By Desmond Boylan
Yesterday, a strong rumor that a delayed flight from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport due to land in Havana could be carrying fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, sent dozens of reporters scrambling to the airport. Since June 23, this has happened many times already.
As I watched passengers gather in the arrival hall, the gentleman in the picture below, with the blue shirt, grabbed my attention. Could he be the fugitive?
In the midst of the Snowden story, how would clients from all over the world perceive this picture if they received it, even with a caption simply stating that they were passengers arriving in Havana from Moscow? Would it raise questions? It’s difficult to find an answer to these questions as my ethics told me that it was not right, and I decided not to move this or any of these pictures. Once I got a full view of the man’s face it was clear that he was not Snowden.
Of course it looks like him because of the way I shot it. To play a game with myself, I waited till the main features of his face and skull shape were not clearly visible, but in the frames before and after we can clearly see that it is not Snowden. To kill time I did this with several individuals that had similarities with our subject, and here are the results.
Cameras are very powerful tools and can produce images that can be deceiving, and that is without using any tools in Photoshop. But this is not about Photoshop manipulation – it is about pictures and the intentions behind the person taking the picture, especially important when covering a top news story like this one.