Tribal Laptop

I saw this image posted on Gizmodo (who got it from pixdaus). They claim to know nothing about it, except that it shows the Dani people of Papua, New Guinea.

Is it real, or has the Sony Vaio been photoshopped in? My hunch is that it's real. I'd guess that the laptop belongs to a photographer or researcher who handed the laptop to the guy with the big headdress in order to show him a picture. But that's just a guess.

I debated whether the image could be considered "not safe for work." But then I figured, No, it's too "National Geographic" to be considered sexual. (Though if this were the exact same scene with Caucasian women, I'm sure it would be considered NSFW... strange how that works.)

Only one question: What's with the disembodied hand reaching out from behind the headdress?

Photos Technology

Posted on Wed Jun 25, 2008


The Dani are nowadays no longer an isolated people, as they were when they were contacted in the late '50-ies. Wamena, in the middle of the Baliem valley, has an airport which serves many tourists nowadays.

My guess is that it is simply a posed picture for the ad campaign. The composition of the picture is too neat for it to be a spontaneous shot picture.

Oh: the dismebodied arm belongs to a child hidden behind the man in the center.
Posted by LaMa  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  12:28 AM
"My guess is that it is simply a posed picture for the ad campaign"---> for Sony....
Posted by LaMa  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  12:34 AM
It looks Photoshopped to me, there is no shadow under the laptop,above it seems to look a little blurred and something about the laptop itself doesn't look right (too sharp perhaps).
Posted by Trotsky  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  02:15 AM
The fact that the laptop is seen straight-on with absolutely no perspective distortion is suspicious to me.
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  04:54 AM
I thought it was photoshopped too, but if you look at the bigger version of the photo on Gizmondo, it's easier to see... looks real to me. And it's not like this is such a strange idea - there's all sorts of photos out there of people living in tribal villages posing with modern technology.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  07:34 AM
It looks like a pretty horrible photoshop to me. Even the large version looks odd, it just isn't sitting in his hands right.

I'm sure traveling journalists loan their gadgets to the people they encounter all the time, but this photoshop ain't an example of it.
Posted by xzzy  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  08:52 AM
The lighting on the laptop doesn't look the same as the lighting in the rest of the scene.
Otherwise, I'd say it's real. People pretty far back in the jungle now have laptops and cell phones (even if they still don't have plumbing or electric lights).
About a year ago, I talked to a man who had spent some years as a Peace Corps volunteer working with Dayaks (tribal people not too different from the New Guineans shown here) in a remote part of Borneo. He said that, although there is still no road going to that village, he frequently receives e-mail from the headman of the village, who has a laptop and wireless modem in his log-and-thatch longhouse.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  04:29 PM
if you zoom in , there seems to be smudging" and the laptop looks to "crisp" wit the rest of the picture.
Do yo mean "disembodied arm"?, because the hand(s) on the sitter's left shoulder are cupped on the boy's chin.

In stating National Geographic, I recall from my youth of looking at issue after issue, images of some "tribesman" peering through the photographer's camera lense . and elsewhere other pictures showing "the natural ""savage"" utilizing "modern gizmos/disposable goods,ect." for different purposes (vanity mostly).

Does it widen the rest of the "world's eyes" or make them go, "Aww, silly savages.haha"?

then again, it could be real.
what difference does it make?
Posted by Diogenes  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  07:18 PM
LaMa: "posed picture for ad campaign"
That's interesting

oh, I meant to say "smudging around the laptoptop, and the computer, itself, is too clear with the rest"

so, Alim Boeanna may have taken the pic and somebody else added the laptop. Speak indonesian? ask him on his friendster page..and what was there to begin with?
Posted by Diogenes  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  07:36 PM
The arm isn't disembodied, and the big guy isn't wearing a head dress. The "head dress" is really just the harriest kid in the village. You can clearly see he shaves his arm. He probably does not want bear arms. It's too contreversial.
Posted by Maegan  on  Fri Jun 27, 2008  at  10:56 AM
Looks like an Obama family portrait...
Posted by Christopher John Bath  on  Fri Jun 27, 2008  at  07:33 PM
The "photoshopped vs real" issue is interesting when the image, if real, is remarkable or unique. If the image could easily be real, who cares if it's photoshopped or not? It's not memorable either way.
Posted by Canadarm  on  Sat Jun 28, 2008  at  10:00 AM
CJB, here's a bandaid for your skinned knuckles... didn't Mom tell you not to drag them on the ground? When you take a family portrait, do you pull aside the face cover, or do you just leave the pointy white hoods the way they are? Bigot
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Jun 28, 2008  at  12:37 PM
Hey Hairy! Sorry for not being politically correct. If I offended, it hit home, but was meant as nothing more than a cheap dig... Believe me, I've been on this site since Alex started it (I believe my first comments were under the username huckabuck), and seen a lot worse commentary than some inane comment I posted... At least I use my real name on this site, as I have nothing to hide, as NO OFFENSE is EVER INTENDED!!! That's more than I can say for the idiots who make their comments, and hide behind some stupid username cause they don't wanna have anybody know who's posting their idiotic drivel. Every LIBERAL out there makes their uninformed comments about Bush or Mc Cain, and because THEY don't like the individual, they think it's OK... Well, I just joined the "party", but in a different light than what you stand under (obviously)... Lighten up!!! Get a life!!!
Posted by Christopher  on  Sat Jun 28, 2008  at  05:55 PM
sorry, pal... Any life that includes bigotry is a life in the dark... Get a light
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Jun 28, 2008  at  06:26 PM
You holier than thou LIBERALS got a lot to learn about the definition of some of these words you throw around. You OBVIOUSLY have no idea what a bigot is!!! Just because you decided to redefine the word doesn't mean it's right... Like I said before (in a lighter tone), you LIBERALS throw your hateful opinions toward everybody else that doesn't fit your way of thinking, and then when somebody else makes a statement that doesn't agree with the way you'd say it, you want to execute 'em in the townsquare... No apology here, I already told you it was a lighthearted comment and nothing else... FYI, the black folks make WORSE comments about each other in EVERY form of their "entertainment", and you LIBERALS call it "breaking down the barriers" when another race listens to it, just so long as us white folks don't REPEAT anything we've heard them say, or we're a bigot and a racist. Well, you can kiss my lily white butt...
Posted by Christopher  on  Sat Jun 28, 2008  at  07:27 PM
I don't like Christopher. Hope I speak for most people on this site.
Posted by Eric  on  Sat Jun 28, 2008  at  08:20 PM
Chris, if I was truly "liberal", I'd have a greater tolerance for your bias and generalizations... but I'm conservatively protecting the country I live in by speaking out against mindsets that divide us and keep us from realizing our true potential... I know you have some point here, Chris, but keep that hood on and nobody will notice
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Jun 28, 2008  at  10:25 PM
Ya know something Hairy? The more you persist this argument with YOUR inane drivel, the more you show your true colors. Anybody that reads your comment will notice that you take no shortage to making stupid commentary from everything to religion to politics... You ain't the TRUE LIBERAL you want us to believe you are by sticking up for a cause behind an assumed name, that you most likely don't even believe in... Give it a rest, and go back to slamming religion like you are so well known for...
Posted by Christopher  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  09:56 AM
Chris, have a nice Sunday, and be sure to remember to wet down the lawn before you burn your cross this afternoon... hate to see your "lily white ass" or your white robe singed
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  11:06 AM
Alex comments "..were the exact same scene with Caucasian women.."

OR (I would say)

"the exact same scene with Caucasian men wearing 18" penis sheaths".
Posted by Doris Karloff  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  11:09 AM
Um, Christopher? No one is taking your side of the argument. Are you aware of this?
Stop putting random words in caps, too. You sound like even more of a idiot. If that were indeed possible.

(Hairy your comebacks are damn awesome)
Posted by Cleverplane  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  11:31 AM
I'm curious, Chris... do you honestly define yourself and your culture by a color? What "white" person in the South can claim they have no non-European blood somewhere in their lineage? What "black" American can claim they have purely African blood? Who in America embraces a culture unaffected by other cultural sub-groups? You sound young; you don't have Sports, Entertainment, or Musical Personality Favorites that are of African descent? You can't define yourself as an American, but have to rely on skin color? Dude, this is 2008... We watch Kung-Fu movies, eat Chinese take out, work at Taco Bell, get there in our Subarus, listening to Snoop Dog, and hanging with our friend Jose... You're going to be quite busy screening out non-European influences, not considering that 90% of the crap that you touch everyday is made in China... see? I made an observation without making a racist comment about our Chinese brothers, or someone who considers themself to be some separate, and possibly superior sub-group of citizens... Honestly, Chris, that Obama crack of yours was out of line, you admitted it, so move on... I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, and grant that someone will overhear you making some stupid comment like that in public, and slash your tires, kick your trash cans, knock over your girlfriend, and insult your dog
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  11:35 AM
I think its sad that their are people with such a lack of a life that they go on sites and have internet fights
Posted by Tim  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  01:43 PM
I don't like Christopher either. Why would he make such an obviously racist comment and then tell everyone else to "lighten up"? Let's hope he doesn't come back.
Posted by Janus  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  01:47 PM
Tim, how is it less sad to make an inane comment about an argument?
Posted by Natalie  on  Mon Jun 30, 2008  at  06:20 PM
hey, now... no argument here... I didn't like Chris' Obama joke, and he didn't like being called a bigot... we agree that we disagree... no need to argue over that, right Chris? He's free to say whatever he likes, and I expect I'm free to make my own observations... I hope Brother Chris will consider my words, and I promise to consider his... that's only fair. Sorry to disappoint any fight fans, but I vote for a friction-free Museum floor, so we can all dance without getting burned
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Jun 30, 2008  at  08:28 PM
I think the photo is not real, because the smudges are showing, and the cigarette the small boy is smoking has the bad shadows. Also, I think this Chris is not too funny, and Hairy just needs to get the room with pads, right? I would be cranky too if I had a very small head and hair in the bad places, so don't get me there, okay? Rrrraoul
Posted by Raoul  on  Mon Jun 30, 2008  at  08:57 PM
Aw, tired puppy.
Posted by Sakano  on  Tue Jul 01, 2008  at  04:03 PM
This is the first time I've seen HH making serious comments. HH, you're the reason I bother to read the comments at MoH in the first place.
Posted by Razela  on  Wed Jul 02, 2008  at  02:03 PM
i dont understand. you post these things but is there, or isn't there an area of follow up finalizations and/or I not seeing something obvious? should i look around for "easter eggs"?

it makes me think that something should extend outward if this site is about readers doing the rest of the work.

I know attention spans on web sites and blogs are day-to-day change overs..but isn't there some way to keep up with the further strand of reality?

Simple thoughts on what possibilities may exist.
Posted by Diogenes  on  Tue Jul 08, 2008  at  09:42 PM
This photo is obviously fake. where's some distant tribe in nowhere land going to get a laptop!?!? Also the lighting differences are the other giveaway here.The lighting isn't even close to being correct.this is a very poor quality fake that I hope no one falls for.However,this would not surprise me if this was a somewhat racist and rather insulting advertisement for the sony vaio. I feel this is insulting because it makes ancient tribe rituals into advertisements

~Zhye Kyfr Chang P.S greetings from Moscow the weather is lovely!
Posted by Zhye Kyfr Chang  on  Thu Jul 10, 2008  at  07:44 AM
I vote for Hairy Houdini.
Posted by Mr Henderson  on  Fri Jul 11, 2008  at  02:41 PM
HAHA that disembodied arm is totally coppin' (sp) a feel on that lady's boob...i dunno if anyone noticed that.

yeah the photo doesn't look real to me. it's too sharp, like people have stated before.
Posted by Jessica  on  Mon Aug 18, 2008  at  10:49 AM
Is this for real...? I'm Freaked out.
Posted by Rick  on  Thu Oct 23, 2008  at  08:46 PM
It is photoshopped, there is no shadow and lightning does not fit.
Posted by Niki  on  Thu Feb 05, 2009  at  11:33 PM
Hello everybody, I'm Alim. the photographer that pic. i tell you everybody, that pic is real. nothing retouch with photoshop. i take that pic to much, not the only one.
i tell everybody, Mr. Yali (bring laptop) he is Cheif in village. he alredy come to Tokyo (Japan) two times, after last visit (japan foundation) give Mr. Yali Laptop & Blackberry for communication. Mr. Yali every week go to wamena (city in papua) for recharge Battrey (accu) for the electric laptot and blackberry.
if everybody any questions, please send to my email. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
thanks for comment.
regards, Alim Boeana
Posted by Alim Boeana  on  Fri Apr 24, 2009  at  12:07 PM
It is easily viewed that picture is photoshoped. But I like the post. Loved the caption already..funny!
Posted by Roofing Kerang  on  Fri Jul 08, 2011  at  12:46 AM
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