head, which (so has concluded) is the result of a really bad cut-and-paste job.

I'm not so sure. That outline could also be caused by someone standing behind him. And if it was photoshopped, the photographer did a really good job of blending the guy's head into the photo in every other way (such as lighting and color-tone), making it odd that he would have made a mistake as obvious as forgetting to smooth out the edges around the man's head. Finally, what would have been the point of photoshopping this guy into the picture?

In any case, it's been almost three years since this photo ran in the NY Times, and they haven't yet pulled it from their site, so evidently they don't think it's photoshopped.


Posted on Sun Jul 12, 2009


He seems to have something white wrapped around his head. I live in lebanon and this guy looks quite out of place. There arent any black lebanese that I know of.
But why the hell would anyone want to photoshop a black guy into such a picture?
Posted by rolfen  in  beirut  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  02:15 AM
Come on Alex, it's clearly a cut and paste job (I doubt they even used photoshop. Check out the really strong reflections of light off his eyes, in contrast with everyone else in that picture.

But more disturbing is "Picture 6 The white ghost in the machine" on So it's a pic of a girl with a laptop sitting on the lawn and smiling at the camera. On the screen of the laptop is a "reflection" of a white girl.

I've got two big problems with this. And suspect it's a fake fake.

1) The reflection is at the wrong angle if the black girl was photo'ed in.

but the main one is...

2) The image on the laptop screen is supposed to be a reflection so why can you read the name of the university the right way around (ie not backwards?) on the top the white chick is wearing?
Posted by Joel B1  in  Hobart, Tasmania  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  04:31 AM
its a scarf that goes all the way around his neck too. Why would anyone need diversity in this picture???
Posted by mario  in  new joysey  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  07:41 AM
I think Mario's right. If you look at the front of the man's head, he's clearly wearing some white thing that also goes around the back of his head.
Sometimes you get odd-lookin edges on object with (unmamipulated) digital photography.

What seems odd to me about the man in question is that his head seems much bigger than anyone else's in the photo. But that could be a trick of perspective. So I, vote "undetermined" on this one.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Relampago, Texas  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  08:02 AM
It looks to me like the head was just set on top of a woman's head...they are all wearing scarves that cover their head & neck...and I think someone just inserted the head over it. It does look fake, and I don't think the lighting looks correct. All the men are wearing standard shirts. The woman have many layers draped across them. JUST like the "head" guy.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  08:51 AM
I vote photoshopped because they forgot to give him a neck.
Posted by Fred  in  na gadda da vida  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  11:05 AM
I can't imagine any possible motivation for adding "diversity" to this photo. It's Lebanon, Americans are going to expect everybody there to look like Yasser Arafat. Nobody's going to feel that the picture is out of balance because there are no black guys in the crowd.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  11:37 AM
@ Joel B:

There'd be no need for ghosts if nor photoshop if the black girl in photo 6 were watching a video of someone wearing the university sweater.

This would also explain why the university's name is not in mirror image smile
Posted by Rob  in  Belgium  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  03:13 PM
Maegan's argument is compelling, but again, WHY photoshop a black man (or anybody else, for that matter) into this picture?

Here's a theory: Maybe this man is a relief worker for a U.N agency. He was supposed to be at work at the refugee camp that day, but he went to the movies instead. So he pasted himself into the picture to send to his bosses.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Relampago, Texas  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  03:27 PM
I'd expect that Tyler Hicks (the photographer) would have taken a series of photographs of the place, not just one. Perhaps somebody can find some of the other photos, and could see if the guy shows up in them.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  05:11 PM
Hicks has other examples of creative journalism:
Posted by Fred  in  na gadda da vida  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  08:01 PM
Dunno why the need to shop him in...Maybe the face of the person there didn't look appropriate to the scene itself? The black face looks more somber for the event?
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  08:28 PM
It looks alot like someone from slightly out of the picture's hand on the back of the man's head.
Posted by matticus  in  lubbock  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  10:13 PM
@ Rob,

Thanks, nice point, (although why anyone would watch a video of a fairly "ordinary" white girl wearing a university sweat-top is beyond me)


I'm opting for a smiling lady who was deemed out-of-place. And had her head pasted over. I can't think of any-other reason... (and people do smile even in really horrible situations)
Posted by Joel B1  in  Hobart, Tasmania  on  Tue Jul 14, 2009  at  01:23 AM
those of you who say that is not photoshopped have no clue about photoshop it is obviosly photoshopped. the white scarf "theory" is ridiculous. Who ever did this used the magnetic cutting tool and did a piss poor job of it.
Posted by Molinator  on  Tue Jul 14, 2009  at  02:57 AM
I originally was going to chime in and say that it looked odd, but not necessarily photoshopped... but Maegan's idea puts a spin on it that seems to explain it. If it's real, then the scarf looks awkward around his "neck" and doesn't seem natural in the way it's partially covering the back of his head. But if consider as though it's just the head itself pasted over some woman....... it all seems to make sense, actually.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Wed Jul 15, 2009  at  07:40 AM
looking at this again, I must admit that it looks like a paste over a womans head. Also I only know a few palestinians but none are black (not an impossibility but odd). I guess if somebody could find a motive for the exchange, that would be cool. And what is it with the light blue garb next to this guy??...looks like they covered something there also.
Posted by mario  in  new joysey  on  Wed Jul 15, 2009  at  01:30 PM
Mario..look at all the women. Their clothes are multi-layered. I don't know if it's due to the scarves, or just the way they dress in general...but I think it's just from seperate layers/pieces of clothing.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Jul 15, 2009  at  03:26 PM
Final (maybe) thought on this, people don't just photoshop for diversity.
The "added" guy might just have been what they had available...
Posted by Joel B1  in  Hobart, Tasmania  on  Thu Jul 16, 2009  at  01:00 AM
Maegan, you'right and Joel's simple smile theory from before is 1 of a million possible reasons. One last point would be that no other guy is wearing a head scarf, perhaps a Palestinian person woul let us know about head garb traditions for men and women in palestine. (By the way, I,m glad I'm not running for office. My flip flopping was monumental).
Posted by mario  in  new joysey  on  Thu Jul 16, 2009  at  02:35 AM
"One last point would be that no other guy is wearing a head scarf, perhaps a Palestinian person woul let us know about head garb traditions for men and women in palestine"

Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Jul 16, 2009  at  06:04 AM
Yeah, but none of the other men are even covering their head in some way. I still think it's just an overlapping pic...and the woman's scarf wasn't covered completely by his head. If his head was enlarged any more it would look even more obvious.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Thu Jul 16, 2009  at  07:18 AM
Why would anyone want to falsify the picture of black person into a photo of Lebanese? It's as if someone assumes that no one can tell the difference, which is an odd and very racist assumption. Makes one wonder about who was in there originally, that would require editing them out? The face they stuck in there looks almost like Levar Burton, at least from his younger years.
It almost seems like the Sarah Palin photos in Runner's World were photoshopped too - she's in incredible shape for her age. Next they just need to Photoshop her into doing something intelligent for a change!
Ho ho, but that was a cheap joke, at the expense of a cheap Alaskan Crook. I know the people up there like to maintain how independent and free they are...which is usually a cover up from being a bunch of thugs, looking to get away with just about anything they can. Especially since she's investigated a half dozen times by ethics committees and had to spend over $200,000 of the taxpayer's money on lawyers to keep her out of jail, because we can't have our political leaders going to the Slammer - it would mean they were accountable for their actions to the people they are supposed to be representing, and we just can't have that...but enough of that.
I wonder how many photos that make it onto the news wires are faked? It could get creepy - I understand some work is necessary, in order to unblur lines and so forth, but a lot of people will take things for gospel as long as it runs in the newspapers.
Posted by AnnanAmos  in  USA  on  Thu Jul 16, 2009  at  05:21 PM
Is it not a bandage, with a lint pad at the back and tied under his chin? And why should there not be a man of north African appearance in Lebanon (you could technically walk from one place to the other).
Posted by fitful_head  on  Fri Jul 17, 2009  at  12:46 PM
My real surname means: "man from Tripoli (Lebanon, not Libya)". My father last visited Beirut and Baalbek in 1968, and brought back several photos of family and friends. In the interest of diversity, I scanned some, and added in really pasty white people. Now I know, some might say, it would be easy to spot as fake because there are no pasty white people in Lebanon, but I did a good job, you can barely see the cut-and-paste lines, and they all have necks. I think I'll shop in some Native Americans next, because God knows, there are no Native Americans in Lebanon. Oh, BTW, the "black" fellow is the reincarnation of Jesus, and that's a halo around his head. Duh
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Jul 18, 2009  at  11:00 AM
If it was a lady who was smiling and looked out of place, wouldn't it have just been easier to edit them out all together? All you would have to do is pull in the right side. It would make the picture smaller, but no more smiling lady.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Thu Jul 23, 2009  at  02:44 PM
Eh? It's obviously the edge of the head-scarf of a woman standing behind the 'shopped' man, facing left.
Posted by Dave  on  Mon May 28, 2012  at  03:48 PM
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